Catalyst Case iPhone 7 Plus REVIEW More Lifeproof than Lifeproof

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I was introduced to the Catalyst brand while attending CES 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prior to this meeting, I had only really had experience with the Otterbox variety of cases and a few other bumper style offerings. I had tried Lifeproof and Otterbox Defender, but I was not overly pleased with the products. The silicone around the Otterbox stretched and looked dingy and I went through 4 of the belt clips in 1 year. As you are likely aware, the Otterbox case is not waterproof like the LIfeproof, nor is it dust proof. Additionally, both of these cases tend to cover up a majority of the backside of the phones. As a fan of the contour/shape of the iPhone, I wish that the beauty of the device was able to be displayed more natively. I have switched to Catalyst and never looked back. In fact, I now have a Catalyst case on my iPad Air 2, my son’s iPad mini 4 and now on my iPhone 7 Plus.

The case arrives in very trendy, eye-catching packaging. The cover shows a lively submerged action shot of an iPhone. The packaging promises IP-68 (10 meter/33feet) water resistance, 360-degree phone protection and Military standard 810G (2 meter/6.6 foot) drop rating. Lifting the magnetic flap of the front cover, you will immediately see the case through a clear plastic window. I absolutely love this style of marketing as the consumer is able to directly see what they are buying. The left panel shows the layers of the case: outer polycarbonate shell, waterproof seal along the lightning port, front integrated touchscreen film, acoustic membrane, hard coated optical lens, rotating mute switch along the side, and non-slip soft rubber grip along the side. The major change from the iPhone 6s plus case to the iPhone 7 plus case is the flap along the bottom. Without the 3.5mm port, the flap does not need to be as big. Even though the iPhone 7 and 7plus are listed as 1 meter, 30-minute water resistant, I want more protection.

The case measures 6 3/4″ tall by 3 1/2″ wide by 1/2″ thick (171mm x 88.3mm x 12.6mm) and weighs 2.27 ounces. The product comes in 2 parts, a thicker front and a thinner back. Each of the pieces is clear and provides a pleasing visual of the iPhone. I am pleased with the 8.9-ounce weight of the case/iPhone 7 plus combo. The specifications of the case are quite reasonable, considering the iPhone 7 plus weighs 6.63 ounces alone. The case is incredibly secure and is designed to withstand a beating. Before trusting your phone to the case, the instructions recommend that you do a dry run. Well, actually to do a wet run. To test the waterproof cases, I place a square of toilet paper into the case and I submerge the case under a foot of water for 8 hours, overnight. Start by pressing downward at each of the corners and then run your fingers along the edges, feeling the satisfying click. During this testing process, you will have to wait down the case. Do not place anything directly into the center.

Of the Catalyst cases I have tested, I have not had any that did not pass this test. Along the back of the case, at the bottom, you will find a clear 1 inch wide by 1/4 inch tall piece of clear plastic. This is an extension of the back plate, that extends down beyond the remainder of the backing. You can insert a coin into the gap and pry up the edge of the case. It will then become very easy to separate the two halves. With a passing test, you can then place the phone into the case. I highly recommend using some Whoosh to clean your phone of fingerprints, prior to placing it into the case. If you do not, you will notice the blemishes and wish that you had removed the splotches. Press your phone into the front panel and then place the backing over the phone. Click the four corners into place and then run your fingers along the edge, again feeling the satisfying click. The case adds roughly 0.5″ in total height, 0.41″ in width and 0.2″ in thickness and still provides access to all of the features of the phone. There is a small button on the right upper case, which is quite responsive for the on/off button. The left side of the case has a very responsive 3/8″ toggle wheel (unique, patented rotating crown wheel) that serves to turn on/off the sound. Beneath the wheel, you will find the volume up and down buttons.

The clear case front showcases the screen very well. Beyond just a pretty shell, the “ultra-sensitive” screen allows you to have full control of the screen, including the fingerprint sensor. Some reports suggest that the screen protector is sticky or sluggish. Compared to the screen itself, these reviews may be accurate. However compared to the Otterbox case and other similar screen protected cases, the Catalyst case is clearly an upgrade. Another incredible perk of this case is the fully enclosed, sealed nature of the case. You may not think that this is a perk, but it is if you chose the Jet black iPhone 7 plus. Having used the Otterbox Defender for my phone, small pieces of debris managed to find their way into the case. I have a few scuff marks on the bottom of my iPhone, from utilizing this case. The Catalyst case does not cause this problem. It is truly sealed, dustproof and waterproof unless you open the rubber flap along the bottom. The camera is covered with a thin clear hard coated lens, not recessed and thus will not disrupt your photographs.

I love the feel of the case, the look of the case and the attention to overall protection. I do not like the drop tests and thus I do not go overboard with that part of the product. I did drop my phone onto my hardwood floor from 1 foot onto each corner and onto each surface twice. There was no damage to the phone or to the case with these tests. Even though I noted no damage, I opened the case and replaced the backing. I absolutely love the grip along the outside of the case. The rubberized grip does help to decrease the chances of dropping your phone. If you are still worried about dropping your phone, you can add the included wrist lanyard. One of the only complaints I have is the lack of an included phone belt clip. This case feels premium when compared to the Otterbox Defender case that I previously utilized. However, for the price, the Defender comes with a belt clip. For an extra $29.99, you can purchase the iPhone 6S plus clip/stand from their website. Even though it does not state that the device is compatible with the iPhone 7 plus, I can verify that it is fully compatible.

I trust this company and love their products. I rate the Catalyst Case, for the iPhone 7 plus, at 5/5 stars and would encourage anyone with an iPhone to entrust their device to Catalyst. The case is very durable, waterproof and provides a great experience. The clip stand doubles as a belt holster and a stand to keep your phone upright in landscape mode.

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Originally published at on May 18, 2017.



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