By 'Doctor Dave' Greenbaum
When I think of a tank, I think of something that is extremely impractical for everyday use and, in that sense, the Casemate Tank indeed fits the bill: big, bulky and impractical. While it appears to protect your iPhone well, it simply isn’t competitive with other similar products.
This case is unique -- typically extreme cases have a hard plastic interior and a softer silicone exterior to absorb impact and protect the headphone jack, dock, and volume switches. The Tank has a hard shell with integrated internal softer silicone protectors for the headphone jack and dock, which are where moisture sensors are located.
Because it’s integrated, you can’t chance the color when you want to try something different. The volume switches are protected but the speakers, microphone, rotation lock and camera remain naked and exposed to the world. This was an poor compromise in my opinion. Why only protect some parts if you are already adding bulk in the exterior?
Another feature of extreme cases is an integrated screen protector. No worrying about applying plastic to the screen with bubbles and lint trapped underneath. The drawback of the plastic overlays is they do impact the vibrancy of the screen as well as the general sensitivity. The case uses an accordion plastic overlay that can be pulled back to provide extra protection when not in use and full access when
On first glance this seemed like a great feature. This accordion plastic was thick and easily withstood direct impacts. A plastic overlay simply can’t protect like that. Unfortunately this for me was its greatest downfall. That thick plastic wasn’t fully transparent so anytime I had to read anything, I’d have to go through the process of
retracting the plastic -- even to answer the phone and see who was calling. I found myself too often keeping the plastic retracted and, thus, leaving my screen fully exposed.
One great feature of the Tank is an extremely well engineered belt clip. The iPhone fit tightly into a full cradle style clip. There was no risk of this slipping out like I find too often with other cases that are only gripped on the sides or the ends. The actual clip portion of the belt clip was several inches long and attached securely to my side. As a big guy, this was the first and only belt clip I was confident wouldn’t slip off when I got down or sat up. Since the screen faces outward in most belt clips, that screen protector is agreat feature while it hangs on your side.
My problem with the Tank is that I’m the type of person constantly using the phone to play games, answer emails, check social media and even making phone calls. I can’t imagine going five or 10 minutes and not using my phone for something. So I got extremely frustrated having to constantly move the screen protector out of the way. If you are that type of user, you’ll find the Tank about as practical as going grocery shopping in an M1.
However, if you keep your iPhone in your purse or book bag, that thick plastic will keep it well protected as it bounces around and bangs against keys, books and miscellaneous change. The belt clip was outstanding if you keep your phone more to your side than in your hand. You -- with the self discipline not to be checking your phone all the time -- I envy you.
If you check your phone constantly, the Tank is an exercise in frustration. However, if screen protection is your ultimate goal and you don’t check your phone that often, the Tank may be your secret weapon to avoiding screen replacement. The best offense is a good defense as they say.
Pros: Great belt clip, outstanding screen protection
Cons: Not all ports protected, regular users will fine the screen
protection too cumbersome
Rating: 4 out of 10