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Review: Three ways to protect your iPhone

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By Jim Rossman
The Dallas Morning News
There are people who need iPhone protection and then there are people who really need iPhone protection.
I fall into the former category, as I like to think I'm pretty careful with my iPhone 4, but since I've been testing the X-Protect from G-Form, I feel as if I could toss it across the room and it would be just fine.
The G-Form folks say the $39.99 X-Protect offers 360 degrees of extreme-impact protection, and I believe them.
The case is made with something called Reactive Protection Technology. There are some more technical-sounding terms on their website, but suffice it to say the case is made of a high-tech dense foam surrounded by a rigid exterior skeleton.
The interior of the case is soft and squishy like a wetsuit. The X-Protect doesn't have any type of covering for the phone's screen.
There is a video on the G-Form website of iPhones being punished by shooting them like hockey pucks at a real NHL goalie. The phones survived.
Available in nine colors, the X-Protect is easy to install and slide in and out of a front pants pocket.
G-Form also makes cases for tablets and laptops. An iPad case is shown in a video being dropped more than 100,000 feet from a weather balloon and surviving with no injuries.
The company also makes knee and elbow pads and padded clothing for people to wear.
The X-Protect is perfect for the athlete, adventurist or klutz.
I'm a fan of iPhone screen protectors. I've been using and abusing screen protectors since I was using a Palm Treo.
The biggest hassle is the installation. Getting the thing lined up just right so the buttons and openings are exactly aligned can be frustrating, and rarely are you able to remove and retry the installation.
ScreenPro has a new line of screen protectors for the iPhone that includes a nearly foolproof installation system.
The screen protector comes mounted in a plastic template that perfectly fits your iPhone 4 or 4S.
The protector is sandwiched between two sheets of plastic.
Simply peel off the first tab to expose the screen protector, snap your iPhone in the template and remove it. The screen protector will adhere to your phone in perfect alignment.
Then use a credit card to work any bubbles to the edges and peel away the second tab.
A video on the ScreenPro website shows the entire process completed in one minute. I can vouch for that time. I spent more time cleaning dust off the iPhone than I did installing the screen protector.
I've used several iPhone cases that had a built-in battery to recharge the phone's internal power source, but those were bulky and useless anchors once they were used up.
The Third Rail Mobility Slim Case for iPhone 4/4S is a two-part system of hard case and battery.
The idea is you keep the phone in the case and attach the battery when you need a charge. When the battery is used up, simply pop it off and slip it in your pocket or bag.
The Slim Case system, which costs $89.99, has both case and battery.
Additional batteries are available for $59.99. The batteries can stack to provide days and days of power. Each battery holds 1250 mAh of power, a bit less than an iPhone 4 battery.
The battery is easy to install and remove. It might be a bit too easy to remove. In my pocket, I was able to make the battery disengage from the case more than once. In a bag, that was not an issue.
The battery is charged through a micro USB cable, either while mounted to the case or by itself. Battery life is displayed with a 5-LED status indicator.
The Slim Case is a slick solution to extend your iPhone's battery with no bulky case to haul around.

G-Form X-Protect
Pros: Unrivaled protection. Nice looks.
Cons: None
Bottom line: Some of the best protection you can buy for your iPhone.
Price: $39.99
On the Web:
Screenpro Clear Screen
Pros: Easy to install. Good protection.
Cons: Not cheap.
Bottom line: If you're squeamish about installing screen protectors, the ScreenPro will put you at ease.
Price: $14.99-$17.99
On the Web:
Third Rail Slim Case
Pros: Nice design. Stackable batteries.
Cons: A bit too easy to knock the battery off the case.
Bottom line: A nice solution to keeping your iPhone running after its battery is exhausted.
Price: $89.99
On the Web:
Story tags » HardwareApple



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