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Catalyst Waterproof Case for iPhone Review

I’m not going to make it a habit of reviewing tech related items on this site, BUT it’s an undeniable truth that smartphones have become an indispensable part of our Everyday Carry.  In addition to being a communication device, modern smartphones can reduce the need to carry a camera, watch, writing instrument, wallet, flashlight, compass, and more.  Most of us still carry some of those items because we don’t trust the battery life or a phone’s dependency on a cell tower to rely on them 100%, but the functionality is still there if we need it.  

I recently got the iPhone 6 and like other Apple products, its notoriously fragile.  Like all my other mobile devices, the minute it came out of the box, my iPhone went into the Catalyst Waterproof Case.

 

Catalyst Waterproof Case for iPhone 6

Catalyst Waterproof Case for iPhone 6

 

I picked the Catalyst because it is IP-68 rated.  What does that mean?  The IP or “Ingress Protection” code comes from IEC standard 60529, which is an approved American National Standard (ANSI) rating for “Degrees of Protection Provided by Enclosures”.  

The first number represents how well the material resists solid objects getting into the housing. That number runs from 0, indicating no protection, to 6, which keeps out even dust and fine particulates. Six is highest level, which means no dust can get inside the enclosure. It’s essentially dust proof.

The second number designates how well a device keeps water away from the vulnerable electronic components inside, running from 0 for no protection to 8, which means that the device can remain underwater at a depth of more than 1m for a period of time.  Both the depth and duration must be specified, which in the case of the Catalyst, is 5m (16.4′) for 1 Hour.  

Here is a chart with more detail on the various Ingress Ratings, courtesy of GCN.com, an excellent public sector IT site (if you like to geek out on technology).  

So, does the IP-68 rating mean that I would snorkel with my iPhone in the Catalyst?  There are videos out there of people doing that…

 

 

But, the reality is movement creates dynamic pressures that have a tendency to cause seals to fail at depth and with so many ports on a phone, one unseated gasket could doom the device. So, while I appreciate the Catalyst’s ability to ward off rain or even possibly an accidental drop into a shallow body of water (like a swimming pool), I’m not going to test fate by submerging it on purpose.  Your mileage may vary.

The Catalyst also meets the U.S. Military Standard (MIL-STD) 810 for shock and impact protection.  It can withstand a drop onto a hard surface from a height not to exceed 2m (6.6′). 

Installation with multi-piece cases can be a real pain but getting the Catalyst onto the iPhone was easy. It came in two pieces.

 

DSCN2021

 

I used some compressed air to make sure the case was clean out of the box.  Then I just laid the phone face down into the front piece ensuring that the ports we’re lined up.  The back piece then just snaps in.  It’s literally that easy. 

I like that, despite the protection it offers, the Catalyst Waterproof Case doesn’t add a lot of bulk to the iPhone 6’s slim profile.  Here is the case in Black and Space Gray.  

 

Catalyst Front View

 

The touchscreen, touch (finger print) ID, and camera all work perfectly.  

 

Catalyst Back View

 

The buttons work fine and all the ports are accessible.  You have to move a rubber piece out of the way, but the charger cable will plug into the phone with the case installed.  The headphone port was more problematic depending on the headset.  The included Apple ear buds plugged in fine but my Skull Candy headset wouldn’t fit without the purchase of an adapter from Catalyst.

If you have an active/outdoor lifestyle, then the Catalyst Waterproof Case should definitely be on your short list since it offers a great balance between aesthetics, functional ease of use, and protection.  It retails for $69.99 and can be purchased direct from Catalyst for various models of the iPhone and the iPhone Plus.   

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