Ok, so I just received the Seidio Rugged and I know some of you wanted to hear about it.
First impression: This thing is huge! Yes, it is pretty big. I don't think this should be a big surprise to anyone given the amount of protection it offers and the fact that it is a case on top of another case. For anyone who is curious about the bulk issue, yes, it does add significant bulk.
For me, the case changes the device completely in the sense that you are going from a beautiful, sleek and thin device to something that feels more along the lines of a hand held GPS device. It definitely feels more like something made for the outdoors or like a tool I would use on the job if I were building cell towers in the middle of nowhere. I would also say it has a law enforcement feel to it. When I where it on my belt, it feels like a sidearm. Are these bad things? To some, definitely. To me, not so much. I spend a lot of time in the outdoors. Keep in mind, on the package is a picture of a fireman. Firemen's gear is built to withstand a certain amount of abuse.
The feel of the case, to me, is great. I think I will adjust to the size difference, but, so far, I like the way it feels. I have no problem using it one handed and now feel like I have something that won't slip through my fingers (something that happened often... yes, I am clumsy). I definitely like that I don't feel the need to be so gentle with it. I want to be able to drop it accidentally, toss it in a backpack, or dump it into the cup holder of my car. Basically, I don't want to worry about it getting jostled around or place it gingerly like a faberge egg. I don't think I will have to worry with this case.
There are a couple of annoyances. The home buttons are a little more difficult to get to because there is a significantly tall lip directly under them. This makes them a little less accessible but, again, something to adjust to. The buttons themselves are naked. I think this is where Otterbox wins in their design. I can only imagine, with the buttons covered, they are quite easily pushed. This lip also effects the scroll down menu bar at the top of the screen. I did not, however, have any problem playing Zelda much to my surprise and happiness. Swype texting was perfectly fine as well. Other accessablilty issues include the flaps that cover the jack, ports, and camera lens. All seem to require a little trick to get them open, except for the audio jack which seems impossible to get open unless you have long finger nails. I used the tip of a knife. The port cover is easy to get open and the camera cover requires a couple of tricks but nothing too hard to figure out. I do like the camera cover, though. It does stay pinned back really well. It is held on by a thin piece of silicon but I don't think it will break any time soon.
Besides the home buttons, the other external controls are covered and are totally functional with no problems at all.
Installation of the case is easy. Snap on the 360 (a nice, slim-line case on its own), the silicon cover goes over that, and then snap on the exoskeleton. Only time will tell if I switch between the two cases very much. The Rugged is easy to remove and the 360 is way more pocket-able. I did have to remove my Invisible shield from the back and edges of the phone. The 360 fits very precisely and didn't seem to want to snap shut very well with even the thin IS under it. I was able to keep my IS screen protector on though. Seidio Rugged does include a screen protector that is separate from the case, but I like, and I am used to the IS protector. No problems leaving it on.
Can you put the Rugged in your pocket? Sure! You might need some big pockets though. I put it in the pocket of my jeans and it was definitely less comfortable than a naked DX, obviously, but I never liked it in my pocket anyway. Either way, it is doable, but not optimal. I don't consider it a pocket phone anyway. Which segues to my next issue: the holster.
There is nothing dainty about the holster. It is beefy and durable looking. I really feel like I might get some second glances from police officers wondering if I have a permit to carry this thing. I don't feel like I am going to use it much. I have never liked holsters and only a trench coat might conceal this setup. Seriously, I think wearing this, without a uniform for some credibility, is going to make people think you have a gun or a taser. The holster is clearly designed for a particular use. The clip looks like it will easily fit over a two-inch belt. Usually, two-inch belts are worn for only certain activities, none of which involve navigating the hazards of office life. Again, there is a picture of a fireman on the box! The clip system that holds the phone is place is nice. It is spring loaded, but has a significant tab that juts out a bit. You can also lock it to keep it firmly closed. All of these operations can be accomplished with one hand. Locking and unlocking, however, is a little tricky.
So do I like the Rugged? I do. I will say it is definitely not for everyone, but if you like rugged, tactical-like design, this case is for you. If you want ultimate protection, this is for you. You absolutely must not mind the added bulk though. This is an issue for many users out there. You will have to decide what is more important for you and what your needs are. I wanted ultimate protection and don't care about, in fact kind of enjoy, the change in size. If you want scratch protection, get a slim case, or get Invisible Shield (a pain to put on, but durable with no noticeable change in size).
Was this better than waiting for the Otterbox? Good question. I think the Otterbox will be a little more slim and maybe even designed a little better. I am still very curious about it and would love to see one. I'm not getting one this time around but, from what I have seen, I do like what they do. I would love to do a side by side comparison, but then I would be over $100 deep into phone cases.
Please feel free to post any questions to me and I apologize if the pictures aren't so great. I was firing a few test shots off and my batteries died. No backups. Figures.