Ballistic Aspira Case Mixes Toughness With Sleek Good Looks [Review]

Aspira by Ballistic
Category: Cases
Works With: iPhone 5
Price: $35

Ballistic’s new Aspira iPhone cases are a little different from your usual ruggedized case. First, they’re not ugly. Second, they’re pretty slim. And third, you can keep them in your pocket.

I have been testing out a box of the things for a little while now and I kinda like them. My friends’ opinions might differ, though.


First, my uncool friends. I decided to pink and white flowery cover to do my testing, despite the two lower-key models in the “launch kit” box. And to a man (and even woman) I was asked why I didn’t have a more “manly” case. I refrained from bouncing my iPhone off the floor and challenging them “Can your case do that?” but I coulda. Hell, yeah. I totally coulda.

The Good

The Aspira is almost all good. It’s light, and yet it’s multi-layer composition gives good shock protection. I wasn’t kidding about the floor bouncing – I dropped my iPhone 5 onto my tiled bedroom floor just as soon as I’d slipped it into this flowery little number and it shrugged it off and asked for more (note: it did not ask for more).

This is in part thanks to the oversized corners. Instead of making the whole case fat and bouncy, only the relevant parts ate reinforced. So the corners get rounded bumpers, the screen gets a raised bezel, and the buttons (where exposed) are safely buried at the bottom of shallow cutouts.

Taking photos is a dream: the volume buttons are both covered with their own dedicated raised caps, making photo-snapping easy.

This slightly organic shape also makes the Aspira easy to hold. The smooth finish (more on that in a second) has grippy strips on it along the back and the edges so one-handed use is comfy, and taking photos is a dream: the volume buttons are both covered with their own dedicated caps, which are raised, making photo-snapping easy.

Ballistic Aspira Case Mixes Toughness With Sleek Good Looks [Review]

These buttons make picture-taking easy, while keeping out the gunk.

And that smooth shell (along with the slim profile) mean that you can keep this case in a front pants pocket. I wear pretty skinny jeans thanks to the oath I took back when I was a Hipster (it’s like the Masons’ oath, only with organic kefir instead of ox blood, and lots of photos taken with boxy old film cameras), and the case goes in and out just fine. It’s not exactly slimline, but it really doesn’t seem to be bulky at all.

The Bad

Ballistic Aspira Case Mixes Toughness With Sleek Good Looks [Review]

From the front, it’s pretty low-key.

Not much. In fact I (unlike my gender-ossified friends) only have a single complaint. The lip.

The lip is the bit of plastic which runs across the bottom of the case. It’s there because of the cutout on the base which gives access to the Lightning connector and the speakers, and on the Aspira it kind of flaps loosely around because it’s only joined at its ends.

I suppose it does give your fingers something to fiddle with, but if your iPhone was to drop bottom-end first onto, say, a bike top-tube, with a slight screen-ward tilt (stay with me here), then it might get a good crack on its edge. Might. It’s unlikely but worth knowing about.

The Verdict

I don’t have any problem recommending the Aspira. It’s tough and good looking. It fits in perfectly with what I use the iPhone for, and it adds very little weight (25 grams, or about an ounce). You can of course choose a more neutral colorway (including a boring all-black model), but where’s the fun in that? Like casting Chris Reeve as Superman, sometimes we like the contrast between pretty and tough.

Ballistic Aspira Case Mixes Toughness With Sleek Good Looks [Review]Product Name: : Aspira

The Good: Tough, sleek, unobtrusive, comfortable.

The Bad: Flappy lower lip.

The Verdict Buy it. Why not, right?

Buy from: Ballistic

Cult of Mac rating: Good

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About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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