Reviewed: Pelican ProGear CE1150 iPhone 5 Case

Ever heard the line “Harder than a cat’s head”? The Pelican ProGear CE1150 is like a suit of armour for your iPhone 5.

We received a review sample of the CE1150 and I road tested it for almost 2 months so see how it fared in the real world. The case might not have been subjected to ‘tradie’ like conditions but I use my phone a lot and although I very rarely drop it, I did accidentally drop my iPhone 5 when testing the CE1150 and it wasn’t a trivial drop either..


I wasn’t initially a fan of the orange on the review sample but it does come in a range of different aesthetically pleasing alternatives. Truth be told, I actually found that I was more aware of where I’d left my phone and spent less time looking for it around the office so I warmed up to the high visibility orange pretty quickly. As someone who has their phone on ‘silent’ about 60% of the time, simply calling it doesn’t always help me locate it.

The available colours are in the gallery below:

The Pelican ProGear CE1150 is a durable case for the iPhone 5 that costs just under AU$40. It’s a straight forward product and comes in 2 parts that form a protective shell for your iPhone5 when pressed together around it. The case is made up of both a softer (in our sample, orange) rubber compound and a harder durable plastic.

The inner edge of the front cover gives enough overlap on the screen edge to cover the edges of a standard screen protector (laminate film type) without covering any of the active screen pixels. This is great because it stops the screen protector from lifting at the edges and also prevents dust from getting underneath easily.

The cameras are able to be used without the case getting in the way and spoiling your photos. The cut-out at the bottom of the case doesn’t get in the way of a standard iPhone headset 3.5mm plug nor does it impede the speakers or microphone as far as we can tell. The CE1150 is almost certain to cause issues if you need to dock your iPhone but we were unable to test this as we don’t use an iPhone5 dock.

The raised bevel around the front of the screen is enough to make sure that the screen doesn’t touch a table top directly when it’s face down, the rubber trim also provides some tactile resistance which means that the phone doesn’t slide around easily when face down. The harder compound on the rear of the case is a different story, whilst being very durable and protecting the main camera, it is very smooth and slides around easily on a flat surface with very little resistance. This also means that the CE1150 slides easily into a pocket.

One of the main selling points of the iPhone5 for many people was that it is slimmer and lighter than the previous iPhone4 and 4s – so who would want to slap a thick case on it and bulk it out? Lots of people. I use 2 phones, an iPhone5 and an iPhone4, and my preference in terms of form factor is the iPhone4 because it’s slightly heavier and thicker. I find that the iPhone5 is much more comfortable to use in the Pelican case than ‘naked’, it sits better in my hand and I know it stands a better chance of survival in the case if (when) I drop it.

The power and volume buttons have rubber buttons on the case that press through to the iPhone5 without any issues at all. There is even the tactile feedback of the button ‘click’.

For the record, I would never intentionally drop a recently released and expensive electronic device just to see if it breaks. As it happens, I did actually drop my iPhone5 by accident whilst testing the Pelican case. This ‘accidental test’ involved a 5 ft drop onto hard tiles – To my relief and surprise, both the phone and case survived without any sign of damage.

The ‘Silent’ toggle switch is well protected but hard to get to. If you use it all the time like I do, it could be annoying. The switch is still operable but it takes a really deliberate effort to toggle it.

The only other thing that we could find as a potential drawback is the lack of a lanyard attachment point but most cases don’t have this either. This is not a big deal and barely worth noting. A case that is designed to be used in a rugged environment might be even more useful with some form of lanyard attachment.



Easy to install Silent Toggle switch is harder to get to
Doesn’t slide around when face down Pelican didn’t implement a lanyard attachment to the case design
provides as much screen protection as you can expect from a case like this  
Case overlaps the standard iPhone screen protector which prevents lifting around the edges/corners and stops dust from getting under it  
Camera and flash are protected for the most part without interfering with their function  

I like the CE1150 as it has proven to offer a real level of protection for my iPhone5, was easy to install and made a delicate piece of everyday technology more practical. The blue (teal) offering would probably be my first choice but when it comes to colours, each to their own.



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