Review: Catalyst Protective & Waterproof Cases for iPhone 11 & 11 Pro

I always keep my iPhones in a case, and I've never broken a phone. And increasingly, the case I use comes from Catalyst. At this year's CES, Catalyst gave me an Impact Protection Case ($39.99) to try with my iPhone 11. In the past, I've alternated between the case company's waterproof versions and its regular ones, and they all have the same rigid perimeter that protects all along the edges, including where the Lightning port and speakers are. In addition, the new Impact case has a wide opening for the different cameras and flash in the latest iPhone 11 series. The Catalyst Waterproof Case for iPhone 11 ($89.99) adds a hard-coated optical lens so you can take underwater photos and videos while still having protection!

Related: Buyer's Guide: Best iPhone Cases of the Year

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Catalyst

Catalyst sells the cases in several color schemes; but all of them sport a transparent back, which allows your iPhone's color to shine through and can help with identification when your family has multiple iPhones but in different colors. It also enables you to see and line up the Apple logo for wireless charging. 

One of my favorite features of these Catalyst cases is the mute switch design. The designers have created a rotating knob that toggles the iPhone's mute switch on or off. I prefer that mechanism as I tend to have short fingernails, and operating the switch isn't always easy with a traditional case.

Catalyst

Catalyst also includes an optional wrist lanyard for both the Impact and waterproof models. After all, the best way to protect your phone from drops is not to drop it at all. But if you do lose your grip on your iPhone, the Impact case can protect it from falls of up to 9.9 feet. The waterproof model is rated at 6.6 feet, but also has 33 feet of waterproof protection. That's much more protection than Apple promises for a naked iPhone, so if you want to snorkel or enjoy other underwater activities, you should be safe with the Catalyst waterproof case.

Pros

  • Rigid perimeter
  • Clear back
  • Clever Mute Switch mechanism
  • Includes optional wrist lanyard
  • 9.9 feet of drop protection

Cons

  • Buying the waterproof version adds $50 to the price.

Final Verdict

The Impact Protection Case from Catalyst has several enhancements that I wish Apple would consider for its cases, such as a rotating mute switch and an optional lanyard.

4.5 stars out of 5

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.