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Catalyst Waterproof Case for iPad Mini 4 Review
      #49615 - 08/04/16 04:15 PM

The Catalyst case for iPad Mini 4 is the latest entry into the waterproof case market for iDevices, and it can easily go toe-to-toe with the more established brands. Featuring an IP68 waterproof rating and a drop rating of MIL-STD 810G, the Catalyst meets the standards for the category, but how does it set itself apart in a crowded field? As with most competitive markets, it comes down to the little things.




First, however, I'd like to talk about the certified ratings. The Catalyst comes with an industry standard waterproof rating of IP68 (among waterproof cases). This means you can safely expose it to moderate splashing and water jets, and it would likely survive a short time in 6 ft. of water. Scuba diving, snorkeling, or even swimming in shallow water could overwhelm its waterproof seals due to the amount of pressure that is created not only by depth, but by forceful movement through the water column. This warning is not directed solely to the Catalyst. Any case with a similar rating would be subject to the same restrictions. Regarding the drop rating: the Catalyst has been given a drop rating of MIL-STD 810G by the manufacturer. There are a number of ways that this certification can be interpreted, and Catalyst has determined that providing protection from 4 ft. drops meets the requirements.



As I alluded earlier, the Catalyst engineers have clearly made an effort to set their product apart. First, the polycarbonate shell is covered with a soft, rubbery coating that makes it easier to hold onto, hides scratches, and just plain feels great. Second, the internals of the case redirect sound from the speakers out the back of the case through a set of two speaker grills. These areas are still fully waterproof, but the openings in the case allow sound to more easily pass through the thin waterproof film. Although my tests are far from conclusive, I found the Catalyst to be the best sounding waterproof case available for iPad. Third, the case feels heavy-duty, thanks to its over-engineered design. The downside of this is the fact that it will almost exactly triple the thickness of your device. Lastly, the Catalyst comes with a screen cover. Perceptive readers will have noticed that I included this screen cover as both a "plus" and a "minus" in the ratings. That is because you either love screen covers or you hate them. Don't know which one you are? Read on...



On the one hand, cases without a screen protector allow direct access to your device, which is my preference, by the way. In my experience, a screen cover always leaves a small space between itself and your screen, which reduces responsiveness. For this reason, I have never been able to make cases with screen covers my everyday case. On the other hand, some people aren't comfortable with taking their iPhones into watery environments without a screen cover. Although glass is quite waterproof, cracks or even deep scratches can compromise a device's ability to prevent water ingress. In fact, even with a healthy screen, I must admit that it takes quite a bit of nerve to casually expose your uncovered device to significant amounts of water. Additionally, some also like the extra physical protection that a screen cover provides (e.g. they'd rather scratch a screen cover than their device).



Summary
The Catalyst is an excellent waterproof case for those that prefer products with integrated screen covers. Featuring IP68 waterproof protection and MIL-STD 810G drop protection, the Catalyst meets the specs of the more recognizable brands. While it may seem that it struggles to find features that set it apart, I found that the rubbery coating was a big enough improvement to convince me to make it the go-to waterproof case for my iPad Mini 4. Although the screen cover prevents me from making it a daily-use case.

Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Waterproof rating of IP68 (2 meters). Drop test rating of MIL STD 810G (4 Ft.). Integrated screen cover. TouchID compatible. "soft-touch" coating makes it easy to grip.
What's Not: S Integrated screen cover. Triples the thickness of your installed device.
Price: $89.99
Website: Catalyst

Reviewed by: Tom Slayton

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Check out our iPhone Case, bag, battery and keyboard Reviews at:
http://www.mobiletechreview.com/iPhone-Case-Reviews.htm

Check out our iPad Case, bag, battery and keyboard Reviews at:
http://www.mobiletechreview.com/iPad-Case-Reviews.htm

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