Every Man Jack Tech Reviews: The iPhone 4/4s MightyVault Smartphone Case
The Good, the Bad, and the Clumsy...
For those who live the rugged life – you cowboy, construction working, do-it-yourselfers – durable products are a necessity. Maybe you aren't a lasso tossing, drywall toting, working in the elements kind of person, but instead find yourself in a maelstrom of accidents, clumsy drops and horrific falls. Either way, making sure your $500+ investment stays safe is a priority that you cannot afford to ignore. Protective cases for your smart phone devices come in many styles, sizes and brands, and it often can become hard to discern which products actually deliver on their promises.
Today, we will dive into Speck's iteration of the Otter-box type protective case, aptly named the MightyVault, and find out whether this alternative is a smart buy. Our reviews are broken into four basic criteria; style, features, durability, and affordability. Closely analyzing this phone case should allow you as the consumer to make an educated judgment when shopping around for your new case. Let's take a closer look.
It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's the MightyVault!
The MightyVault for iPhone 4/4s is advertised as a hybrid between toughness and style. Unlike your Defender Series Otterbox, the MightyVault doesn't come in a brick like design, forgoing the cube like shape for a more futuristic beveled schematic. The case sports extra cushions of thick rubber round the edges of the case before tapering back into the hard plastic backing and screen guard. The product comes in a couple color schemes, but most popularly is available in white/cobalt, black/dark gray, and black/red. Though stylish in a modern, futuristic sense, the tapered edges don't really decrease the bulk of your protective case, and thus doesn't differentiate itself too much from the Otterbox Defender Series. Your iPhone, much like the Otter-Box, is transformed into a much heavier, overtly bulky electronic mammoth, that very well could be used as a murder weapon in a reinvented, contemporary version of Clue.
Look What I Can Do!
Protection is the focus of the MightyVault causing many of its features to center around upholding protective casing while remaining easily functional. Thick, rubberized doors cover the charging port, headphone jack and even mute button. While the doors are firm and provide ample protection, they can often be a pain to pry open and in turn offers a challenge for plugging in various cords. Expect to allocate an extra 20 minutes a day for accessing the various areas of your iPhone. Fortunately, unlike the Otterbox, these doorways show little effects of stress over time and remain tight instead of stretching and tearing, causing unsafe exposures to your smart phone device.
Raised, rubber buttons are provided for the on/off, volume and menu switches. In contrast to the shielding doorways, these buttons work extremely responsively, showing no sign of delay or extra effort needed when pressing a given button. Cutouts on the back and front of the iPhone case allows for proper and unhindered camera for both front facing and rear facing lenses. Sound is able to exit the case via a series of small slots around the iPhone's speakers, however playback of music or other sound sources through the devices built in speakers is noticeably muffled from the bulk of the case.
Finally, the case does come with a clip much like the Defender Series Otterbox. The phone fits securely in and is more then safe to wear while clipped on a belt. The clip can also double as a phone stand when fastened open. In comparison, I would argue the clip on the MightyVault is much more durable then the Defender Series, as it is made with thicker hard plastic and is able to click between configurations much more steadfastly. For the most part, for a protective case, the offered features are pretty standard.
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Like a Rock!
As a protective case, Speck's MightyVault is fantastic. Much like the Defender Series this case is a triple layered protective system. Inside is a poly-carbonate shell lined with a shock absorbent frame. This is then all encased within a rubberized, silicone grip. Where the rubber on the Defender Series encases the entire phone, the MightyVault only covers the edges. Still, the level of protection is able to produce similar coverage, as the rubber is much thicker around the edges providing a beveled edge to protect the hard plastic backing and screen.
As previously mentioned, all the door covers are firm, posing a threat to any foreign debris. The case also comes with a screen protector, forgoing the built-in screen guard design of the Otterbox Defender Series. For some, this may seem like a pain, but in my experience the Defender's built-in screen protector often became covered in scratches and needed to be removed anyway. Being that the MightyVault's screen protector is a stand-alone piece, replacement is a much easier process.
Putting the case together is much different then the Defender Series. Rather than a two part product design, the MightyVault is built into one streamlined unit. Getting the case open is a bit challenging as the rubber tightly holds everything in place, however, once open, the MightyVault is a breeze to put together. Simply place the phone in the case, and close the two sides together, ensuring it snaps shut. From there, the rubber casing needs to be swiveled back over the edges of the case and pushed firmly back into small grooves that surround the edges. In all, there is little I can nitpick about the protective qualities of this excellent protective case.
Slightly lighter than Defender, futuristic, limited variety, very bulky and unwieldy.
Strong cover doors, solid clip, attachable screen protector. Doors are hard to open.
Tough as nails. Can take a lot of impact. Great protection on edge.
Can buy for anywhere between $25 and $50.
The Final Verdict
Speck's MightyVault is a fantastic protective case. However, it unfortunately has little else going for it. Thick rubber, hard plastic, a strong clip, and slightly lighter feel just aren't enough to differentiate this product from its competition. The Otterbox Defender Series still proves to be a much more accessible phone case, having ample space for plugs as well as easily opened doors. More noticeably, the Defender iPhone Case is also a fully customizable device coming in almost endless varieties of style. In comparison, with the MightyVault you are limited to a small selection of cases that to me look to have been inspired by some cheesy, B-rated, sci-fi flick. No one can look good when they have to pull out a phaser to make a phone call.
The only saving grace for Speck's redheaded stepchild, is that their company no longer sells this product on their website and thus the case must be purchased from other dealers. This has allowed the prices to go down considerably. Though the retail price is closer to $49.99, much like the Otterbox iPhone cases, the MightyVault can be priced anywhere from $25 and up. The verdict; if you can find a cheap price, this case is a good alternative to the Defender Series when it comes to protection; it provides amazing coverage and the basic functionality is an added plus for users. I would just be ready to explain that you are not holding a mini R2-D2 hostage in your pocket. If you have any further questions or comments please feel free and welcome to leave them below. Cheers, folks!
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