Quick iPhone 6S case review: Ballistic Tungsten Tough

ballistic tungsten tough iphone case
Credit: Bob Brown, NW

I risked carrying around my new iPhone 6S for a week before finally stopping by Best Buy to pick up a case: the Ballistic Tungsten Tough model.

I was looking for something of a tough and rubbery nature, like the trusty Nuguard KX that helped to keep my iPhone 5 safe over the past 2 years (I reviewed that iPhone case here).

I initially shopped around online but wanted to get a real feel for the case. Plus, I was a little nervous about whether cases initially designed for the iPhone 6 would really fit the iPhone 6S, which Apple says is just a smidgen taller, wider, thicker and heavier. After all, who knows what that fancy new 3D Touch feature might do to a phone's girth.

The first thing I noticed about the iPhone 6S cases at Best Buy is that many of them had fresh new stickers on their cases to cover up the iPhone 6S designation on the original packaging. Thus, my concerns about size comparisons were rekindled.

But upon fitting my phone into the case, it felt fine.

iphone case Tim Greene, NW

Hey what do you know, it's Network World's mobile website on my Ballstic-protected iPhone 6S.

Indeed, the case I chose is rubbery, though actually has two parts, as seen in the photo at the top of this review. Overall, it weighs .55 ounces.

In addition to the rubber casing, which fits around the sides of the phone and bumps out a bit on the corners, a combination metal/silicone piece fits over the rubber to toughen up the back and 2 sides of the case. The rubber part does actually cover the buttons for volume and power, though I found them to continue working naturally. The hole that allows access to the ring/silence switch is just a tad tricky to negotiate with bigger fingers.

It took a little finagling to get the hard shell on, to the point where I actually looked for instructions to make sure I wasn't going to crack my 4.7-inch Retina Display screen while trying. No instructions were to be found, but I did jiggle the entire case around the phone eventually. I've also taken the shell off since then; it's on snug enough that's it's not going to fall off, but it is removable when pressure is applied.

The packaging for the case assures me that it's been tested for a 7-foot drop. I decided not to try replicating that for your pleasure and my possible displeasure.

The phone overall now is a bit heftier than some might like, especially if you're upgrading from the smaller iPhone 5, but I prefer a little military grade in my gadgets (Ballistic touts its case as having met or exceeded military standards.)

Online, Best Buy sells the case for about $40, though I got mine for under $30 between it being on sale and using a 20% off coupon. Supposedly, this case is sold exclusively at Best Buy. My case is black, with a gray metallic-looking back, though Best Buy also offers blue, gray and brown models.

MORE: My Firefly music festival iPhone survival kit

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