Catalyst will allow you to enjoy a fully protected iPhone X wherever life takes you.
One of my favorite parables from the Bible is the story of the Prodigal Son. If you are not aware of the story, a son demands his inheritance and goes off on his own adventure, thinking he knew more than the sage advice of the wisened, loving, father. The son learned quickly that life was not the way that he had seen/understood it, he lost everything and shamefully/brokenly returned home. This was not meant to be a “HAHA I TOLD YOU SO MOMENT.” The son returned home to a humble, loving, accepting, forgiving, arms-open-wide father. Sometimes lessons in life must be learned, and sometimes we must take our lumps, eat our humble pie and must admit “I was wrong.” It may seem like a far stretch, but my saga with phone cases seems to fit this story very well. I have tried dozens of cases, a variety of styles and I seem to find my way back into a Catalyst Case. Is this pure coincidence, bias, or brand loyalty? I have asked myself these same questions. However, the data speak for themselves. Combining amazing packaging with a beautiful, high-quality, durable, lightweight, drop-proof, iPX68 waterproof case, Catalyst remains my just-right Goldilocks case.
Winner of the IF Design award for 2018, Catalyst provides more than just a phone case and a pretty packaging, they provide an ambiance. The outer packaging artistically portrayed the gut-wrenching feeling of dropping our expensive smart devices. Even if you have not dropped your phone, you know someone who has, and the feeling is nausea provoking. The retail packaging measures 4 1/4 inches wide by 7 inches tall by 1 inches thick. Upon the cover, you will see a lifelike slightly raised image of an encased iPhone X displaying a vivid surfing experience. At first glance, you may not think anything of the image, but if you glance towards the top of the image and along the edges of the phone case, the phone has splashed down into the water. The image amazingly captured that initial drop and the realization of loss, without a barrage of text. Do not worry long, however, as Catalyst provided anti-anxiety information around the image. In large bold white lettering and a look-at-me sea-blue colored rectangle, we discover that the case is waterproof down to 33 feet/10 meters. Below the cover image, we are also granted the knowledge of a conveniently included wrist lanyard, 360-degree phone protection and amazingly, a drop proof rating of 6.6 feet, 2 meters.
Flipping the box over, you will see that the attention to detail extended beyond the cover. Another realistic protective image was provided in the middle. The highly durable, Mil-STD 810G can withstand a 6.6-foot drop but is thin enough to allow wireless charging through the case and quality True sound acoustics. The left side of the packaging provided a real-sized raised image of the side of the case and showed the 0.46 inches thick (11.7mm) case. The opposing side panel provided information about the lanyard and the ability to fit most charging cables (11.5mm x 6mm). The front magnetic cover easily lifted away from the retail box and successfully sold the case. The inner face of the magnetic flap provided an exploded diagram of the case and the product features. The outer soft rubber grip provides friction in hand to reduce drops. The durable outer shell combines an acoustic membrane for sound to get out but prevents water from getting in. Your camera is protected by a hard coated optical lens to protect your camera but allow unrestricted photo/image taking. With full 360-degree protection, you gain a lower waterproof seal and an integrated touchscreen film. Lastly, if you do not believe that you can have an attractive, durable case with the above features, look through the clear window to the right and see it for yourself.
I loved that the installation process was not complicated and did not require any tools. I removed my iPhone X from the previously tested Speck Presidio Ultra case, an unsealed system, and noted numerous fingerprints, lint, and debris. I decided to utilize my Whoosh screen cleaner to clean my phone before reinstallation inside of the Catalyst case. Before you trust the waterproof case with your phone, it is recommended to have a dry run with just the case. The two halves of the case were shipped unconnected and easily snapped together. To better evaluate the waterproof status, I added a single square of Charmin Ultra into the case before connecting the two halves. I placed the Catalyst case into my sink, filled the sink with water and then rested a coffee mug atop the case to keep it submerged. As I found with every other Catalyst device, there were no issues. To remove the case, insert a quarter into the bottom tap and pry the edge up. I have tried a butter knife and I would recommend against that as it could scratch the case (not wide enough). When putting your phone into the case, insert the bottom first and then push the upper part of the phone into the case. Once the phone is inserted into the front case, you can easily snap the back onto the front. Pinch around the edges of the phone and make sure that the O ring fits appropriately.
To remain on my phone, a case must do more than just deflect blows. I want full access to buttons/ports, full sound, unhindered pictures/videos in addition to drop protection and ingress protection. The Catalyst system provides these features in their iPhone X waterproof case. Along the top right of the phone case, you will find the mute toggle and volume up/down buttons. Along the bottom of the case you will find the rubberized charging port plug, and along the left side of the case, you will find the power on/off button. The front and back of the case were made of a clear thin plastic panel and provided a great deal of protection for the screen. The case and phone weighed a respectable 7.9 ounces and measured 6 1/8 inches tall by 3 1/4 inches wide by 1/2 inches thick (box said 0.46 inches). If desired, you can attach the included eight-inch wrist lanyard to the bottom left of the case. Whether you are running, skating, surfing, etc., you can use the wrist strap to reduce drops. For even more environmental protection, you can combine the phone case with the Catalyst Floating lanyard accessory. I only wished that there was a belt holster for the iPhone X, like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus cases.
The screen was incredibly responsive and had a smooth texture. I found multi-touch to work just as well with the thin screen as it did with the native iPhone screen. My only complaint was a dingy/odd look to iMessages and web pages with white backgrounds. Personally, this reminded me of looking through the glass at an aquarium and being able to see the thick plate glass. This glistening quality was not present when the color was dark or flat black. This also did not cause any noticeable effect on movies/videos as the image changed quickly enough. The sound output was fantastic, and I experienced no problems with phone calls or with the speakerphone. The clear backing and cover will scuff relatively easily but remember that this means your phone was not damaged. I wish that the plastic volume/power buttons stuck out just a little further. For people with bigger thumbs, it may prove difficult to control the phone. The mute toggle was responsive and added to the overall feel of the case. I would rate the overall experience at 4-4.5/5 stars. I liked the holster from Speck Presidio Unlimited as the belt loop doubled as a stand. I was able to replace this feature by pairing the Catalyst case with a Niteize QuickStand. I also have ordered a Niteize Sideways Universal XXL case as my BOMEA universal case was a little too small for my iPhone X inside of the case. I certainly hope that Catalyst decides to make a holster for their amazing smartphone case.