Hang on a minute; I recognize this design was the first thought that entered my mind when I unpacked the Aegis case from Trident. It is really a dead ringer for the OtterBox Commuter series for the iPhone 3G, and to a bit lesser degree the Commuter for the iPhone 4. This is not a bad thing, as the Commuter series was one of my favourite cases for the iPhone 3G/3GS. It also lasted the longest on my wife’s iPhone 3GS, and ended up outliving the device. Trident is a young fresh American company with a line-up of sea creatures as inspiration for their cases. That, and other maximum protection cases from fellow American company OtterBox. I personally really like the unique names of the cases, and it is easy to differentiate between them. I am also thankful that none of the cases feels or smells like sea creatures.
The Aegis is a two-piece case lodged at the lower end of the maximum protection segment. It is definitely strong enough to absorb a direct drop to the floor, or from a couple of stairs. The design also allows it to be used by toddlers, and small children as it has protective covers for the headphones and charge socket. This combined with the excellent grip the rubberized silicone gives results in a case that is suitable for most active users, or parents.
The inner shell is made from a thick, but soft rubberized silicone. The covers for the headphone socket, and charge socket are integrated in the silicone. On the front the silicone goes along the edges of the screen, and slightly below the home button. A hard polycarbonate piece goes over the silicone, and holds it all into place. I found it really hard to align all the nooks and crannies correctly. It took me three times to get it to be good enough in the fit.
For protection the case is great, and it can withstand both major impacts and a drizzle outside. The only areas left unprotected are the screen, and the Apple logo on the back. This is exactly the same design that the OtterBox Commuter got some bashings for by users, but I still really enjoy having the logo visible. The case comes with a screen protection film to get a full protection of the entire phones sans the back logo.
There are some issues with the case. For one I have mentioned that it is hard to align everything. I have still not managed to keep the speaker holes from being covered by silicone even though there are cut-outs for them. Getting the flaps for the 30-pin socket, and the headphone socket is really hard. I have to use a pen, or other pointy object to open it. Another issue I have is the fact that the Apple video cable doesn’t fit the opening in the hard shell. I have to remove the outer layer to use the iPhone 4S with a projector, which is a nuisance since it is hard to get the case back on properly.
The Aegis has a cool design, and Trident has made sure to show that it is their brand. Both a Trident logo, and the name is seen on the back. At times I think there is a bit too much going on with the design. On the back there are numerous small holes that serve little purpose in lowering the weight. Less is often more, and I think they could have been omitted. One thing worth noting is that the yellow/black version comes in the exact same hues as the Jabra and Sennheiser Adidas headsets. Good to know if you want to have your training gear colour matched.
The combination of excellent grip, good all-round protection and an affordable price makes the Aegis a real competitor to the OtterBox Commuter, Speck CandyShell and Contour Showcase. It isn’t as bulky as the maximum protection cases, but still offer almost the same amount of protection. To me that makes it an easy recommendation, but you have to be prepared to spend some time getting it on properly.