Review: Ballistic Hard Core (HC) Case for iPhone 4/4S

In the past we’ve taken a look at some of the most protective cases for the iPhone 4/4S. For the past few weeks I’ve been testing Ballistic’s Hard Core (HC) Series case for the iPhone 4S. The Hard Core Series brings together five layers of solid protection, including a durable plastic holster, and optional rugged silicon skin to wrap over the hard shell. First off let me say that Ballistic has done an amazing job of piecing together the multiple layers, and creating such a strong ruggedized case. Ballistic’s Hard Core Series is designed from shock absorbent polymer and impact resistant polycarbonate, meaning it can take a big beating and absorb the shock very well.

Lets talk about the overall fit of the case. Putting on the case is easy as it just snaps together. Taking off the case is more of a challenge, you need to pry the case off starting at the top and working around to all the clips. This can be good or bad, depending on how much you remove your case. Normally I change my iPhone cases daily, however I found myself using the Ballistic Hard Core a lot more, not because I couldn’t take it off easily, but because its stylish and very protective. I dropped my iPhone a couple times (by accident of course) from about 4 to 5 feet onto pavement, and the case absorbed all shock, and the iPhone was perfect inside. I should point out that all these drops took place without the extra 5th layer of protection, the silicon skin that wraps over the case.

Speaking of the optional silicon skin, lets talk about that. The silicon skin is an awesome idea for anyone who works in rough and tough environments. While everyone may not need it, it is a great add-on for those who beat up their devices on a regular basis. I didn’t find myself using it too much, as most of the time my iPhone was shoved into a pocket, and not holstered. The optional silicon skin wraps over the back and sides of the Hard Core case and will even securely clip into the side holster if wanted.

I have to point out the side grips of this case. Ballistic has done something very simple but ingenius with their Hard Core Series case. The sides are actually designed to be gripped in your hand, making it easier to hold onto using one hand. Like other Ballistic cases, the HC Series also rocks the Ballistic Corners to absorb even more impact when dropped on the corners — You might even notice the detail put into this case by Ballistic with their logo on each corner.

This case is not waterproof, but it does offer water resistant meshing over the speakers, as well plugged headphone and dock connector ports to ensure dirt, dust, and water do not get in. Even the volume buttons and mute switch are covered to ensure your device stays protected.

Final thoughts on the Hard Core (HC) Series for the iPhone 4. I am very impressed with the case, and will continue to use it over the next little while. When comparing this case to the competition, the closest comparison in terms of protection would be the OtterBox Defender Series, but the Ballistic Hard Core case just seems more compact. I wouldn’t be able to pick one or the other, I would suggest you check out both and decide for yourself. I will say I am giving this particular case a solid five stars (out of 5) as I have no strong complaints about it. As always if you have any questions about this case feel free to post a comment below.


  • Case fits very snug and secure
  • Awesome side grips that fit well in hand
  • Color options are decent
  • Optional extra protection included and not required
  • Water resistant mesh over speakers


  • Plastic holster feels kind of cheap, but works
  • Removing the case can be a challenge

Accessorize Mobile Rating: ★★★★★

Where to Buy:

The Ballistic Hard Core Series for the iPhone 4 is currently available in 5 color options, including all black, red/black, grey/black, black/hot pink, and white/black (as seen in this review). These cases retail for $49.99 USD each at Ballistic’s online store.



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