We’ve been pretty impressed with Catalyst’s cases for prior iPhone models and the iPad mini, which provide waterproof and drop protection at a pretty reasonable price. So we were quite pleased to see that Catalyst has continued the trend with the Catalyst Case for iPhone 7 ($80) and Catalyst Case for iPhone 7 Plus ($90). Both cases offer the kind of waterproof protection that Catalyst is known for, extending it to greater depths; although it’s only rated IP68, since that’s as high as the scale goes, Catalyst actually certifies it well beyond that standard for submersion in up to 33 feet (10m) of water — well beyond the iPhone 7’s own base IP67 rating.
The cases also feature MIL STD 810G protection, which means it will handle drops and shocks from up to 6.6 feet (2m), but the soft-touch rubber sides mean you’re also less likely to drop it in the first place. Since it’s waterproof, of course your iPhone is also fully sealed against other elements such as dust, dirt, and show, and the camera lens cover is flush with the edge of the case to avoid trapping materials such as dirt that would get in the way of taking photos. Naturally, there’s full button coverage here, and the silent/ringer switch is controlled by a rotating crown dial, which we thought was a nice touch that makes it much easier to activate the switch in the kind of outdoor conditions where you’ll likely be using the case.
The transparent back also means that you don’t have to worry about hiding the look of your gold or (PRODUCT)RED iPhone, and the front screen protector and Touch ID button cover are surprisingly responsive — we had no problems using the iPhone within the case, and were it not for the slight tactile difference of the screen protector material, we could have easily forgotten that we were even using one in the first place. A wrist lanyard is included that can be attached to the case for extra security, and Catalyst sells an optional floating lanyard that could be handy for users who are more involved in water sports. Despite the sealed case, Catalyst has done its usual great job here of passing through audio, both from the speakers and the microphone — we really couldn’t notice any significant difference in audio quality or volume with the iPhone in the case. Of course, since these are iPhone 7 series cases, the only port that needs to be passed through is the Lightning port, which is sealed with a rubber plug when not in use, and while you won’t be using this with any kind of dock, most after-market charging cables will fit through the case without any trouble — we couldn’t find one in our collection that wouldn’t.