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Damaging your handset, whether it's an iPhone or not, is no fun. Some people may be able to shrug off a scuff or two, but others may have a conniption at the sight of a dent.
And while there are plenty of options out there -- cases that emphasize ruggedness, extra battery life, and everything in between -- few case companies go so far as replacing your entire phone if it's beyond repair.
Cellhelmet, however, does just that.
Cellhelmet, manufactured in the United States by the unfortunately named Cellpig, is an iPhone 4/4S case made out of polyurethane rubber and costs $44.99. If you damage your device while it's in a Cellhelmet, the company will repair it and send it to you back within three business days. If Cellpig can't, it'll replace your iPhone altogether.
Of course, there is some fine print. The company will only fix the damage if it occurred within the first 12 months of your Cellhelmet purchase. And while it'll repair a cracked screen or a broken motherboard, it won't cover water damage. In addition, every time you send your handset in, it'll set you back $50 for the handling fee.
But that's pretty much it. Under those stipulations, you're allowed an unlimited number of repairs with no monthly fees.
Though the deal sounds great, keep in mind that the case itself looks a bit underwhelming. It comes in two colors, a smoky, translucent gray version and a white clear model. Each case comes with two colored back plates (either black and white, blue and green, or pink and color), though obviously when paired with the smoky case, the plates will be dulled. Also, there's not much to them. They're essentially colored card-stock paper with a laminated feel.
The Cellhelmet measures 4.9 inches tall, 2.07 inches wide, and 0.49 inch thick. It comes in one piece, so you have to slide your iPhone into the bottom of the case and slip the rest of case over the top of your handset. Because it encases your device with a thick layer of rubber, getting to your volume and sleep/power keys takes more handling with your fingers. You can also forget about using a headphone jack that has a thick cord.
During my time with the accessory, I noticed that a lot of the edges weren't smoothed out. Though it didn't hurt, there were times when the edges of the case scratched my hand or cheek.
With daily usage, the case held up fine. I knocked an iPhone around, dropped it on the floor from a couple of feet, threw it in my bag, and banged it around on tables. The Cellhelmet fended off any scratches that would occur, and it was easy to clean due to its slick rubber. It's also lightweight and not too bulky, meaning that I could easily slip my phone in the front or back pockets of my jeans.
In general, the Cellhelmet won't turn any heads. But despite its humdrum design, it does its job by protecting an iPhone against minor scratches and dents. And if the damage goes beyond that (excluding anything that deals with water), the case's accidental coverage is reassuring. Even if the company who is taking care of your phone is called Cellpig.