Whenever a new iPhone is released, the feeling is a little bittersweet. I am truly excited to see the new tech, the latest features and to experience the bells and whistles that Apple brings to light. However, a small piece of me frets about finding a new case for the expensive device. How do you pick amongst the multitude of cases? For me, I like to go with a name that I trust, one that I have tested and tried historically. I have been a fan of Catalyst gear for the past few years. I initially learned about their waterproof cases while attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Back when the iPhone was less water resistant, a simple misstep or drop into any body of water often proved disastrous. As the iPhone technology advanced into the iPhone 7/7 plus, the devices became more water resistant. With IP67 resistance, you could expect the iPhone to survive for 30 minutes at 3 feet under water. This rating has been tested and validated multiple times, with some issues with failure of the speaker. Despite the rating, I still wanted a more secure waterproof option. I chose the Catalyst Waterproof case for the iPhone, which increased the depth protection down to 33 feet. The case was the one that protected my iPhone 7/7 plus until the day that I got my iPhone X. I was excited to see the new Impact case from Catalyst and wanted to compare it with the waterproof version.
The Impact Case arrived in style, resting within a very vibrant hanging retail package. The cover details the 9.9 foot (3 meter) drop resistance, a hanging lanyard, impact truss system and the 32-gram feather lightweight status of the case. Even though these features are impressive, the lifelike raised cover image is the showstopper. The raised glossy margins of the image represent the Catalyst case, and the center screen of the iPhone X details a Hiker completing/dominating an amazing hike. Turning the packaging over, the packaging further details the quality of the construction. The edges represent the impact truss system, a framework that is designed to absorb and dissipate the force from a fall/strike. The clear back protects from scratches and dings, yet allows for wireless charging. The non-slick rubberized coating along the edges help to ensure proper grip and to diminish the chances that you would drop the phone. Additional features include a conveniently located rotating volume lock, cutouts for the camera, lightning port and downward facing acoustic channels. The case hugs the iPhone X like a glove and is easily applied.
The easiest way that I found to install this case was to insert the top right corner of the phone (volume toggle side) first and then to follow the top edge, left edge and then the bottom edge with your thumb. The phone snapped into the case very gently and easily. The raised side ridges are raised enough to protect the screen from glancing blows, and they allow you to rest the case on the cover, without directly pressing onto the screen. Along the right side of the case, you will find the volume toggle switch and two ribbed/rubberized buttons for the volume up and down buttons. On the opposing side, you will find the ribbed/rubberized power button. The buttons are very responsive and provide a nice tactile feel when depressing the buttons. Along the left side (beneath the power button) and towards the bottom, you will find the etched name of the company “Catalyst.” The black on black color scheme is simple yet elegant, relying on quality instead of flashy colors/gimmicks. Beneath the volume down button (near the bottom right of the case), you will find a small hole that will allow you to insert the lanyard holder. The lightning port cutout measures 1/4 inches wide by 1/2 inches long and will accommodate nearly any lightning cable you may own. The 1 inch tall by 1/2 inches wide camera cutout perfectly fits the vertically oriented camera of the iPhone X. I was excited to see that the back edges were also minimally raised, preventing the camera from resting directly on a surface.
This case is not waterproof, nor does it claim the status. The 3 1/8 inches wide (at the volume toggle) by 5 7/8 inches tall by 7/8 inches thick black-colored case weighs an astonishing 1.13 ounces and adds very little to the bulk of the phone. The lanyard is a convenient way to reduce the likelihood of a drop and is an exciting inclusion. The clear backing serves as more than a window, showcasing the beauty of my Space Grey iPhone X, it allows for wireless charging. A quick search of the Catalyst website will reveal that this case is available in a few different color schemes. I have received and reviewed the Stealth Black version, but the case is also available in Blueridge/Sunset (blue case with red accents), Army Green, and Coral. Deviating from their traditional waterproof case line, Catalyst has done a fine job at making a protective, sleek, exciting case for the latest flagship Apple phone. As the screen is not directly protected, I did add a liquid screen protector from Whoosh.
This case is a fantastic addition to my iPhone X and provides another accessory to my device. SImilar to having a variety of clothing and shoes for various environments, it is easy to think of this case like the t-shirt and shorts of summer. The case provides all the protection you could want with amazing breathability and function. When the weather gets bad, cold, or wet, imagine slipping your phone into something a little more protective. It is for this reason that I look forward to testing the waterproof Catalyst case. I envision needing both varieties. I wish that there was a belt holster for the Impact case like there has been for the waterproof versions historically. I did purchase a generic leather Insignia hip case from Bestbuy. I am not overly pleased with this holder as the entire device has fallen off my hip 3x as I attempt to stand. Apparently, sitting pushes the clip upwards and off of my belt. As I stand, the phone falls to the floor as the holster is no longer attached to my waist. This is a problem and one I would love a solution for. This is not a detriment to the case. On the contrary, the Catalyst case will shield my phone, until I find a better option. Akin to the “King of the Mountain” game, the Catalyst Impact case has assumed and dominated the apex case position.