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iPad Case Review: Ballistic Tough Jacket for iPad Mini 4 Review
      #49087 - 02/04/16 04:48 PM

The Ballistic Tough Jacket for the iPad Mini 4 is designed to provide serious drop protection for Apple's newest small tablet, and it likely succeeds in this effort (more on this later). In particular, The Tough Jacket takes no prisoners when it comes to corner protection. Each corner of the case protrudes about 1/4", and is composed of soft, bouncy silicone. With this level of protection, you would likely see your device bounce if it ever hit the floor. These bumpers also protrude above the screen and below the back of your device, giving it valuable protection should it manage to land flat on its face or back. The rest of the case is made of ABS plastic, and feels super sturdy, offering no yield when pressure is applied. Lastly, the Tough Jacket comes with an equally over-engineered removable cover that snaps solidly into place for transport, and also doubles as a viewing stand thanks to a foldout leg that snaps securely out of the way when not in use.

All ports and covers are directly accessible, including the headphone port, which even works with elbow-style jacks in spite of the sizeable corner padding. The tradeoff here is, of course, that the Tough Jacket does not protect your device from moisture. This is not an oversight on Ballistic's part. Moisture protection in device cases come unavoidably with usability compromises. Screen covers (which I hate), port plugs, and home button membranes all come between you and your device aggressively enough to rule them out as everyday cases for most people. I've been using the Ballistic case for a week now, and I can all but guarantee you that if it had been built with moisture protecting safeguards, I would have long since replaced it for everyday use.

While I don't fault Ballistic for leaving moisture protection on the drawing board, I do feel that they should have gone the extra mile to get the Tough Jacket rated for drop protection. The most common standard for drop-rated iPhone/iPad cases is MIL-STD 810, which requires that the case provide adequate protection from a comprehensive battery of environmental and drop tests. Although I believe that complying with this standard is a valuable yardstick for measuring objective levels of protection, it is often used in commercial products without any testing whatsoever because there is no commercial organization or agency that certifies compliance. While I give Ballistic full marks for not simply adopting the designation as others have certainly done, I would appreciate it if the product came with at least a basic description of what drop tests were actually performed.

If you're looking for a super tough case for Apple's newest iPad Mini, you won't be disappointed with the Tough Jacket. Sure, the corners are freakishly oversized, but if you can get past the appearance, those with butterfingers will have some serious peace of mind.

Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Likely very serious drop protection. Heavily reinforced corners. Removable cover doubles as a viewing stand. Compatible with elbow-type headphone jacks in spite of its thick padding.
What's Not: Oversized corners are cartoonishly large. Drop protection not rated (MIL-STD). Not designed to protect against moisture.
Price: $59.99
Website: Ballistic Cases

Reviewed by: Tom Slayton




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