Griffin has brought its expanded Survivor line to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, though a few of the names have changed again. The company’s classic, multi-layer Survivor case is now called Survivor All-Terrain ($50 for iPhone 6, $60 for iPhone 6 Plus). The ultra-protective case houses an iPhone inside its polycarbonate shell, then surrounds it with a soft silicone outer layer. Screen and Touch ID protection is also built in, and the bottom ports and sleep/wake button are all covered as well. An adjustable belt clip is also included. Survivor Core ($30) was previously known as Survivor Clear — it’s a plastic shell with built-in rubber bumper, though that bumper is more substantial than what’s found in the company’s less expensive Reveal case. Survivor Slim ($40 for iPhone 6, $45 for iPhone 6 Plus) has kept its name, however, the partial polycarbonate shell with an outer silicone layer is only “slim” when compared to the All-Terrain model. Slim also comes with screen film and a cleaning cloth. Griffin claims all of these cases can protect an iPhone from up to a 6.6-foot (2-meter) drop onto concrete.
Survivor All-Terrain is a seriously protective case for both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, using six clips to attach the front of a hard plastic box to the back, then wrapping rubber around the front edges, sides, and back for reinforcement. The case offers complete coverage of the entire device, save for a small hole for the microphone at the bottom of the phone — a speakerphone test found no significant difference between the iPhone within or outside the case.
Despite the bulkiness, we had no issue using the phone’s buttons, though the iPhone 6 Plus version makes the phone large enough that some users might have problems holding it, and further problems pocketing it—like the 6 Plus itself, this will vary from person to person. Griffin claims the three layers protect from drops, rain, and dust, though the case is not claimed to be water-submersible. Apart from the size, the only universal issue with the case is not insignificant — it’s very hard to get back on properly once removed, as the soft silicone isn’t easy to properly position to secure all six clips.
Survivor Core is rather thin and light for a case with the Survivor name. As seen in its previous incarnation as Survivor Clear, it’s basically a more protective version of Griffin’s own Reveal — a clear plastic back with a rubber bumper. Here, though, the bumper has more bulk, with added shock-resistant corners. Core will also stand up to drops more than twice as high as Reveal, which will be useful for clumsier users and parents with small children. The sleep/wake button and volume controls are covered, with the rest of the ports exposed, albeit with precise cutouts.
Survivor Slim is also back again. Despite its name, there’s nothing particularly svelte about the case’s outer silicone layer, which wraps around a polycarbonate shell housing the device, including the top of the front and bottom. Cutouts expose the FaceTime camera, ear speaker, proximity sensor, and Touch ID button. Included screen film offers protection for the front of the device. While the other buttons work well, and the bottom port cutouts are fine, it’s no joy digging into the shell to access the exposed ringer switch.
Overall, Survivor All-Terrain is a very good protective case for a good price, coming in at $10 cheaper than Otterbox’s comparable Defender, while offering more overall coverage. However, getting the case’s parts to come together securely is often an exercise in frustration, an issue that limits Survivor All-Terrain to a still-impressive strong general recommendation. This won’t be much of an issue if you never plan on taking the phone out of its case, but if you only use a heavily-protective case during certain times, you may quickly tire of grappling with the thing. Also, the iPhone 6 Plus version of the case is bulky enough that we found it somewhat uncomfortable to hold, though that will likely be an issue for many larger, protective cases. It’s what you give up in exchange for extra protection of such a large device.
Survivor Core also earns our strong general recommendation. Though it can be seen as a slightly bulkier Reveal (review), it still manages to keep a slim profile and adds a fair amount of drop protection — it’ll be worth the extra $10 to some users, and merits a B+ rating. Last but not least, Survivor Slim is kind of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, and while it’s a pretty good case, it also looks a bit goofy in the white/blue color scheme. Consider the jet black version, if you’re thinking of buying it. Slim earns our flat B rating and general recommendation.
Survivor All-Terrain and Survivor Core
Company and Price
Company: Griffin Technology
Compatible: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus