By Dig Om on Fri, 10/05/2012
Look out, there's a new contender for title of Best Rugged iPhone Case.
I first wrote about the TAKTIK case a few months ago when it was still gestating in Kickstarter phase. Well, the TAKTIK is finally available to purchase, and wow, is it ever a great case! Indeed, the TAKTIK is one of the best rugged iPhone cases you will find!
The TAKTIK extremely rugged case for the iPhone by LUNATIK is one of the best heavy-duty cases for the iPhone available. Perhaps one of its most unique and outstanding features is the option to have a super-thin, genuine Gorilla Glass screen protector pre-installed. There's no shortage of rugged-protection iPhone cases on the market that come equipped with an integrated, plastic screen protector, but I have to say, offering this case with a Gorilla Glass screen protector is pure genius. Never before has any protective case included such an option and what a welcome innovation it is!
For the first time ever, interacting with the iPhone's touchscreen feels like it was intended to feel like: with the clear, crisp tactile sensation and responsiveness of the wafer thin and ultra-strong Gorilla Glass, the very same kind of glass Apple using in the manufacturing of their iPhone. The fact that this is possible without adding any significant bulkiness to the iPhone is incredible. In fact, if there's been one thing that I have repeatedly identified as the Achilles’ Heel of most all “rugged” cases; it’s the plastic screen protector that either comes pre-installed with the case, or as an included adhesive PET (a strong and durable plastic) screen cover that users can place over their touchscreens.
While I will allow that the plastic screen protectors do provide some small measure of protection against inadvertent scratches, even providing a some extra protection from abrupt shocks, there is simply no way that a piece of paper thin plastic can compare with Corning’s specially designed Gorilla Glass when it comes to serious additional protection of the iPhone’s touchscreen. Having damaged enough plastic touchscreen covers during my testing over the years, I know that of what I speak. We are talking about rugged cases here, after all. Cases that are theoretically designed to withstand higher levels of abuse than your average protective case, not to mention, the plastic screen covers in my experience, tend to get scuffed and hazy looking within a few months useage, whereas we know how well Gorilla Glass holds it's shine.
With your touchscreen as protected as it can be thanks to the TAKTIK's Gorilla Glass, let's turn our attention to some of the other great features of the TAKTIK case. The TAKTIK case consists of a durable, shock-absorbent, dense silicone inner layer, encased within a tough, shatterproof polycarbonate or custom alloy external shell. While this description may sound pretty typical for your average rugged case, the TAKTIK is definitely NOT your average rugged case.
I consider the TAKTIK to be the epitome of fine design and intelligent craftsmanship. With its special features that are designed to keep debris out and your iPhone safe in most situations and environments, the TAKTIK is set to become a major player in the field of ruggedized iPhone cases. In fact, with its innovative and original approach, the TAKTIK case has instantly catapulted itself to the top of my short list of exceptional and remarkable iPhone cases that provide a level of protection for your iPhone that will keep your device safe and secure in a wide range of extreme or dangerous conditions.
While very modernly stylish, the TAKTIK case is a bit cumbersome to get off or on, with six mini-screws to snugly secure the front and back of the case together, but then again, it's designed as an everyday-use case, so once your iPhone is in it, you should be able to leave your iPhone in it indefinitely.
The TAKTIK is wider than the iPhone by almost half an inch; the added width is primarily a result of the 9mm silicon truss. On the TAKTIK, the silicone truss/bumper, by design, is both structurally sound, while also having an incredible ammount of shock-absorbing give. If your iPhone falls on its side while in the TAKTIK, even from a height of 10 feet, chances are good that not a thing will happen to the case or your iPhone. And thanks to the Gorilla Glass screen protector, even if your iPhone falls flat on its face, from the same height, chances are still good that nothing will happen to your touchscreen.
All of the speakers and microphones are relatively unobstructed and sound quality when on phone calls (using either the speakerphone or non-speakerphone options) is pristine and crystal clear, unlike some other heavy-duty case, which can tend to make the speaker sound distant, muffled and far way. All of the speakers and mics have a thin water resistant material covering them, keeping any liquids or dust away from your iPhone. The headphone access port will allow a variety of headphones to fit in, but not all, depending on shape, so that is something to keep in mind. The Apple earpods work perfectly as do any number of other brands.
The TAKTIK also implements a design that is becoming more common in heavy duty cases, that being the inclusion of what might be referred to as sound-enhancement channels, or chambers built over the iPhone's speakers that both protect the speakers from dust and debris, as well as amplifying the iPhone’s sound.
The TAKTIK has a durable, lever-like aluminum snap-hinge cover over the earphone port, while the dock connector port is sealed efficiently with a thickly built, silicone and polycarbonate flap. While the flap cover over the dock port on the TAKTIK is relatively thick and made of a dense rubber material, nonetheless, I'll be interested to see how the flap holds up over time and use, as silicone flaps (and port covers in general) are often a weak point on any iPhone case. The mute button is easily accessible with a sliding cylindrical switch, which, while in the up position turns mute off, and in the down position, activates your mute feature.
The only area of the iPhone that happens to be directly exposed to the outside world is the camera and flash/LED light. While it would have given the TAKTIK a higher rating in terms of ingress protection (The TAKTIK has an IP65 rating, scroll to the bottom for more info on IP ratings) the fact that the camera lens/LED light is surrounded by what amounts to a silicone gasket seal, compressed against the iPhone by the torque of the screws, effectively keeping any liquid or debris safely at bay. In my testing I went back and tightened each of the screws after a couple of days just to make certain they were all snug, of course always being careful never to ovetighten.
The externally exposed silicone areas on the TAKTIK are grippy, but not so much so that they cause the iPhone to be difficult to remove from a pocket, or collect dust like some lesser silicone materials do. Another nice feature of the TAKTIK is a built in lanyard loop hole, which comes in handy when out in the woods or playing on the rocks or by the water, so that when your phone falls, it doesn't have to fall far.
The TAKTIK meets up and exceeds Military specs (MIL-STD-810G/IP65) for a protective case, keeping your device safe from vibration, shocks, water (it can withstand low-pressure jets of water, it can definitely survive a drop in the loo), compression and dust and debris. The TAKTIK, with its Gorilla Glass option has become one of my favorite rugged cases, and will be sure to give the likes of Otterbox’s Defender, Griffin’s Survivor and the Lifeproof iPhone case, a run for the money. In terms of quality and performance, the TAKTIK is definitely one of the best options for your iPhone that money can buy, and one that I can highly recommend.
The TAKTIK gets 4 stars out of 5 and is the newest member to my list of the top 5 rugged iPhone cases.
You can pick up the TAKTIK for the iPhone 4/4S HERE for $100.00 for the basic case or $125.00 for the Gorilla Glass equipped case. You can also upgrade to a model with a lightweight, super-strong alloy exp-skeleton, forgoing the polycarbonate frame, at a cost of $180.00.
The TAKTIK for the iPhone 5 will soon be available HERE.
Please enjoy the TAKTIK video below, presented by Scott Wilson, founder of LUNATIK, producers of the TAKTIK case line.
If you are unable to view the embedded video, please click HERE.
Thank you as always for taking the time to read this review.