Designed with Action and Adventure in mind.
As the price of an iPhone continues to creep upward, I remain shocked to see au natural iPhones in the wild. Perhaps people are a little more trusting, or danger-seeking than I am but I have four kids who are like little Tasmanian devils. I have seen too many accidental bumps, stumbles, twists, etc. to trust my phone to the horrors of luck. Depending on my activity or planned outing, I will often jump between a bumper style case and a more event-proof armor style case. For average to high impact/action activities and those not involving water, UAG has been a reliable option since the company was founded in 2013.
The Urban Armor Gear (UAG) Pathfinder case arrived in a classy 7 7/8 inches tall by 4 5/8 inches wide by 3/4 inches thick hanging retail package. Starting with the cover, you will find the UAG name across the top, a Drop Tested Mil-STD 810G-516.6 heptagon icon toward your left, and the Rugged Protection Pathfinder Series New iPhone 6.7″ 2020 logo along the bottom of the panel. The left and right panels used an attractive grey to white gradient and displayed UAG “Built to Go Further” on one side and Rugged, Lightweight Drop-Tested Protection on the other. Despite the aforementioned features, the packaging’s main focal point was the clear plastic window display of the sexy, sleek, white/black UAG Pathfinder Case. The back panel listed the same “Built To Go Further” motto as the side panel and listed information about the 1-year limited warranty, pending patents, an SKU sticker, and that the case was designed in California. Similar to the cover panel, the rear panel provided a showstopper piece. Along the top of the panel, you will find a 4 inches tall by 3 1/8 inches wide slightly raised, glossy image of the front/back of the case and three descriptors: Armor Shell, Soft Impact-Resistant Core, Feather-Light Composite Construction. Similar to my recent review of the UAG Monarch case, the Pathfinder setup proved to be quite appealing.
I placed my thumb into the small cutout along the bottom of the cover, lifted the clear plastic window, and removed the 1.76-ounce iPhone 12 Pro Max case from the clear plastic tray. Looking at the back of the case, it was hard to decide which feature was the most eye-catching. You will find a precision cut 1 3/8 inches wide by 1 3/4 inches tall camera cutout with raised black bezel along the top left. The color contrasted brilliantly with the clean white plastic backing of the phone case. Additionally, you will find five black screws and the UAG acronym etched into the white plastic. I loved the angles along with the corners and the sharp cutoff between the black rubberized material and the plastic white TPU material. The 3 1/2 inches wide by 6 1/2 inches tall case had slightly extended flattened corners creating an octagonal shape. The bottom edge had a centrally located 1/2 inches wide by 1/4 inches tall lightning port cutout and a 3/8 inches wide by 1/8 inches tall left speaker plus a 1/2 inches wide by 1/8 inches tall right speaker. You will find a 1/2 inches wide by 3/16 inches tall volume toggle cutout and dual 1/2 inches wide by 1/8 inches tall volume up/down buttons along the right side of the case. Similar to my review of the Monarch case, the buttons had a silicone/rubberized feel. Before installing the case, I was concerned that these buttons would feel a bit muddy. Luckily, the volume up/down buttons on the right and the 7/8 inches wide by 1/8 inches tall power button proved to markedly more responsive than I had initially thought.
I loved the aesthetics of the Pathfinder case and the play of the light white and dark black color scheme. You will find a 2 1/2 inches long section of white plastic with four raised ridges just inferior to the volume buttons. Similarly, you will find a 2 9/16 inches long section on the opposite side. The raised ridges, combined with the expanded corners, added a significant grip-feel upgrade to a flat surface. Looking into the case’s inner surface, you will find raised black hexagonal air cushions and several cutouts that should enhance cooling. To install the case, I slid the volume toggle edge of my iPhone 12 Pro Max into the case and walked my thumbs around the top, power side, and bottom of the case. The phone slid into the case perfectly and snapped into place. The volume toggle was easy to access, unlike other cases with smaller cutouts. I wouldn’t say I liked it as much as the volume toggle wheel found on several Catalyst cases, but it has been the best example of a mute toggle cutout that I have found. The volume up and down buttons and the power button, as noted previously, exceeded my expectation and worked flawlessly. The lower lightning port was easily accessible and provided more than adequate space to accommodate every lighting cable that I tried. The camera cutout with raised bezel did a great job keeping the camera away from my Nite Ize hip holster and the table when lying flat. Lastly, the raised front bezel allowed me to place the phone face down without the screen touching the surface.
Inexpensive at under $40, the UAG tacticool Pathfinder case should be a no-brainer. If white is not your desired color, you can also pick one up in attractive orange color, mallard (blue), silver, olive, or black. If I were to rate the colors, I think my favorites would be white, orange, mallard, olive, silver, black. The black case appeared too subdued and lost the contrasting edge/back plastic look. The other colors looked quite visually appealing in their own ways. I did not mean to test the case’s drop rating, but my 23-month-old daughter swiped my phone off of my kitchen table. The phone landed flat on the screen on my hardwood floor and survived sans damage or scratch. Despite my sudden gasp, I was pleased to find that the case lived up to the “tough design and a striking one of a kind look.” Before you worry that this case precludes the use of wireless charging, let me allay your fears. The raised plastic backing was not too thick to allow charging via that method and should allow you to charge wirelessly if desired. The case definitely provided the necessary “protection with none of the bulk.”