Review: Trident Case Kraken AMS Case for iPhone 4/4S
In the world of iPhone cases, ultra-protective often goes hand-in-hand with over engineered. Trident Case's Kraken AMS Case for iPhone 4/4S ($50) is certainly no exception to that rule. The three piece construction is sturdy, to be sure, but looks like a prop off a science fiction set. It's big too, adding significant bulk to Apple's svelte device. The case can almost be thought of an inverted take on OtterBox's Defender or Griffin's Survivor. But for those who abuse their phones, the reassuring coverage this case provides may be worth the size and the hassle involved in installing and removing it.
Kraken’s first piece, the core, is a simple silicone wraparound case that surrounds the iPhone. It covers most of the back with the notable exceptions of the camera, flash, and Apple logo—protective film is included to partially negate this otherwise glaring issue. The edges are all covered, with the appropriate openings for buttons and ports; the Sleep/Wake button is the only one that’s covered by the rubber. It also protects the front of the device with a lip around the Multi-Touch display that extends down from the top, leaving holes for the camera, light sensor, and earpiece.
The second step is to snap the encased iPhone into the hard plastic front segment of the set. It takes some maneuvering, as the rubber tends to pull away as it’s being inserted. Once you’ve played with it for a bit though, the pieces lineup so that they almost look like one unit. This layer adds significant coverage to the front of the device, completely covering the bezel and leaving only the glass screen and the holes above it visible. A small circle of rubber covers the Home button, protecting it but leaving it fully usable. The screen is not totally exposed, as there’s a built-in, permanent protector in place that rests flat against it. With this layer also comes significant edge protection, including flip-open protectors for the Dock Connector and headphone ports and well as plastic volume button covers. The headphone port ends up being so deeply recessed that only straight plugs will work; L-shaped ones are out of the question.
Together, these two pieces could warrant being called a complete solution, but Trident Case added one more level in the form of a plastic backplate. It snaps on over the two lower layers and is secured in place by screw head-shaped protrusions on either side. This component adds a few extra benefits other than just more protection for the back of the iPhone; it also includes a rubber flip-open silent switch cover and a metal kickstand. The stand can be used in landscape or portrait orientation, and can actually be removed and repositioned in the opposite direction. Trident Case also has a line of accessories—a bike rail clip, a handle and tripod mount, and a wire/headset organizer—available for $15 a piece that can clip into the holder. Once fully assembled, Kraken feels incredibly solid. Almost all of the iPhone is covered in plastic, save for the corners’ exposed rubber. There are two important things worth noting, however: the Apple logo remains exposed through all of these layers, and removing the case proves to be rather difficult. If you don’t have fingernails, you’ll find it hard to get the plastic layers apart.
We see Trident Case as falling just short of being a peer to Defender and Survivor. While we have little question that it’ll protect an iPhone 4 or 4S, the look and size do detract from the overall appeal. Combine that with the open Apple logo, and it’s clear there are some areas where it could be improved. The inclusion of a stand is a nice touch though, and the fact that it can replaced with other accessories is pretty cool. It’s also merits a mention that there’s no belt clip included with this one, an extra that OtterBox and Griffin both throw in at the same $50 price point. Trident Case earns a B rating—It’s pretty good, but it wouldn’t be our first choice.