Protect your iPhone from life’s hard knocks

As the quality of smartphones has increased, so too have the prices.  It is for this reason that many choose to use screen protectors and cases for their devices.  I have luckily broken only a single screen in the last 7 years, and quickly learned the importance of a good case and screen protection.  After testing hundreds of cases from numerous manufacturers, I continue to entrust the protection of my iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPad Pro, AirPods Pro, and Apple Watch Gen 6 unto a catalyst case.  Interestingly, I have relied upon catalyst gear for each of my iPhones since my first CES experience in 2016 with my iPhone 6s Plus.  After watching a CES drop test in 2019 my need for catalyst gear was solidified. 

Each September brings a double whammy.  First, I preorder the latest iPhone, and then I navigate to Catalyst to get their latest protective shell.  I continue to go back and forth between their Total Protection (Waterproof) case and their Vibe/Influence cases. Since the iPhone 13 Pro Max Total Protection case was not yet available, I chose the Vibe Case ( ) and added a tempered glass screen protector. The catalyst Tempered Glass arrived in a 3 3/4 inches wide by 7 3/8 inches tall by 1/16 inches thick hanging style package.  The catalyst name/logo was printed atop the blue section of the main cover. Beneath the blue hanging tab section, you will find an attractive image of an obliquely angled iPhone 2021 during a catalyst glass installation.  Beneath the image of the iPhone, you will find photo-quality images of a male bicyclist and a snorkel/mask adjacent to three bold features: Shatter and Scratch Resistant, Fingerprint-Free, 100% Compatible with Catalyst Waterproof and Drop Proof Cases.  Lastly, you will find an orange rectangle with “Tempered Glass,” the Active Defense Screen Protector name, and a “SEE HOW IT WORKS” QR code atop another blue section.  I appreciated the vibrant blue top/bottom cap sections, the orange color accents, and the subtle city map-scape background.  The cover successfully provided an instructional yet artistic flare. 

I turned to the back panel and found many similar features were utilized.  The blue-colored top hanging section provided the same orange accent, catalyst name, and Tempered Glass Screen Protector name.  The midsection provided four multilingual product-defining icons (Shatter and Scratch Resistant, Fingerprint-Free, Ultra-Thin Glass (0.32mm), Easy Installation) above another “How to Install” QR Code link.  Beneath the QR code, you will find a multi-lingual package contents section (screen protector, alcohol cleaning pad, dust removal sticker, microfiber cloth.  Lastly, you will find a few SKU barcodes.  I loved the clean white coloration, the orange accent features, and the blue-green accent sections. 

The front panel QR code linked to a ten-second YouTube installation video, a phone compatibility list (iPhone 2021 Catalyst Waterproof Case, Influence/Vibe Cases, Most other impact cases), and three product features (Easy to Install One-Touch Installation, Shatter Resistant/Scratch Resistant, Fingerprint Resistant Oleophobic Coating).  When I tapped the three horizontal bar icon along the top left of the panel, I was directed to the shopping page.  I was then able to navigate to Accessories, Screen Protectors, and was able to add the $39.99 Screen Protector to my cart.  For those who have not upgraded to the latest iPhone 13 device, do not fret.  You can also pick up screen protectors for the iPhone 8/8Plus, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone XS Max, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE 2nd Gen, iPhone 12/ 12 Pro/12 Pro Max, and the iPhone 12 Mini. The QR code on the rear panel linked to a “Return & Warranty Claim Form and a fill-in Warranty claim form. 

When I opened the packaging, I found the 0.2-ounce screen protector and a small black plastic bag with serrated edges.  For a moment, my childhood collector card nostalgia was rekindled upon feeling and opening the accessory bag.  Within the small envelope, you will find a wet wipe, a 3 1/8 inches wide by 2 1/4 inches tall microfiber cloth, and a sticker guides/dust absorber sticker.  With my Catalyst Vibe Case preinstalled, I wiped the screen with the microfiber cloth, then used small circular motions with the alcohol pad to cleanse the surface.  I washed my hands, dried them with a hand towel microfiber cloth, and allowed the screen to dry for about thirty seconds.  Throughout this process, I kept the screen facing toward the catalyst tempered glass packaging on my table.  I again utilized the microfiber cloth and wiped the screen/case border.  I turned the tempered glass upside down and pulled the “Please peel off this mark BEFORE application” sticker approximately 25% of the way from the glass.  I slid the top edge of the glass (with notch) against the catalyst case border, gripped the instructional sticker, and applied gentle pressure with my thumbs.  

The case installation may have been the easiest glass install that I have ever completed.  By using the catalyst case as the guide and by keeping the phone screen facing down, I had only a single bubble and no debris under the glass.  Additionally, by holding the sticky side of the glass down until the last minute, I found no lint attached to the sticker side of the glass.  I was able to remove the single bubble with a few scrapes of a credit card and then cleaned the entire case/screen with Woosh spray and a microfiber pad.  I was incredibly pleased with the easy installation process, with the finger-resistant surface, and with the sensitivity/touch-feel of the glass.  I removed a single corner of the case to show the thin nature of the tempered glass protection.  Honestly, if someone else had installed this before I received the phone, I would have thought that it was stock glass.  Excitedly, the catalyst tempered glass was just as responsive as my native phone screen.  

I was pleased with the packaging, with the glass, and with the accessory pouch.  Even though I did not need the stickers with this installation, I have needed them previously.  The precision-cut Catalyst Vibe case could not have been a better installation guide for the product.  Without specifically installing the glass with other cases, I cannot know if the experience would be repeatable.  I have used the glass over the past 1 week without any major spills or tumbles. Additionally, my six and two-year-old daughters have used my iPhone for a few Cocomelon videos. I was impressed with the fingerprint resistance and I was pleased to find no chips, no scrapes, or scuffs after a few short drops onto the table. Even though I typically keep my phone inside of a nite-ize holster, I have ventured out of my comfort zone to try to test the screen protector. I have placed it into my backpack pocket, I have placed it into my front pocket with Catalyst AirPods Pro, and have not had any issues with scuffs or with scrapes. The added physical layer performed admirably and lived up to my expectation.

When needed, I used the microfiber cloth to remove stray fingerprints from the glass. I enjoyed the compact nature of the microfiber cloth and hope that Catalyst may consider a microfiber pouch crux accessory in the future.  I have a similar device on my backpack zipper for similar lens/screen cleaning needs.  As the delay in iPhone 13 Pro Max 6.7” devices abates, I suspect the demand for cases/screen protectors to rise.  If you are looking for a case/screen protector solution, navigate to the Catalyst Website and consider picking up one of the stellar Catalyst Cases and a Tempered Glass Screen protector for your iPhone. 

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