After shelling out a couple of hundred dollars for a new smartphone, you don't want to worry about breaking it. Rugged phone cases will keep your phone safe and set your mind at ease. Placing an iPhone at risk, we roughed up three of them to see if they are as tough as advertised.
Tank by Case-Mate
Protection from: drops, shock, and vibration
This 1.6-ounce iPhone case has a polycarbonate shell with a silicone interior and a retractable screen shield made of thick plastic. Designed to provide military-grade protection, the Tank was the only case in our roundup to crack after a 25-foot drop onto concrete or break apart when thrown from a moving car. That said, the phone remained unscathed. The phone and case also survived a dousing with a hose, burial in sand, and being run over by an SUV.
Ballistic Hard Core Case
Protection from: dust, drops, and shock
The 6.9-ounce Ballistic is made of polymers and silicone. It has a clear screen protector and water-resistant mesh over the speakers. The case and phone survived drops from a second-story window and a car driving 45 mph. We also doused it with a hose and buried it in sand. When we backed over it with an SUV, the phone's screen cracked, but it still worked (as with the other cases here, the Ballistic was unscathed after the rollover). Available for the iPhone, LG Nitro HD, Motorola Admiral, and HTC Evo 3D.
Otterbox Defender Series
Protection from: dust and drops
Weighing in at 1.8 ounces, the Defender has a clear screen protector, a polycarbonate shell, and a silicone skin. During our test, it survived being tossed out a two-story window and a moving car, sprayed with a hose, and buried in sand. When we ran it over with an SUV, the phone's back shattered, but it still worked. Available for iPhones, BlackBerrys, and the Samsung Galaxy S2, Motorola Droid X2, and Motorola Milestone X.
Cost: $49.95 to $59.95