PROS: Tough and allows great access to your iPhone.
The edges makes the iPhone nice to handle.
Provide protection while still being very slim.
CONS: The clear back of the case is susceptible on fingerprint marls.
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The Catalyst impact Protection is thin and light. It is a bit wider than the average case but we personally havenʼt found wide cases being problematic with the iPhone X. Maybe this would be a problem with the iPhone 8 Plus but not the normal iPhone 8 or iPhone X.
To give you a sense of how thin the Catalyst Impact Protection case is, look at the photo below. The case adds an extra 17% to the thickness on the iPhone X. For context, the average case adds 28%. This conclusion is based on 200 cases that weʼve measured from all our past reviews.
The Catalyst Impact Protection feels very solid. The case fits your iPhone X quite well. We were initially a little apprehensive about the top of the case. However, it hasnʼt really bothered us since day one.
The materials on the Catalyst Impact Protection look like they would be very slick, But the blend of TPU they used in the case keeps your iPhone from slipping around easily on flat surfaces. The handling of the case is also quite decent. The texture isnʼt obnoxious like the Speck Presidio Grip. The Catalyst Impact Protection also doesnʼt result in the iPhone handling like a wet bar of soap unlike the Speck Presidio Grip.
Our only gripe with the case is the clear back. The clear back will show fingerprinting quite easily. There is a series of small dots on the back of the clear polycarbonate that helps hide the fingerprints a bit. But, surprisingly, this doesn’t bother us that much. The glass back of Appleʼs newest iPhones are magnets for fingerprints to begin with so having the case get “finger-printy” isnʼt such a big deal.
We will note that the clear back is also raised slightly so sliding the back of the case along a flat surface wonʼt result in it being scratched.
Accessing your iPhone X is great in the Catalyst Impact Protection. If youʼve been reading the reviews on this website, youʼll know that we’re a big fan of the rotary switch on cases. Itʼs way better than the tiny cutouts youʼd find on similar cases like the LifeProof Slam or Otterbox Pursuit.
The actual buttons on the case were also another feature that surprised us. We weren’t expecting a smaller than average buttons that sit almost flush against the case to be so responsive.
The edges of the case also allow you to access your iPhone Xʼs screen easily which is important because of gestures. Weʼve also had quite a bit of success using edge-to-edge screen protectors with the case.
SEE ALSO: What are the best screen protectors for the iPhone X? (Every screen protector on the article is compatible with the Catalyst Impact Protection)
The cutouts at the bottom of the case are large enough for big lightning cables. The camera cutout also has a matte finish to it to ensure that light and the flash arenʼt reflected back into the camera.
Last but not least is the fact that you can attach a wrist strap to the case. The wrist strap attachment point just adds to the functionality of the case. The wrist trap can add a bit more security to your iPhone for those times that youʼre out of normal element.
The Catalyst Impact Protection is a tough case with 3m drop protection for the corners. And Catalyst is very specific at pointing out the fact that it is only for corners. We’ve asked about the face first protection and we were told that the iPhoneʼs screen would still break if it was dropped on a rocky or pebble strewn corner.
For the first drop, we did with the Catalyst Impact Protection case was actually a 10 ft drop. There were no issues with the iPhone in the case. Part of us were expecting a slight bend but nothing happened.
We then went and dropped it again, This time the 10 ft drop was closer to a face first drop than a corner drop. However, prior to the drops, we did sweep the area clear to ensure nothing pointy was going to hit the iPhoneʼs screen.
Based from this drop, we can definitely say that you should get a screen protector for your iPhone X if you plan on dropping your device from 10 ft, face first in this case.
We also decided to go with a slightly more realistic scenario that didnʼt involve ladders by dropping our iPhone from our balcony which is higher than 10 ft. The iPhone X came out fine with this test.
For the last drop test, we went to our local Crossfit Box and dropped the iPhone on a 15 ft rope. The case came out unscathed. But we will concede that this drop was probably less severe than the first drop since it landed on a black rubber mat thatʼs not quite as hard as concrete. But still, 15ft is still quite the height for the iPhone X to travel.
But letʼs be realistic. The average person insʼt going to drop their iPhone from 10 ft. Many will drop it from face height and chest height but 10 ft is quite high for somebody an average day to drop. We did a last few drops were from about 6 ft and the various drops didnʼt result in the iPhone getting damaged.
The Catalyst Impact Protection is definitely going to protect your $1000 dollar iPhone X from selfie mishaps.
After all the awful things we did for our review. The front and back pieces of glass are fine, it doesnʼt look bent and everything seems to be in working order. Except for the screen protector which caught the brunt of the 10 ft drop. But again, The Catalyst Impact Protection is only drop rated to 10 ft for the corners and thatʼs totally the case.
We feel pretty confident that the Catalyst Impact Protection is going to keep the iPhone safe from anything we can do to it on a day to day basis. Weʼve dropped the iPhone a lot more in the last few months so we’re glad that we have the Catalyst Impact Protection around.
vs Lifeproof slam
Would we choose the Catalyst Impact Protection over the LifeProof Slam?
Yes. The Catalyst Impact Protection handles better, offers better access to your iPhone and handles better. It takes so much effort to access the sleep button on the iPhone in the LifeProof SLAM. And good luck trying to access the mute switch if youʼve got larger fingers. But this comparison is almost unfair given that weʼve rated the LifeProof SLAM at 1.5 Ehʼs out of 5.
SEE ALSO: LifeProof SLAM Review
vs tech 21 evo series
From a scoring standpoint, weʼve given the Tech 21 Evo Checks, Tech 21 Evo Mesh and Tech 21 Evo Gems a score of 4.1 Ehʼs out of 5. These would be a decent alternative to the Catalyst Impact Protection. But these cases wonʼt offer as much protection than the Catalyst Impact Protection case.
We’re not a big fan of how exposed the bottoms of the iPhone are with Tech 21 cases. The flexible back also means that there is a higher chance that the iPhone is going to pop out during a face first drop.
However the next highest case in our scoring system, the Tech 21 Evo Tactical (4.9 ehʼs out of 5) is technically tougher than the Catalyst Impact Protection from our perspective. The reason for this is because the iPhone in the case and belt holster on the Tech 21 Evo Tactical is going to be able to take a beating. But the Tech 21 Evo Tactical case doesnʼt handle as well with all the extra bulk which is why the Catalyst case still comes out on top.
vs Otterbox Symmetry clear
The Catalyst Impact Protection handles better and will wear better. Otterbox designs their cases to have rubbery fronts and slick backs. Part of the case handles really well while the other part handles like a wet bar of soap. The slick back will let the phone slide around easily. While the back of the case isn’t raised which means the phone will scratch easier than the Catalyst Impact Protection as well.
The edges on the Otterbox Symmetry Clear are more noticeable. This is a big deal for the iPhone X and gestures. With our updated scorings system, the Otterbox Symmetry Clear gets a score of 2.7 Ehʼs out of 5.
If youʼre still not convinced, the Symmetry is $45 bucks and the Catalyst Impact Protection is $40. If youʼre sold on this case, use the code MR-EH10 for 10% off which brings the cost of the case down to $36 bucks.