There are many cases appearing for Apple's iPhone, but none more resilient than those offered by Otterbox, which is famous for its ultra-rugged phone, iPod and PDA cases.
For the iPhone Otterbox offers two cases, with macho names to boot: Armor and Defender. Each is packaged in a box that suggests potential users are rough-country runners, soldiers in combat, ER doctors, surfers and construction workers – an intrepid version of the Village People, perhaps.
Using the Armor is like strapping your iPhone into a Challenger tank. Hard impact-absorbing grey rubber and plastic surround the phone. And your svelte mobile device now measures 147 by 81 by 25.4mm (from its standard 115-x-61-11.6mm). Armor weighs fractionally less (128g) than the iPhone itself (135g). (It is available in jet black or black with fancy yellow bits.)
Otterbox claims that its Armor case is waterproof, dust-proof, sand-proof, drop-proof, and dirt-proof. By the feel of it it's quite likely bunker-buster-bomb proof. Luckily it's not user proof…
The screen is protected by a thin membrane that remains fully functional through the case. (You have to remember to remove the protective film from behind the screen for full visibility.) All the buttons and slots (except the dock connector) are available, as is the camera lens – and even the Apple logo!
The external phone jack maintains the microphone and click button functionality of the Apple headphones or is usable with any headphones with a standard mini stereo plug (1/8"), and so not requiring a special adaptor as many do with an uncased iPhone.
Strangely, the Armor doesn't come with a belt clip. I'd have thought that rugged outdoorsmen would be just the types of people to clip their phones, PDAs and all sorts of tools and weapons to their belts.
Where some iPhone cases are like condoms, the Armor is more like an iron lung. The iPhone appears pretty resilient to everyday scratches on its own, so you'd have to be either a danger man or ridiculously clumsy to need such a protective case. Or maybe you hate to see any scuff marks on such a stylish piece of technology that you're happy to keep its design covered up from the horrors of the outside world.
If you need the ultimate in protection for your iPhone you surely can't get any better than the tank-like Otterbox Armor – even if it does cost the same as two months iPhone service. Alternatively buy a cheap mobile and take that around with you when jumping off cliffs or fighting the Taliban.