Review: Ballistic Shell Gel Case for iPhone - Macenstein

Review: Ballistic Shell Gel Case for iPhone

Ballistic_Shell Gel iPhone Case

Ballistic’s Shell Gel Case for iPhone ($34.99 ($13.00 on On Amazon)) may look quite similar to Ballistic’s Tough Jacket for iPad case we reviewed a few months back, and that’s a good thing. I really liked the look and feel of the Tough Jacket, and the Shell Gel takes many design queues from it’s big brother.

Ballistic_Shell Gel iPhone Case

The Shell Gel is a 2-part case, (although Ballistic describes it as a 3 part case). The first part is a shock-absorbent polymer, which is encased in a clip-on hard shell. Both layers are available in a range of colors. The “Third” part of the case is the 4 thick, rubber corners that are actually part of the first layer (which is why I call it a 2-layer case), but which stick out slightly past the plastic shell, providing truly impressive shock-absorbing drop-protection. These raised corners also keep the touchscreen of the iPhone from laying directly on surfaces when placed screen-down on a table or such.

Ballistic_Shell Gel iPhone Case

Aside from the protection and styling, the Shell Gel has all the typical features of most cases – Covered volume and lock buttons, exposed dock connector, mute switch, and headphone jack. All in all the case is a pleasure to use, feels great in the hand, and provides as much peace-of-mind as any case I’ve used.

Ballistic Shell Gel iPhone Case


Protection-wise, size-wise, style-wise, the Ballistic Shell Gel is a champ, and I could find nothing to complain about in those areas. There IS however ONE area where the Shell Gel came up short, and that is when it comes to flash photography.

Ballistic_Shell Gel iPhone Case

As you can see, flash photos taken with the case ON (left) suffer severe glare issues compared to shots without the case (right)

The Ballistic Shell Gel has the same glare issues we’ve seen in many other iPhone 4/4S cases, where despite having a separate flash and camera lens cutout, somehow the flash bounces off the edge of the case and back into the lens enough to ruin photos taken with a flash. So if you’re one of those hip, cool people that is constantly taking pictures of themselves and their friends out in bars, making the “duck face” and holding up the peace sign, then you’ll either need to remove the case, or look elsewhere for your iPhone protection.


The Ballistic Shell Gel case for the iPhone 4/4S is a wonderful case for everyday use. Slim enough to fit in most pockets yet tough enough to protect from most drops, the Shell Gel is a perfect blend of protection and styling. The only potential caveat in recommending the case comes from the poor performance in flash photography, but if that isn’t and issue for you, the Shell Gel is a great choice.

Price: $34.99 ($13.00 on On Amazon)
Pros: Durable, well made, offers great protection without the bulk. Looks and feels great as well.
Cons: Flash photography produces glare with the case on.

4 Responses to “Review: Ballistic Shell Gel Case for iPhone”
  1. Rob says:

    Doc, my God man….clean your desk…organized chaos!

  2. S2 says:

    Thanks for mentioning the lower prices on Ballistic says these are cheap knock-offs and not the real thing. I’m looking for a case for my iPhone 5, and even though Ballistic just released some of their cases recently, I found them listed on Amazon for less than half-price. I’m thinking Ballistic is probably right and they’re fakes. But you should be able to trust Amazon merchants, right? What’s a cheap-skate to do???

  3. S2 says:

    Oh and thanks for your review!

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