Portable, practical and protective case for iPhone 14 Pro Max.
If you’re looking for a slim protective case with useful features, then you’ve found your holy grail of iPhone cases. The Influence case promises lightweight protection, enhanced drop protection, forward-facing speakers for louder sound, crucial accessory attachment points at each corner, an accommodating Lightning port, wireless charging capabilities, the best patented volume change wheel in its class, responsive buttons, and a grip feel. Serenity awaits as your protected iPhone 14 Pro Max remains ready in pristine condition.
Easy to use
Catalyst provides robust protection without the bulk!
As the prices of iPhones get closer to the obscene, the consequences of a drop, fall, spill, bump, screen breakage, etc. are increasing. Even with the coverage of Apple Care+, I dare not tempt fate carrying my phone without a case with four small children, a spirited dog, and, for D&D fans, for the chance of getting a Nat 1 that day. Despite the hype of Apple launching new tech every September, I think I enjoy the second round of excitement when I get to review/explore new tech from trusted manufacturers.
I have tried many cases over the years and continue to go back to the tried and true cases of Catalyst. I met the Catalyst team at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2016 and dared to try something new with my iPhone 6s plus. After a few visits back to Las Vegas for CES, watching the case launch competitions, and personally reviewing cases for the iPhone 7, 8, X, 11, 12, and 13 versions, I was excited to evaluate the latest flagship case, the Catalyst Influence Case for iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The Catalyst-influenced iPhone 14 Pro Max (2022 6.7” Pro) case arrived in a sleek pendant-style retail package measuring 4 inches wide by 7 1/4 inches tall by 11 inches thick. Split into an outer sleeve and an inner base layer, I was impressed with the overall design. Starting with the outer case, you’ll immediately notice the glossy, embossed image on the top half of the phone’s case, raised camera bezels, and an orange-accented region that outlines the “proprietary rotary mute switch.”
For those who have never used a catalyst phone case before, the volume changer is probably the best on the market. Beneath the photo-quality image, you’ll find the influencer’s name, iPhone size/compatibility, an image of the phone falling over a bottom edge, and an image of someone holding the phone. I liked the bar graphs comparing the standard drop-proof data and the loudest noise between the non-catalyzed and catalyzed cases. The enclosure provided a 2.5x higher drop-proof rating (3M/10Ft-Mil STD-810G) and “up to 30% louder sound” thanks to forward-facing speakers.
The right side panel provided a variety of #Catalyst case social media icons, 2022 iPhone 6.7” Pro compatibility, and a QR code for additional information. The left side panel provided a slightly raised glossy image of the volume switch, volume up/down buttons, and an actual size image with a thickness of 0.45”/11.59mm. Although it doesn’t seem like a huge addition, the ability to visualize the slimness of the box adds a degree of conscientiousness to the packaging.
The back panel provided a helpful labeled diagram of the iPhone 14 Pro Max case at the top (fingerprint-free bottom, ultra-slim design, easy-press buttons, patented rotary mute switch, audio-forward technology, more explicit calls to the ear, anti-drop lanyard (tested up to 10kg), non-slip textured grip, raised lip protects screen/camera and 4-corner anti-drop attachment system) and a text-rich bottom segment detailing the above features in multiple languages.
The bright, raised image successfully displayed a top-down image of the empty case, the raised bezels, and the wrist lanyard. Overall, I appreciated the vibrant colors, visual appeal, layout, and quality of the images. Not surprisingly, the company has won several design awards.
The inner box was divided into a blue top segment with a bold company name/logo, www.catalystcase.com website, and a 5G and wireless charging logo, and a tan cardboard bottom segment. The bottom section advertised a variety of Crux accessories that could be attached to the four corner attachment points (shoulder strap, lanyard, ring holder, and carabiner/extender), a screen protector, and options for Apple Watch, AirPods , AirTag and iPad.
Personally, I wish this segment was a bit more colorful. Having tried various Crux accessories, the additional modular feature of the case may be one of the most important aspects of the design. For additional information, you can scan the QR code on the bottom corner of the inner cover or the top edge of the back panel. Although it may be important to some, I felt that the inclusion of the “Printed with Soy Ink” logo and the large segments dedicated to recycling may have been too much. However, I very much appreciate the attempts to improve the footprint.
