I've used a lot of different iPhone cases over the years and I've stumbled onto the coolest iPhone case ever. If you're a "no case" person you can probably skip this post, but if you tend to use a case (or regularly drop your iPhone) then read on.
The Vapor Pro Black Ops case for the iPhone 4 ($149) from Element Case is one badass piece of kit. For starters it's CNC machined from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum, that's right, it has unibody construction -- just like your MacBook (video). The aluminum frame makes it incredibly light and strong at the same time. That yellow polymer panel in the picture above mitigates the death-grip problem that happens when you bridge the iPhone 4's antenna/frame.
The Black Ops case closes via two small screws in two corners. It also includes a thin layer of padding inside the aluminum exoskeleton that insulates the iPhone 4 antenna from the aluminum case. The padding also provides a layer of shock absorption between the case and the frame of the phone further protecting it in the event of an impact.
The Black Ops case comes with two Ultrasuede panels: a full panel that protects the rear of the iPhone against abrasion and a smaller ear plate which provides a little padding from the hard edge of the case. The Ultrasuede panels are removable and re-positionable if they're kept clean. The kit also includes an excellent anti-glare screen protector that's easy to install and has roughly the same finger resistance as the iPhone 4's glass screen. (I don't like screen film that's too tacky because it makes it hard to drag items between iOS home screens.)
Don't get me wrong, $149 is a pretty penny for an iPhone case, but if you're concerned about impact resistance the Vapor Pro Black Ops provides a level of protection not seen in other cases -- without a lot of added size and weight. Element tells me that iPhones in Vapor Pro cases have survived car and motorcycle ejections at upwards of 40 MPH (although they obviously don't recommend it) so it'll certainly survive a drop from your hand to the sidewalk. The Vapor Pro Black Ops is available in several colors and configurations (along with a host of other cool iPhone 4 cases) from the Element Case website.