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Gumdrop Drop Tech Series cases offer serious iPhone / iPad protection

Gumdrop Cases has been making cases for Apple devices since mid-2010, and now the company has created the Drop Tech Series of protective cases for iPhone and iPad. These cases are designed to serve in more severe conditions than the usual "pretty" cases that we see all the time, and with their "truck tread" silicone skin on the back, the Drop Tech Series cases look like they're made to survive. Read along for a quick look at the Drop Tech Series cases for iPhone 4/4S and iPad 2.

Design

To provide the best protection for your device, the Drop Tech Series cases are designed with several layers. First, your device slides into a polycarbonate frame that provides rigidity to the case. Second, there's a replaceable clear screen protector that is in its own frame. The screen protector keeps your iPad or iPhone safe from scratches or spills while it is in the case. Finally, a thick silicone skin covers the frame and back of the iPad, providing drop protection and a very grippy surface.

The silicone skin has sealing rubber plugs in all of the right places -- where all of the buttons and major ports are. There are two exceptions to this protection, those being the camera / flash, microphone, and speaker areas. The lack of full protection in these areas makes the product splash resistant, but not fully waterproof. You'll still need to take care to avoid getting your device soaked in water, as it could easily leak in through the microphone and speaker holes or camera port.

With all of the protection, you might think the Drop Tech Series cases are difficult to install. You'd be wrong -- they're actually one of the easiest protective cases for iPad and iPhone that I've had the pleasure to work with.

The cases do add some bulk and weight to your Apple devices; that's a necessity in order to add the padding and protection that you get with the Drop Tech Series. The iPhone cases weigh 1.7 ounces, while the iPad case tips the scales at 11.6 ounces.

The cases for iPad are priced at US$59.95 and come in black, black with a red frame, white with a black frame, and pink with a white frame. The company also makes a "Military Edition" ($69.95) in Army Green-44 that adds a microfilm dust filter and extra protection for the cameras to the mix. If you really need that extra level of protection, the Military Edition Drop Tech Case for iPad 2 is probably the one you want to get (it also looks pretty cool, although I would have preferred camo instead of green). It's the one getting shot by a paintball gun in the video at the end of this review.

The iPhone 4/4S cases are priced at $49.95 and come in the same color combos as the iPad Drop Tech Case. Sadly enough, Gumdrop does not make a Military Edition iPhone Drop Tech Case for the iPhone at this time (perhaps they'll make 'em in camo and Army green if enough of us ask for them).

Functionality

While I didn't offer up my body and iPad 2 or iPhone 4S as targets for paintball guns, I did carry around both of the cases for a day. The iPad 2 case is quite impressive in terms of how well it protects the device. I used it in the kitchen and felt no qualms about splashing a little bit of water on the screen and accidentally dusting the device with a bit of cornmeal. The Drop Tech Series Case did its job admirably, keeping the iPad 2 protected. I didn't deliberately drop the iPad 2 to see how well the case did its job there, but I am impressed with the thickness of the silicone covering, especially in the corners.

The iPhone 4/4S case was equally protective. Note that if you're the type who likes to slide your iPhone into a front pants pocket to carry it around, the Drop Tech Series case is going to keep you from doing that. In my opinion, it was just too bulky to carry in pants without looking awkward. On the other hand, if someone was going to toss the iPhone into a briefcase along with pens, pencils, paperclips, and other scratch-inducing materials, the Drop Tech Series case would be perfect.

I rate the Drop Tech Series cases as a value. The MSRP for the competing iPad 2 Defender case from OtterBox is $89.95; a full $30 more for (in my opinion) equivalent protection. Likewise, the MSRP for the iPhone 4S Defender is $49.95, $5 more than the Drop Tech Series case.

Conclusion

Gumdrop Cases has a winner on their hands with the Drop Tech Series. The cases are inexpensive when compared to the competition and offer protection that is equivalent or superior to other similar "construction site cases." If you're looking for a case that can offer ease of installation, great protection, and rugged good looks, the Drop Tech Series cases are what you want.

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