INSTALLATION / UTILITY
I opened the box, took out the 1.1 ounce box, 3 3/8 inches wide by 6 5/8 inches tall by 7/8 inches thick, and the 0.1 ounce wrist cord. The lanyard had a thin, looped, 2 1/8-inch-long tether, a 5/8-inch-high by 3/8-inch-wide neck segment embossed with the name of the catalyst, and a 6-inch loop. 1/2 inch long by 1/4 inch. 3/16″ tall by 5/8″ wide nylon slider cord with engraved Catalyst logo.
The smoked black semi-transparent inner surface of the catalyst’s Influence casing provides a subtle contrast to the dark black plastic accents on the side. The right side of the case (volume side) provided a 5/16-inch diameter volume mute switch and two 7/16-inch-long by ~3/32-inch-wide raised ribbed volume buttons. I liked the flat ribbed edge and hexagonal shape that embodied the case.
Instead of rounded top/side panels, the angled sides added a degree of grip to the overall design. The opposite side panel provided an 11/16 inch long by ~3/32 inch wide power button and engraved name/logo on the bottom of the panel. Like the opposite side panel, the top, bottom and power button sides used the angled ribbed design for added grip.
The bottom edge contained a ~15/32-inch-wide by 1/4-inch-high lightning bolt cutout, plus a 1/16-inch-diameter speaker cutout in the flat segment and two 9/16-inch speaker ports. 16 inches long by 1/16 inch high at the sloping front segment. To complement the side/top panels, you’ll find four 3/16-inch wide by 1/16-inch high Crux attachment ports on the front/rear sloped side segments. The front face added a front display bezel, while the rear sloped segment was slightly raised above the frosted rear plastic panel. The top edge of the back panel provided the 1 1/2-inch wide by 1 9/16-inch tall camera cutout and slightly raised protective camera bezel.
To install the iPhone 14 Pro Max into the case, I lined up the volume/mute toggle side on the case, pressed the top right corner of the phone into the case, then the top edge, the power side, and finally the bottom edge. bottom of the phone. You’ll notice that the camera cutout, volume rotation switch, bottom lighting port, and speakers all lined up properly with the phone’s hardware.
I slid the thin segment of the wrist lanyard into the lower right CRUX attachment point and then the thick loop into the smaller loop. With the lanyard/holster installed, the 9.3-ounce phone/holster combo slid comfortably into my Nite-Ize XXL Sideways Universal Rugged Holster Clip Case. I was able to easily slide the case into the holster, remove it, navigate the phone’s features, lay it face down on the table, and lay it face up as well. The raised screen lip added protection against side bumps and lifted the screen off the surface when face down. Similarly, the camera bezel added a degree of protection when facing up.
As noted above, the three main features that catalyze the experience are volume shifting, Crux connection points, and forward-facing speakers. The mute toggle switch is far superior to many box manufacturers that employ a narrow window for the toggle. Instead, the rotary switch is easy to use, easily accessible, and not limited by stubby fingers. The Lightning port accommodated every single cable I tried, including several bulkier non-Apple cables.
The forward-facing speakers provided improved sound and directed most of the experience forward and away from the screen. When combined with the ring stand, the forward-facing speakers helped create a pseudo-mini-theater. Finally, as an additional method of charging your phone, the slim opaque back plate will allow you to wirelessly charge your phone.
Although I haven’t had any major drops with my iPhone 14 Pro Max, I did hold the phone 1 foot off the hardwood floor and dropped the case/phone on every corner. The phone was dropped several times and then landed on the front or back. I found no damage to the case or the phone after a total of 4 drops.
I often use the wrist lanyard to prevent unexpected falls. I learned this lesson after one of my kids accidentally stole an old iPhone off the kitchen table. Fortunately, Catalyst cases have successfully averted crises several times in recent years; I am grateful for the diligent efforts of the R&D team. The proof of the protection can be seen in the 20 foot drop test at CES for iPhone XR.
I am a fan of the Catalyst visualization technique, although I disagree with the large amount of space devoted to environmental awareness. The visuals, the display, the multilingual approach, and the presence/feel exuded a customer-centric approach. Loved the weight, angled edge shape, grippy sides, volume switch, forward-facing speakers, lighting cutout port, screen bezel, camera bezel, slim back for wireless charging and the option to add. Crucial accessories. As a former bulky-cased iPhone user who preferred armor, I haven’t regretted slipping into something much more comfortable.