Proudly display your new iPhone XS Max in the clear protective Griffin Survivor Strong phone case.

We must decide if the goal of a phone case is to look tacticool or to protect our phone.  Similar to the Holy Grail, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we often overlook simplistic beauty for the flashy and sometimes gaudy.  Why does a cup have to be bedazzled to hold water?  To continue the analogy, Griffin channeled their inner Indiana Jones and chose “wisely.”  The Survivor Strong iPhone XS Max case (iPhone 6.5” 2018) arrived in a 4 11/16 inches wide by 8 inches tall by 7/8 inches thick retail package.  The attractive cover provided a vivid, 5 1/2 inches tall by 2 1/8 inches thick image of the thin plastic case, with SURVIVOR stenciled across the bottom.  If you look toward your right, the company provided information about the 7 Ft/2.1 M drop protection, multi-layered shell, and slim design.  Listed on both the left and right side panels, you can see “Survivor Strong” stenciled in black and orange-red coloration.  The bottom panel provided the necessary legalese small-print, while the top panel displayed an orange hanging hook.  The reverse panel proved to be incredibly educational, with multi-lingual, labeled, drawings of the left, right, front, and back panels of the phone case.  The easy-to-install case promised protection for a 7 foot (2.1meter) drop and was designed to meet military-grade protective standards.  Additionally, the packaging relayed information about the non-slip grip, impact resistant lining, slim low-profile design, and wireless compatibility.  If you grip the left edge of the cover (toward your right), you can open the front flap and directly visualize the case.  I am a huge fan of this form of product display, as the product provides markedly more pizazz than a representative image.  The open-window approach allowed me to understand the product, to feel the non-slip grip, to see the clear case, and to understand why the case was part of the Survivor Strong brand. 

The inner panel provided a bit more information about the protective qualities of this case.  For example, the case was drop tested on concrete, had a 1-year warranty, and employed a shock distributing dual-layer protection.  Excitedly, I reached into the open window to attempt to remove the phone case.  Despite my initial attempts, I could not remove the case without first opening the box.  To remove the case, I cut the tape along the bottom panel and slid out the 4 1/2 inches wide by 8 inches tall clear plastic tray.  I removed the cardboard “GRIFFIN” informational spacer and placed the volume toggle side of my iPhone XS Max into the case.  The clear plastic shell wrapped around my phone and reminded me of a display case around a prized baseball.  The well-placed cutouts for the volume toggle, lightning port (7/16 inches wide by 3/16 inches tall), speakers and camera provided ample protection for the phone but at a cost.  I found it a little difficult to access the volume toggle because of the narrow opening and the recessed switch.  I believe that this case would have benefited from a toggle switch similar to that on the Catalyst Impact case.  Despite this complaint, I welcomed the extension of the rim above the phone screen.  Thanks to this feature, the case provided protection from glancing blows.  Combine the case with a glass screen protector and you have a lightweight, fully protective shell.  I liked the black rim surrounding the camera and that the camera was somewhat recessed.  The soft rubberized volume up, volume down and power buttons were responsive and comfortable. 

The visual appeal of a case may draw your eye but may not be the best case available.  There were many features of this case that were both visually and physically appealing.  The square lightning port accommodated round and square shaped lightning cables, but may cause some issue with shorter cables/docking stations because of the extension.  The side panels provided a nice gripping surface and the thin translucent rear panel allowed the Apple beauty to shine through.  I did not understand the four hexagonal shapes that were slightly raised along each corner.  Extending from the sides of each of the hexagon shapes, you will find a wavy lined feature that broke up the pristine clear surface.  Honestly, this artistic feature caused the case to look chipped/broken.  Since they were not raised or recessed, they did not seem to provide any additional function to this case.  Overall, I loved the feel, I loved the grip and the simple elegance of the minimalistic 2.2-ounce case.  

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