If you’re anything like me, you simply can’t have a smart phone without a waterproof and drop-proof case. As crappy as it is to cover a sleek new piece of technology with rubber and plastic, that’s just the way I have to roll. So, I’ve had the Catalyst case on my unwieldy (I still prefer the form-factor of the iPhone 5) iPhone 6 for a test drive.

Catalyst iPhone 6 Case Features:

  • Tested to IP-68 waterproof  standards (5m – 16.4′)
  • Fully dust-proof
  • Meets MIL-SPEC 810G for drops up to 2m (6.6′)
  • Rubber exterior ring with lanyard loop
  • Rotating crown dial to switch mute on and off
  • Integrated screen protector
  • Acoustic membranes to allow full sound
  • Hard coated optical lens is not recessed
  • Easy to assemble and disassemble
  • Dimensions 11.4 mm thin, 150.4 mm tall, 77 mm wide (0.45″ x 5.91″ x 3.04″)
  • Weight 44g
  • Price: $69.99

Review: Catalyst Case for iPhone 6

Protect it, at all costs

When it was time to upgrade to an iPhone 6, I knew I had to have a case that would withstand the abuse I would dish out. I’m not easy on my phones — they get dropped, submerged, tossed around and left in a sweaty jersey pocket for hours on end. I can’t afford to shell out for a new phone every six months, so a waterproof case is essential.

The Catalyst waterproof case for iPhone 6 launched earlier this year and is one of several water and abuse-proof case designs on the market. Very comparable to a LifeProof case, the Catalyst case is about as slim, but features rounded edges for a little more comfort in-hand.

To achieve the water, dust and abuse protection, Catalyst employs a full screen protector. This protector is one of the better ones on the market for screen touch, but does scratch rather easily. I’ve got a fair bit of scratches on mine after only three months of use, but better on the case than on the phone.

Review: Catalyst Case for iPhone 6

As with any full-coverage case, the screen protector is not as good as the real thing. It’s not bad, but occasionally the keyboard and I don’t seem to be on the same page and tapping doesn’t quite seem as precise. That said, it’s certainly acceptable for the coverage it provides.

I honestly don’t know how people have iPhones unprotected or with minimal protection because I’m constantly dropping this phone — luckily only a few times on hard pavement or concrete surfaces. Regardless of the drops, the case shows very little in the way of wear and tear and the phone functions like a charm.

The rubber plug that covers the headphone jack, lightning port and speaker is much more convenient than the snap and screw plug found on the Lifeproof Nuud. It is easily removed for charging or headphone use and easily accepts oversized plugs. Just don’t get too zealous as you can pull the whole plug off the case. Not to worry, it’s easily put back in and replacement plugs are available from the company’s Web site.

Review: Catalyst Case for iPhone 6

In all my water testing, the case has proven waterproof. I’ve submerged the phone in swimming pools, lakes and rivers up to a few feet (no, I haven’t tested the 16.4ft claimed depth). And, it sits in my rear jersey pocket on every bike ride, which gets a fair bit of moisture. Through all that, the Catalyst case has performed as promised.

I do love the rubber outer ring on this case. It makes for easy gripping of the phone and most certainly provides a fair bit of shock protection for all the dropping I’ve done. The exterior buttons are easy to press and function well with the exception of the ringer switch. That switch sometimes doesn’t work and you have to twist it to either extreme a couple of times for it to engage.

Review: Catalyst Case for iPhone 6

While the case has performed as expected, the back of the unit is rather squeaky. Gripping the phone results in an audible creaking noise, which does make you wonder. As far as I can tell, it has no bearing on the performance of the case, it’s just a little annoying is all.

Word to the wise: While these cases will certainly protect against drops, water, dust, snow, etc., they are still light-duty cases and are subject to failure. They are not failsafe, but this case has performed flawlessly so far in my testing. Don’t abuse it and use it wisely and you’ll enjoy solid protection. Phones are expensive and even with AppleCare+, you’ll have to shell out at least $80 for a replacement, so don’t be careless.

The Good

  • Highly-protective against drops
  • Has done well in all my water testing
  • Grippy rubber bumper is easy to hold
  • Screen sensitivity is better than others I’ve tried
  • Excellent sound quality
  • iPhone looks brand new inside — not even any friction marks

The Bad

  • Squeaky case back
  • Touchscreen is not as accurate as a bare screen
  • No getting around the size increase (but it is nearly the slimmest of the protective cases)
  • Touch ID is hit-and-miss

The Bottom Line: Catalyst iPhone 6 Case

If you, like me, must have a waterproof and drop-proof case for your iPhone, the Catalyst should be tops on your list. It’s less expensive than the competition and provides solid protection with a few, understandable trade-offs.

Buy Now: Visit CatalystLifestyle.com

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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