Don’t let nature choose where you take your iPad Mini 5. Instead, Catalyze your adventure with a fully protective waterproof case.
Over the past two years, my children have begged me to play/join the Pokémon Go movement. Unfortunately, there were a few problems to overcome. My wife and I felt that they were too young for their own iPhones (age 10/8), their WiFi only models of iPad Mini 4 16GB lacked storage space and on-the-go internet, and there were limited Pokémon around my home and absolutely no Pokestops/Gyms. We would occasionally allow them to use mobile data via hotspot but we always worried that they would drop their devices. This past September, we decided to upgrade their devices to the iPad Mini 5 Wifi/Cellular models and opened the door for the Gotta Catch ‘Em All experience. Solving most of the issues above, I wanted a case that would protect from drops/water and would provide full coverage. There were several cases that promised protection, but I wanted a case that could act as a Catalyst for their newfound adventures.
The Catalyst Waterproof iPad Mini 5 case arrived in a 9 13/16 inches tall by 7 inches wide by 1 inch thick retail package. The cover panel of the grey/black box proved to be quite visually appealing. From the white logo across the top to the oblique 3 1/2 inches wide by 6 inches tall raised glossy image of the catalyst case, to the lower three descriptive icons, to the blue text accents, Catalyst strove to create an experience for the user. I appreciated the use of the contrasting white/blue font upon the black/grey background. This allowed the title and the 6.6 foot waterproof logo to appear to emanate from the panel. This facet was even more obvious when examining the lower three icons detailing the 6.6ft Waterproof 2 meter drop protection, the 360 degree total protection, and 4” drop proof 1.2 meter nature of the case. More than a still image, the midline raised picture captured the gut-wrenching moment of splashdown of our precious iPad Mini 5. For anyone who has lost a smartphone/tablet to death by water, the grey water droplets may induce flashbacks; for others, the case may provide a source of solace/protection. Lastly, if you look along the top left of the cover, you will get to visualize the case directly through a clear plastic window.
Rotating the packaging, the left side panel displayed a life size image of the volume +/- side of the Catalyst Case. At 0.71”/18mm” thick the rubberized side panel did not appear to add much bulk to the basic iPad Mini 5. The opposite side panel provided an octalingual choking hazard warning detailing that the product was not intended for children below the age of three, and listed the product contents (case, flat-pack stand, opening tool). The top panel had a plastic product hanging tab and the www.catalystcase.com website, whereas the bottom panel provided SKU stickers and some details about the 1 year limited warranty. The reverse panel provided an exploded/labeled diagram of the two-part waterproof, snow proof, 4 foot drop proof, dirt/sand proof, true sound acoustic, easy to install case. The image listed the internal waterproof seal, the integrated touchscreen film, the hard coated optical lens, acoustic membrane, soft rubberized grip, and the flat-pack stand. Similar to the side panel, the reverse panel provided the information in multi-lingual format. Lastly, along the bottom of the panel, you can expect to find the Catalyst Confidence logo, the Mil STD 810G Shock & Drop logo, and the IP-68 Waterproof Deep 6.6 Feet. Excitedly, I dove into the packaging.
I opened the tab along the bottom of the packaging and slid the black tray out of the main packaging. As promised by the packaging, I found the two part case, a removal tool and a white instruction manual. The cover of the manual provided the #CatalystCase, firstname.lastname@example.org email, @CatalystCase twitter, /CatalystCase FaceBook, @CatalystCase Instagram and www.catalystcase.com website information. The instruction manual may be a bit busy for some individuals, as it provides the information in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese’s, Traditional Chineses, and Simplified Chinese. Similar to the back of the packaging, the manual provided an exploded/labeled diagram of the iPad Mini 5 case. The next section warned about testing the device in water prior to adding your iPad to it because the user was ultimately responsible for their iPad. If you have never utilized a Catalyst Waterproof case, the instruction manual will walk you through the process. As an added test, I add toilet paper into the middle of the case to prove the seals work. For my test, I made sure that the rubberized perimeter bumpers were intact, I added the toilet paper to the internal section of the case, snapped the lower corners together and then pinched the edges together around the case. I filled my sink 80% full with water and pressed the case into the water. Due to the pocket of air, the case will float. I filled a large coffee cup with water and rested it upon the case. The manual recommended a 30 minute test but I perform an overnight test.
When I returned to the case in the am, I utilized the opening tool. I placed it into the lower right corner (my lower left) and twisted the key. With a satisfying crack, the two halves of the case started to separate. I walked the key along the edge and slowly lifted the top of the case away from the bottom section. Once fully removed, I was pleased to find dry toilet paper within the lower half of the case. With the waterproof testing completed, I was confident to insert my son’s iPad Mini 5. Before adding the iPad, make sure that you remove any screen protector form the iPad and cleanse the surface to remove any dirt/debris. For this step, I typically use WOOSH products. I again made sure that the rubber seals were properly seated, I placed the iPad Mini 5 into the lower half of the case, and made sure that the iPad was fully flush around the case. I then aligned the case front with the lower home button, pressed the lower left corner firmly and again heard the satisfying click. I walked my fingers around the entirety of the case, making sure that all snaps were engaged.
When combined, the case/iPad weighed a reasonable 18.09 ounces. The case covered the entirety of the iPad and still allowed access to the 3.5mm jack and lightning port via rubberized access ports. Improving on previous iterations of the case, neither the lower lightning port, nor the 3.5mm port required an adaptor/dongle. I was pleased to find that the lower lightning port accommodated every MFI lightning cable that I tried. The power button and the volume up/down buttons were fully accessible and had a reassuring/reactive click-feel. The home button/thumbprint analyzer were fully functional and easy to use. I thought that the speaker/sound membrane would muffle the sound a little, but I was pleasantly surprised that it did not detract from the overall experience. With the sound coming out of the posterior of the iPad, I found that resting the device on the floor was not ideal. Luckily, Catalyst included an easy-to-use foldable stand. My son loved this feature and watched YouTube, Movies Anywhere and did IXL math work with ease. The flat plastic stand was truly a gift, as it did not need to be included with this case. To utilize the feature, bend the stand in half and slide the locking piece into the upper slot. You can then fold up the small front retainer flap and then insert your iPad Mini 5 in horizontal or vertical mode.
We have utilized this case over the past 2 weeks and have enjoyed several Pokémon Go excursions. So far, we have have had at least 2 drops from roughly two feet of height. After each drop, I made sure that the edges remained attached. My son has read Eragon in the bathtub, and he has taken his iPad to school in his backpack. Safely nestled within the Catalyst case, I am confident that his device will remain safe. If the stealth black option is not your favorite, navigate to the Catalyst website and choose the Black/Red Option. Additionally, enjoy free standard shipping anywhere in the USA.