The impactband from BaseOneLabs is like the Apple Bumper Case after it spent a solid month in the gym bulking up. This is the case we previously showed protecting an iPhone 4 as it was being dropped off a ledge from more than 20 feet high. We received one from BaseOneLabs to review and found that while it probably does a great job protecting the case and adds some functionality for watching videos, its bulk does get in the way on occasion.
When we saw the video of this case keeping the somewhat fragile iPhone 4 from breaking despite a drop on cement from more than 20 feet, we had to check it out. Below is the video that caught our attention.
Now we were not daring enough to subject our phone to that kind of test, so we will take the company at its word when it comes to an extreme fall. We did, however, drop it from waist high and there was no problem or damage at all. And since that is most likely the kind of drop the user will experience we give it a gold star for protection.
Besides Being Protective How Is It?
The question is this – what does that bulk and impact/shock absorption cost the user in day-to-day comfort and usefulness? Let’s focus on what is good about the case first.
The impactband serves nicely to hold your iPhone 4 in portrait or landscape mode as you watch a video or view any content for that matter (see above). The band is so wide it stands up nicely. If someone at the table knocks it over, no problem. It is safe.
Second, despite the added bulk it was not hard to take in and out of a pocket. Sure it does double the thickness of the phone so those skin tight jeans might have to go. But in a pair of baggy jeans, it was not any more noticeable than with the Griffin Reveal Case, which is a real favorite (just don’t get the white Griffin Reveal Case; it discolors easily).
The case is easy to install and remove. That’s a minor thing, but due to one of the weaknesses below, it is necessary. Also it fit snugly. Some cases we’ve used actually feel like they will fall off, but not this one.
The feel in the hand is smooth but still offers some grip. That way you won’t keep dropping the phone, although if it was slick you wouldn’t have to worry, right?
Finally, the most important function of an iPhone 4 case besides protection is keeping the user’s hands from pulling down the reception. Obviously, due to its thickness, this case does the best job of any case we’ve looked at yet.
The Major Problems
Sadly, there are some real weaknesses in average use. First, the raised edge around the screen made it hard to get at the edges of the touch screen while typing or any other touching along the edges. Second, the opening for the stereo output jack is not big enough for the jack used in our cassette adapter. We had to remove the case to listen to our tunes in the car. This makes the easy removal a plus, but it shouldn’t be necessary. Finally, the open back is what worries us most with regards to protection. What if the phone is dropped and hits something sharp in the middle of the glass back?
Probably one of the best features of the impactband from BaseOneLabs is the price. Right now it is on sale for $21.95.
Conclusion and Pictures
This is a phone for someone who is alway dropping their phone or works in an environment where protection is number one. Everything else is secondary. For that reason this is a good choice at the price. However, if you need the most protection we recommend looking at the OtterBox cases instead. They cost two and half times more on average, but are much more protective.
For those who don’t need that much protection, we cannot recommend the impactband. Because of the problems accessing the edges of the touch screen, that alone makes it a miss. If they would bevel the edges so they are not perfectly perpendicular to the phone, this would solve the problem and it would be our new favorite case. That one weakness means it’s back to the Griffin Reveal Case for daily use.
- Protects the phone so that drops will do it no harm
- Fits snugly
- Easy to intall and remove
- Priced right
- Serves as a stand with the wide edges to hold up phone while viewing content
- LIghtweight despite the bulk
- Accessing headphone jack is not possible if your jack is wide
- Hard to tap the edges of the screen due to raised edge
- No back protection