questionswhat is the best case for the iphone 4/4s?

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Lifeproof. We have one, and used it under some falls. I can strongly recommend it, even though it is a bit pricey. It is also still pocket sized.

http://www.lifeproof.com/

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I'm a big fan of the aircase from Monoprice. Very cheap, very thin, it's a barely-there type of case, but provides decent protection.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=108&cp_id=10831&cs_id=1083111&p_id=7325&seq=1&format=1#largeimage

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Otterbox iPhone 4S Commuter Series Case is my preferred case. I got it during one of their sales/promos for $24.99 shipped. It has both the hard shell and the shock absorbent silicone all in 1.

It also doesn't make the phone huge like some of the other otterbox cases. It still fits in my pocket and it has enough grip to it so I don't drop it.

That plus a screen protector and you're iPhone 4S will be nearly indestructible. Just don't drop it in water.

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I like Boostcase... It is a very sturdy and strong case that also adds about 50% extra battery life and is still pretty low profile. I keep it in my pocket with no problems. It is made of a nice plastic that feels firm in your hands yet is not sticky in pockets.

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A friend of mine just bought this case yesterday. It's supposed to be really good and I like the looks of it. She also added a screen protector.

Link to Case

Link to Screen Protector

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from my research i've found that an iphone is best encased in either fire or water

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The first case I had on this was a Incase Snap Case (which came for free from the iPhone 4). Roughly six month passes and the case cracked from me taking it in and out often.

So I bought the Incase Pro Slider Case out of impulse for my iPhone 4. I'd say possibly about six months goes by and the bottom part of the case (the part that comes off when I want to dock) starts cracking.

Bought a Belkin bumper case since I'm a pretty careful guy anyways and I actually liked the minimal bulk, but the rubber came off like about than two weeks after using it.

Then I bought a Blade case which is similar to the bumper case, but aluminum instead of rubber... wasn't much of a fan of it.

So I'm back to the Incase Pro Slider.. it's still useable up to today (now my iPhone 4s) for nearly two years now. The outside shell is hard and the sides is rubber for grip. I've had some drops with this phone (handled by little sister) and it still held up. The only thing I didn't like was that slider piece.

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Two answers:
If you are very concerned about protecting your iPhone (and given the price of replacement, you should be) one of the Otterbox cases is the way to go. Yes, the Defender is big, but it is big for a reason (so it breaks instead of your phone when you drop it on concrete).

For days when I'm just going to work (and the phone sits in the desk) I use a case from Vaja http://www.vajacases.com They are very expensive, but very well made, provide decent (not great protection), and look great.

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First a comment about what I don't like. I generally don't like hard shell cases, and I do not like large cumbersome cases. I also don't want anything that feels slippery, or so rubbery it is going to attract lint if I put it in my pocket.

I am currently using a Speck Candyshell. I like it far better than the 3GS version of this case. It fits very well and I have no doubt that it offers fairly decent protection. The one downside is that the back shows wear fairly quickly. Nothing glaringly obvious, just more that I would really like.
https://www.speckproducts.com/candyshell-for-iphone-4s.html

My son is using an Incipio NGP and he is really happy with it. I had one for my 3GS and I really liked it on that phone. When I replace my Candyshell, I am likely to buy this one again. I like the feel of them, and they are reasonably priced.
http://www.incipio.com/iPhone-4-4S-Cases-Accessories/Incipio-iPhone-4-4S-NGP-Matte-Semi-Rigid-Soft-Shell-Case.asp

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I currently use the incipio case http://bit.ly/HVJRSK what I like about it is that I can use other accessory cables like this one. http://amzn.to/JoAjAK there are many others that doesn't fit and it really affects your choice in buying the perfect case. Especially online where you cannot touch the product or descriptions which doesnt include all information about it. I had the otterbox defender Red which I immediately replaced although it ultimately protected my iPhone 4, it was too bulky for me. I like the yellow gunmetal color like this http://bit.ly/I1WyLi or the CAMO pattern of this otterbox http://bit.ly/JQ3BoI. Many of you guys however will agree to some of these and disagree with others.

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@djp519: This case is great, I used one of this for some time, it gets easily scratched, but does the job. and it is one of the most compact cases out there and you are right, it is really cheap!

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@thomaswooderf: The SwitchEasy case looks incredible. It must be very popular.

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@thomaswooderf, The Switcheasy Chateau case. lots of detail! looks very nice.

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If you like to have a otterbox case you can go on with otterbox defender case with military style.It cost around $34.I saw in this site http://www.sfplanet.com that we can save 30% for otterbox case by using the coupon codes while checkout.

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As with most things, this depends on what you want to use it for.
I work in heavy industry and use the Otterbox Defender, arguably the most protective cases out there. Personally, my phone has taken a couple of tumbles onto large rocks and into puddles. I never question it, just dust it off. I have a close friend that ran over it in a puddle with an ambulance. He assumed it was a goner, until it rang. I see a lot of people with this model that would have been fine with the Commuter, so consider if it is worth the investment.

On my off-days I spend a lot of time online. Catching up on stock news, entertainment, sports and games. I still wake up at 0500, so the battery is dead before 1300. That is where the Mophie Plus steps in. 2000 mAh battery adds the time I need to wind out the day, even when I'm in NYC trying to find my way to the hottest restaurants. The power switch is essential, other brands just extend your battery without bothering to ask if that is what you need that minute.

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I like the colorful stuff when it comes to cases, i like the otterbox and zagg collections as they are long lasting for years. Presently i have a Parrot case for my iphone 4s
http://www.iphone5casesbuy.com/the-papagaio-parrot-case-for-iphone-4s/ . it cost only few bucks and do not look bulky.

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I'm a bit biased since I sell cases for the Iphone 4/4s. I did alot of research before putting out my product and so far it is getting some rave reviews. It is made from durable PC plastic and comes in interchangeable colored bricks to constantly update your look. It is easy to slide on and off the phone and has a nice snug fit.
You can buy it on Amazon for only $10. you get both the blue and Gray colors included.
http://www.amazon.com/Iphone-4-4s-Brick-Case/dp/B00APZKUJQ?tag=dealswoot-20