Adventure-Proof Your iPhone with Catalyst's New Touch ID Compatible, Waterproof Case

I've consistently been impressed with Catalyst iPhone cases, ever since their first iteration of waterproof protective cases for the iPhone 4. Each version of the Catalyst protective case has gotten better, with marked improvements over the previous model. The Catalyst + Survivor case saw the company team up with Griffin to provide not only some of the best extreme-duty iPhone protection on the market, but also one of the most affordable, premium rugged cases available. Now with the new Catalyst case for the iPhone 5/5S with Touch ID ($64.99), the company has upped the ante and introduced their latest model of iPhone cases. How does this case compare to its predecessors, and to the other high-level protective cases that are also available? Read on after the break to find out!

The new catalyst iPhone case is, as they say, the complete package. It comes in a variety if colors to suit anyone's tastes, with numerous accessories that enable you to attach your Catalyst encased iPhone to everything from bike handlebars to car dashboards to your own wrist.

In terms of protection, the new Catlayst case surpasses the rigorous military standards, with shock protection against drops of up to 6 feet and waterproof protection down to a remarkable 16 feet. Compared to the Otterbox Preserver or the Lifeproof nüüd or frē models, which only offer waterproof protection down to 6 feet, the Catalyst would be my top pick of full-time use cases in any situation where dependable waterproofness is called for.


I've written reviews of each version of the Catalyst iPhone cases, and no company has taken my suggestions to heart more than Catalyst. Their newest iPhone case not only incorporates Touch ID compatibility, it also introduces a grippier texture into its shell, preventing any tendency to slip out of your hand that was a problem for the Survivor + Catalyst model. The newest model also features improved port cover mechanics. In the previous versions of the Catalyst case, they either had no access to the charging port, or they provided access to the port, but featured a latch closure that was prone to developing cracks with extended use. In this latest version of the Catalyst iPhone case, they have done away with the latch cover and introduced a silicone flap that when closed, seals the headphone and charging ports in an extremely secure fashion that allows the Catalyst to travel to over twice the depth of its closest competition. If you've got any snorkeling or water sports planned for your summer adventures, this would be the case I'd recommend, for both its versatility and durability.


Some of the things I look at when reviewing a case include how well it caters to the needs of its targeted demographic. This case gets an exceptional rating when it comes to meeting the needs of the adventurous, outdoorsy type. It's also worth noting however, that the Catalyst case is extremely low profile and streamlined, making it an excellent option for just about anyone who has a tendency to drop their iPhone or anyone who is around water a lot, like parents of babies and toddlers, or even just folks who love to luxuriate in the bath tub while browsing their iPhone.


  • One of the best alternatives when it comes to rugged iphone 5/5s protection with a svelte, form-fitting design.

  • New, textured exterior sides of this case give extremely reliable grip when wet.

  • Low-profile and relatively discreet design doesn't take away from the elegant beauty of the iPhone.

  • Phone calls sound great. typically when using a waterproof case, it's not uncommon for me to observe some level of sound quality degradation. This new Catalyst case allows for some of the best audio quality of any case in this category.

  • Great price! For a high-quality case which compares favorably with some of other the top rugged case options currently on the market, the Catalyst is a great deal at only $64.99.

  • Offers a wide variety of mounting accessories (including bike mounts, car mounts, and a floating wrist strap) so that you truly can take your Catalyst encased iPhone with you wherever you roam.



  • The Catalyst case does not include a headphone jack adaptor or a wrist strap lanyard. The previous versions of the Catalyst case included a wrist strap, so I'm not sure why this latest iteration includes a wrist strap attachment point but no wrist strap, as a wrist strap certainly comes in handy. And since the case's headphone access port is rather small and only able to accommodate jacks approximately the size of Apple's Ear Pods, an included headphone jack adaptor would also be extremely useful for anyone wishing to use headphones for music of phone calls.

  • While the silicone flap that folds down to seal the headphone and a lightning adapter ports seems durable enough (I preferred it to the previous version Catalyst waterproof case that had a hard and easy-to-crack plastic latch), if Catalyst had utilized a slightly denser and thicker rubber material (instead of its somewhat flimsy flap) to cover these important ports, I'd expect this case would have greater longevity as a result.


The newest waterproof iPhone 5/5s case from Catalyst is an awesome protective case, one that provides a higher level of waterproof protection than most of its closest competition. Add in its impressive shock protection and great acoustics, and this becomes one of my favorite extreme-duty protective cases that money can buy. 

iPhone Life Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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Author Details

Dig Om's picture

Author Details

Dig Om

As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech