Review: Seidio Innocase Rugged Holster Combo for iPhone 4
Seidio's Innocase Rugged Holster Combo for iPhone 4 ($50) is undeniably one of the most impressively ruggedized cases we've yet seen for the glass-bodied iPhone. It contains four key elements -- the Innocase II Surface for iPhone 4, a screen protector, the Rugged Skin and Skeleton, and the Innocase Rugged Holster, a belt clip mount to hold the case. While these components are available individually from Seidio, packaged together they constitute savings of at least $20 and a particularly good deal. These parts collectively bulk up the slender device, however, they are each engineered to be thinner than might have been expected, so the total size of the fully assembled case isn't ridiculous, and the layers dramatically increase the iPhone 4's ability to withstand common damage.
Innocase II Surface is the base of this multi-layer package, a hard plastic slider case good enough to be used alone. In fact, Seidio suggests this, offering the case as a standalone product for $30. The company recommends that the other components only need to be added during high risk activities. A largely traditional slider, Innocase II Surface fits smoothly on the iPhone 4, with a soft padded interior preventing any friction. There is full access to all of the ports and openings with no covering over any of the buttons—something remedied with the additional components. One design element we have not seen prior to this case is a piece of plastic running between the back camera and flash; it does not seem to be harmful, but it caught our attention.
The next layer, Rugged Skin, is just what it sounds like: a mostly smooth silicone skin, texturized around the edges for grip. On top of that is the Skeleton, a hard plastic frame to hold it all in place. Putting these pieces in place greatly enhances the level of protection. While still accessible, most of the previously exposed buttons and openings gain coverage. Flip-open port covers are included on the top and bottom provide access to the headphone port and Dock Connector, respectively. The same style cover fits over the back camera, and it can be held out of the way with an indentation in the plastic of the Skeleton. Left open are the microphones, speakers, and the silent switch; the latter is rather difficult to access through the layers of cases without very skinny fingers or long nails. Unlike some comparable heavy duty models, there is no integrated screen protector, but Seidio does ship a unit that can be applied. Also included in the package is the Holster, allowing the whole package to be situated on a belt or bag, swiveling in seven different directions and holding the iPhone 4 securely in place with a clip on top.
In the end, we were quite impressed with the Combo. Not only is the case itself incredibly protective—right up there against the best offering from OtterBox and Griffin—but the fact that Innocase II Surface can be used independently is great to see and adds quite a bit of value. The biggest drawback here is the lack of integrated screen protector. While the packaged one can prevent scratches, it may not be able to stop cracks and shattering. If such feature were to implemented in future versions, we would be highly recommend this case; right now though, it earns our B+ rating.