The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s Should be your Waterproof Case

The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5 and 5s is a super lightweight waterproof case that’s ready to handle all of your outdoor adventures. It’s waterproof up to 16.4 feet underwater, and it meets military standards for drops of up to 6.6 feet. The Catalyst Case is also compatible with Touch ID for your iPhone 5s; it retails for $64.99.

GearDiary The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s Should be your Waterproof Case

Along with being available in a few different cool colors like Pacific Blue, Stealth Black, Radiant Orchid, and Alpine White, the Catalyst Case has a belt clip accessory that sells for $19.99. Along with being used as a regular belt clip, the Catalyst belt clip accessory can also be used as a hands-free stand.

GearDiary The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s Should be your Waterproof Case

While Catalyst is careful to let you know that the Catalyst Case is not indestructible, their case is droppable from up to 6.6 feet, meeting the military standard 810G. The case is also waterproof for up to 16.4 feet underwater, which meets the Ingress Protection standard IP-68 for dust and water-tightness. I waterproof tested my Catalyst Case before inserting my iPhone (which is something that should be done with any so-called waterproof case before being used) and it performed admirably for the 30 minutes that it spent completely submerged.

GearDiary The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s Should be your Waterproof Case

Weighing in at only 1.34 ounces and measuring 0.54” x 5.0” x 2.65”, the Catalyst is one of the smallest and lightest rugged, waterproof cases on the market, today. This is my favorite feature of the Catalyst Case, because in my mind, the smaller a case is, the more likely I will be to use it. Many of the “tough” cases out there are ginormous and you can’t slip them into your pocket comfortably. The Catalyst fits in my pocket easily and feels good in my hand. Another reason to hate the ginormous rugged cases is that you feel like you’re tapping the touch screen on Apple’s new iBrick.

GearDiary The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s Should be your Waterproof Case

Most of the exterior of the case is covered by a hard plastic covering, which is not exactly “grippy,” but also should not be the cause of too many accidental drops. The back of the case is completely transparent, which allows the design of the iPhone itself to shine through…something that a lot of rugged cases overlook. The power button and volume buttons are covered by rubber pieces that allow you to easily use the buttons they protect. The mute button is covered by a radial wheel that is actually much easier to use than most other radial wheel’s that I’ve tried. The headphone jack and lightning jack are protected by a rubber closure that is both easy to remove and reinstall but is also very safe because it works like a cork to keep water out of your precious pocket computer.   The earpiece, microphone, and speaker are all protected by an acoustical membrane that lets sound out nicely but also protects the openings from water.

GearDiary The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s Should be your Waterproof Case

Another feature of the Catalyst Case that makes this case a no-brainer for me is that although there is a piece of protective plastic in front of the iPhone screen, I felt almost zero difference between using the touch screen with the case and without. This is another huge improvement over many of the rugged iPhone cases out there today. My only complaint having to do with the touch screen sensitivity is that the raised bevel will sometimes get in the way of touching the absolute edge of the screen, but that’s a very minor problem and will be the case with almost every iPhone case out there.

GearDiary The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s Should be your Waterproof Case

The Catalyst Case performs beautifully in many areas, including size, weight, daily use, water and dust-tightness, as well as sound performance. Something that many “tough” iPhone cases ignore is that the sound needs to be let out of the case as well as the water being kept out. Although removing the headphone/lightning cover improves the sound quality a bit, the case performs admirably even when the headphone/lightning cover is in place.

GearDiary The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s Should be your Waterproof Case

Further solidifying their waterproof game, Catalyst also sent me one of their Waterproof Sleeves for tablets, gadgets, and more. The sleeve I received is sized for 7”-8” tablets and can fit anything from a Kindle, to a Nook, to a book, to an iPad Mini, as well as your favorite phone or small device. The sleeve works easily enough, once your gadgets are safe inside, you close the two heavy-duty “Ziploc”-type zippers as well as the Velcro flap and voilà, your gadgets are safe and sound, even if dunked in the water. The Waterproof Sleeve is also cushioned with EVA foam so that your devices are safe if placed inside a bag or briefcase. The Waterproof Sleeves range from $39.99 to $54.99 depending on the size you’re looking for.

GearDiary The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s Should be your Waterproof Case

On the whole, Catalyst knows how to make a great product, and I can imagine their case being my go-to rugged case in the future. If you’re in the market for a waterproof iPhone case, you can’t go wrong with the Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s.

You can purchase yours directly from the manufacturer.

Source: The Catalyst Case for iPhone 5/5s was provided to me as a review sample by the manufacturer.

What I Like: Perfect weight and size; Beautiful design; Allows easy daily use of my phone; Completely water and dust-proof.

What Needs Improvement: The exterior bezel sometimes interferes with the use of the extreme outer-edge of the touch screen.  Belt clip comes as a paid accessory rather than included with the case.


About the Author

Perry Brauner
I'm an architect by trade, but the overarching theme of my life has always been trying to keep up with the newest, coolest technology. Ever since I picked up an NES controller, I've been hooked on the latest and greatest gadgets, gizmos, and toys. Whether it's gaming, mobile phones, and accessories, or PCs and Apple products, I'm interested. I use many Apple products in my daily life, such as the iPhone, iPad, and my MacBook Pro. I've also built a few PCs in my day, so I'd like to say that I'm a pretty well-rounded techie.