iPhone Case Review: Tank Case by Case-mate for iPhone 4/4S (3GS Version also available) Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 5
What's Hot: Super rugged case features a retractable semi-transparent screen cover. Includes high-quality holster. Eye-catching colors choices available. Silicone plugs/buttons cover most of your phone's delicate controls.
What's Not: Bevel around screen is a bit too high for precision touchscreen use near the edges.
The Tank Case is an exceptionally rugged case for your iPhone 4/4S. While it provides very good protection from sand, dust, wind, and rain, it really shows its pedigree with the protection it provides from drops.
Size and Fit
Due to the multiple layers of protection, the Tank Case approximately doubles the thickness of your iPhone. It is not overly long or wide, however, so it will likely still fit in your pocket or purse. It installs in seconds and fits your iPhone 4/4S snugly. As you would hope, all the buttons, ports, and switches line up perfectly, and I found them to be appropriately responsive and/or accessible behind their various silicone nubs and covers. My only complaint with this case is the height of the bevel around the face of the phone, which can make it somewhat difficult to navigate the touch screen close to the edges.
Features and Quality
As the name implies, the Tank Case is designed to be tough, and it is. Although I have always liked the feel of silicone covers, I have never liked how they gather lint in my pocket nor turn them inside-out when removed. Further, in time, these silicone skins always stretch out, rendering the case obsolete long before the polycarbonate portion is compromised. Thankfully, Case-mate has broken tradition here by putting the silicone on the inside of the case. If you stop to think about it, this makes perfect sense. After all, how many motorcycle helmets do you see with the soft foam on the outside? This design provides a great deal of protection while at the same time eliminates the problems of stretch-out silicone and inside-out pockets.
While the case is super tough, it makes some surprisingly refreshing compromises regarding moisture protection. In theory, the idea of completely sealing off your phone from water exposure sounds great. Unfortunately, in practice, this generally makes the speakers and microphone almost unusable and sequesters the screen behind a scratch-prone piece of cloudy plastic that I almost always end up removing. The Tank Case makes none of these mistakes. It seems that the folks at Case-mate have chosen to operate under the premise that most real-world moisture exposure to phones comes in the form of rain/snow rather than total submersion. This tradeoff allows easy access to the mute switch, speakers, camera, and proximity sensor. Thoughtfully, the case have provided a silicone plug for the docking port, however, as that is by far the area that is most prone to moisture damage.
Their solution to the screen protection problem is a retractable, semi-transparent screen cover that provides significant protection for the face of your phone when not in use. It slides out of the way in moments but while it's in place, it provides significant bump/scuff/scratch/splash damage protection. As an added bonus, the Tank comes with an excellent holster. Not only does it do a great job of retaining the phone, it doesn't scratch, snag, or snare you or your clothing.
The Tank Case is available in 4 color combinations (black/black, black/pink, military green/orange, and white/pink) so you're likely to find something that suits your needs.
The Tank Case is a thoughtfully designed, extremely rugged case for the iPhone 4/4S. It successfully walks the thin line between protection and accessibility, compromising appropriately in each category in order to provide what I consider to be ideal levels in both. A high quality holster rounds out the package, making it an exceptional value for anybody who needs this level of protection.