Catalyst is a sleek thin case that barely hides the design of the iPhone 6, considering how protective the case is. It is drop proof to 2 meters (6.6 feet), water proof to 5 meters (16.4 feet), dirt proof, snow proof and works with Touch ID.
The case is clear so you can actually see the color of the phone. It does have a screen protector built into the case, which does not affect using the touchscreen on the iPhone. The Home Button is covered with a very thin membrane to allow Touch ID to work, and it worked just like it normally does without the case on. The Catalyst encloses the phone and fits it like a glove, especially since it is curved like the phone. The case is really light weight at 44g (1.55 oz). It’s slim being 11.4 mm thick and it is not much bulkier than my non-waterproof case. Putting the case on was simple and easy to do, and just required snapping the back on. Taking the case off does require a little more work inserting a coin (nickels work great) in the back to pry it apart.
The front of the case is made of rigid plastic, which wraps around the phone like a bumper case would. It is raised nicely so the screen doesn’t directly touch the surface of tables. There are rubber buttons that cover the volume buttons and power button, which keeps them protected and does not make it impossible to use.
With my iPhone 4S, I did have it in a LifeProof case. Even though I was a huge fan of the case, simply due to how well it protected my phone, my biggest complaint about it was I never knew if I had the volume on or off since the case made it impossible for me to use the mute switch. I relied on Assistive Touch to do that for me. However, that is not the case with the Catalyst. The Catalyst does not use a switch to control the on/off mute, rather they use a dial. Turning the dial towards you, silences the phone and turning the dial away from you puts the volume on. When using the dial I like to think that it is giving me a lot of practice for using the Digital Crown on the Watch.
On the bottom of the case, there is a silicone flap that covers the ports for both the headphone jack and lightning cord. This part took me a while to get used to, as I was used to the latch cover the LifeProof offers. Initially, charging my phone with the Catalyst on made me nervous, because I was afraid that I would pull the silicone flap all the way off and loose it. Needless to say, I have not done that and did get over my fear of loosing the flap. The Catalyst does not come with an extra silicone flap and they do not sell them on their website.
The case allowed for most lightning cords, however it did not work with the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter. I did not need to use a headphone jack adapter for plugging in any of my headphones (shown below EarPods and Klipsh Rugged S4i) or auxiliary cable for my car. The case does not come with a headphone jack adapter and Catalyst does have one available for $14.99. However, if you are converting over from LifeProof, the headphone jack adapter that comes with their cases does work with the Catalyst, you just have to really push it in.
The microphone is exposed, even though it is protected by the silicone flap, having holes in it to allow the sound to come through. The microphone is still usable and people are able to hear you on phone calls. Even though the speaker is covered, sound quality is slightly compromised compared to a naked iPhone.
At home, at the gym or out and about I dropped my phone on hardwood and concrete from waist high accidentally and incidentally and my phone didn’t see a scratch. The case does come with a lanyard, and attaches through a loop on the lower right hand corner of the case. Using the lanyard, reminded me of using my digital camera before I had the iPhone. The lanyard also gave me a sense of security because while I was skiing or swimming, I liked the reassurance that I was not going to drop and loose my phone. Also, I liked being able to have my phone dangle off my wrist, while my hands were full.
I did test the waterproofness of the case. I placed it in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes and it ran perfectly fine in the water. I was able to take pictures inside the bowl and read the latest articles on 9to5mac. It is snow proof too.
I am now using the Catalyst as my primary case and love the type of protection it offers for my lifestyle. I love being able to see the color of my phone, and having it hang on my wrist like a wristlet. In terms of finding a case that offers this type of protection, this is one of the more affordable ones. It is $69.99 and is available in Black and Space Gray, Rescue Ranger (black with orange accents) and Marsala (white and magenta). You can preorder it in White and Mist Gray, and Green Pop, which are expected to ship by the end of March.
Catalyst, a lifestyle accessories company did get their start on Kickstarter in 2011 and was successfully funded. No matter how active your lifestyle is, Catalyst designs products that will protect iOS devices. Catalyst also makes waterproof sleeves for the iPads and laptops.