Pelican makes some amazing cases for shipping delicate equipment, and over the past few years they've brought their design expertise to play on Apple devices. Back in October I took a look at their ProGear 1070CC hard case for MacBook Air, and today we're looking at a case that can keep your iPhone 5 or 5s safe from drops... the Pelican ProGear Protector Series case (CE1150) for iPhone 5/5s.
- Price: $39.99 (available for less from online retailers)
- Dimensions: 5.25" x 2.71" x 0.51" (13.3 x 6.9 x 1.3 cm)
- Weight: 1.44 oz (40.82 grams)
- Materials: Elastomeric copolymer interior, engineering grade polymer outside
- Colors: Black/Dark Gray/Black, White/Black/White, Dark Red/Black/Red, Dark Gray/Orange/Dark Gray, Dark Teal/Light Gray/Dark Teal
- Available accessories: vehicle phone mount, bike phone mount, sport armband
- Lifetime warranty
While the Pelican ProGear Protector Series case isn't going to keep your device safe from water or dust like LifeProof's tightly-sealed cases, it's also much less expensive and can keep your iPhone from getting damaged from the most common type of accident -- a drop.
The case comes in a variety of colors, some of which are actually quite fashionable. The teal and gray version, for example, is attractive and different from what you'll find from a lot of case manufacturers. Our test case was gray and orange, providing a nice contrast and looking like a "sport case".
The inside of the case is a softer elastomeric copolymer that cushions the iPhone 5/5s, while the exterior is made of a much stiffer material. Like many protective cases, the CE1150 keeps the top and bottom of the two-part case firmly latched together with a series of "teeth" that engage and pull the two parts together.
The front cover of the case wraps around the screen edge, ensuring that the screen is totally protected from drops. About the only situation where you might still destroy an iPhone screen with one of these cases installed is if the screen happens to hit a projecting edge; think of the screen hitting a sharp rock and you'll get the picture.
The case is fairly easy to install and remove, which is a relief after some of the wrestling matches I've had with protective cases. To install, simply place the iPhone's backside onto the back piece of the case, then slip the top into place and start squeezing the two sides together until the "teeth" latch all the way around.
Like all of Pelican's products, the CE1150 has a nice, solid feel to it. The volume rocker on the iPhone is covered by a pair of marked buttons, and the on/off switch also has a pass-through button that covers the iPhone's button. The bottom of the device is wide open, although recessed into the case, and the mute button is also uncovered.
Now, while the CE1150 will keep your device from scratches or even breakage during drops or if it happens to get captured under something that would crush an iPhone in a silicone soft case, it bears reminding that it does not include a screen protector to keep your screen safe from scratches or direct impact, nor does it have the ability to be dropped into water. If that is the level of protection you need, then you'll want to spend the extra money for a LifeProof case or something similar that's going to keep your device intact.
Frankly, this case is an oddity. Most Pelican cases meet MilSpec IP54 for water resistance or the ever-popular 801G for drop resistance. There's no such standard applied to the Protector Series.
Pelican's Protector Series case for iPhone 5/5s provides a good level of protection from everyday mishandling at a very reasonable price, but it's definitely not the case for those iPhone users who need waterproof and shockproof capabilities. That makes this case a bit of an oddball in the Pelican family, as we're used to seeing military-grade protection from the company.
Rating: 2-1/2 stars out of 4 stars possible