A catalyst is something that speeds up a reaction, without being changed. This case will catalyze your ability to utilize your tech, wherever you want to.
Having a history of reactive airway disease, the outside environment really affected my breathing negatively. I thus turned to tech and video games, while many of my friends were outside playing. As I got older, my breathing issues markedly improved and I was able to enjoy nature. Whether I am vacationing in Gatlinburg, TN, lounging by the pool, enjoying time with friends, or simply playing in the yard, I need accessories to help my tech to be outdoor proof.
Last year while wandering around CES 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada, I was introduced to a company named Catalyst. I had the pleasure of learning about the team, learning about the product and with time, I learned to really trust the brand. Over the past year, I have rested comfortably knowing Catalyst was protecting my iPhone 6S and Apple 42mm gen 1 watch. My phone survived multiple 3 feet falls and yet maintained its waterproof status. It has fallen into a 5-foot deep pool and remained at the bottom, for about a minute, before I could retrieve it. I know without a doubt that my phone would have been lost without the case. I am very grateful to Catalyst for their quality gear and their thorough testing.
This past Christmas, my wife and I chose to purchase an iPad Mini 4 for my 7-year-old son. Knowing how my children interact with tech, I had to have a reliable and protective case. Drawing upon my prior experiences, I turned to the Catalyst iPad Mini 4 case. This was a decision that proved to be incredibly wise. Not even one week into owning the iPad, my son had dropped it three times from about 2.5-3 feet in height. Additionally, it accidentally fell into the bathtub once. Let me simply state that the Catalyst cases are designed to handle whatever you can throw at them. It is this reason that I turned to the Catalyst case for my iPad Air 2.
If you look at the packaging, you will notice that the case is designed to fit the 9.7″ iPad Pro. However, if you look closely, you will notice that it will also fit the iPad Air 2. The cover dynamically displays a protected iPad with surrounding water graphic. I love how the white of the iPad is offset by the black of the case and packaging. The case is designed to be waterproof IP-68 with a reported depth of 6.6ft/2m. Additionally, the case is listed as drop proof to Mil-STD 810 G 4ft/1.2meter standards. Along the top left of the packaging is an open plastic window, which allows you to actually see the case. When it comes to packaging, this is one of my favorite features. I love to actually see the product, instead of relying on an image/diagram.
If you flip the packaging over, you will be introduced to further specifications of the product. In addition to being waterproof/drop proof, the product is snow proof, dirt proof, easy to install, contains true sound acoustics, has integrated touchscreen film, soft rubber grip, port covers, and a hard coated optical lens. Included within the packaging is the case, a black diamond shaped opening tool, and a flat case stand. The product comes in 2 main parts, the case front and the case back. Within the case are built-in snaps, which help to keep the rubberized seal compressed. There are button openings for the volume up/down and for the power. There are pull out ports for the 3.5mm jack and the lightning adaptor along the bottom. If these ports are not sealed, the case is not waterproof. Along the bottom left is an opening slot, which will accommodate the opening tool perfectly. In a pinch, a quarter will work as well.
Before trusting your iPad Air 2 to submersion, Catalyst recommends a dry run. I have done this with each of my cases and each test was a success. This case proved to be just as waterproof and trustworthy as the iPad mini 4 case review, the iPhone 6s Plus review and my Apple Watch 42mm review. Instead of leaving it in water for 30 minutes, I left it submerged under a foot of water for 2 days. To test if there was water leakage, I placed toilet paper in the inside of the case. After patiently waiting 2 days, I proudly could announce that the case passed this test as well.
To open the case, you will need to insert the opening tool into the bottom left of the case. Twist clockwise and you will hear a click. Run the tool under the edges until the cover is removed. I checked for fluid, there was none. With the testing completed, it was time to install the iPad Air 2. Remove the plastic film from the inside back of the case and place the iPad Air 2 into the case. Next, securely press all 4 corners of the iPad into the case. The volume buttons line up perfectly with the case. You will also notice that the lightning port and the power button are perfectly placed. Once installed, there is essentially no movement inside of the case. After the iPad was inserted, touch screenI cleaned the screen with Woosh (my favorite screen cleaner) and pressed a corner of the top screen down firmly. From there, follow the edges around, making sure that the rubber is not bulging out. You will hear and feel a series of satisfying clicks, as you press the case together.
That is it, the iPad is now amazingly pro touchscreen is incredibly sensitive, and feels much like a native iPad. It is important to note that you should not have any screen protector on the device. This will hinder the touch screen film from working as effectively. The home screen button/thumb scanner work well. The volume up/down and power buttons are a little stiff, but they function perfectly well also. The 3.5mm port is easily accessible, after removal of the port plug. The included flat tablet stand is a nice inclusion, but is easily misplaced. Unfortunately, there is no included method of attachment to the case.
If you are searching the Catalyst site, you may come across a 3.5mm Audio Adaptor for Catalyst Case. This adaptor allows only the iPhone SE, 6S/6S+, 5S, 5, 4S, 4 cases to remain waterproof. There is no device that will let you use the iPad 3.5mm port and remain waterproof. I would recommend a good set of waterproof bluetooth headphones/earbuds to enjoy listening to music. The native speakers of the iPad Air 2 sound good with the acoustic barrier. I really love the build of the case, as it provides you with near complete visualizing of the front and back of the iPad. One of my complaints of many of the cases is the opaque nature of the back. Catalyst does not do that, they provide a clear backing, which will allow you to see the back of the device and the apple logo. I do appreciate the design and the craftsmanship that went into it.
I personally trust catalyst enough to purposefully submerge my iPad. This is no easy feat as it goes against my better judgement. Without the iPad inside of the case, you will need to weight down the case. With the iPad, the device will sink. Again, if you search their website, you will find another useful device called the floating lanyard. This is designed to keep items up to 0.77 lb afloat. There is no connection point on the iPad Air 2 case, which is a little disappointing. They do make waterproof bags, which can float. These would work for canoe trips or boating events where the case may sink. With only a 6.6 foot subversion rating, the ability to connect the lanyard would be helpful to reduce rapid sinking.
Overall, this case provides the same features that I have come to love and expect from Catalyst. The case is easy to install, passed the waterproof test, has a fully functional touch film, has good acoustics, good camera access and increases the total number of locations that I would be comfortable using the iPad. If you are looking for a rugged, drop resistant, waterproof case for your Apple products, Catalyst is the case for you. I just wish that the iPhone 7 plus Catalyst Case was available. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until March 2017.
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