Aspen Times Weekly: 6 Cases for the iPhone 6 | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen Times Weekly: 6 Cases for the iPhone 6

by Stephen Regenold

Smartphones are a tool for the outdoors as well as everyday life. Over the past two months, I put a handful of cases to the test with my iPhone 6, on hikes, while biking, running and for workaday use. Here’s a wrap-up of six cases that stood out.

Waterproof:

Like a little suit of armor, the Catalyst Waterproof case attaches tightly and seals a phone into an airtight space. The company calls it “the most protective case in the world,” which may be an exaggeration but also is qualified with a waterproof (to 16 feet under) and drop-proof (up to 6 feet) design. This durability comes from a polycarbonate case with rubber bumpers, silicone seals and watertight acoustic membranes for clear audio. I didn’t go swimming with the Catalyst, but after two weeks of hard use outdoors, including in precipitation, the case earned my trust. Caveats: Touchscreen sensitivity is compromised slightly through the clear window, and the case requires an adapter for some headphone jacks. $69.99, http://www.catalystlifestyle.com

Handmade:

A few things separate this case, including its wooden face, intricate metal hinges, magnets to hold it closed and a finish that looks more artisanal than mechanized. Made by hand in Brooklyn, N.Y., the EXO23 Black Aluminum case is the most beautiful (by far) in this review. It offers protection with its metal frame, though the phone face is exposed and there are no dampening bumpers. Not water-resistant, very expensive, but by far the prettiest case here. $212, http://www.exovault.com

Built-In Battery:

A slim lithium battery embedded in the Otterbox Resurgence case offers a free recharge in the wilds. When your phone goes dead, simply press a button on the case and you get a power-up. (I was able to use my phone for two days straight without an external power supply.) The case is made with a fiberglass-filled polycarbonate shell and foam inside, making it resistant to bumps and small drops. No covering on the glass touchscreen, however, and not waterproof. $99.95, http://www.otterbox.com

Holster:

It clicks into a holster that can be worn on a belt. A “kickstand” on the back props the case up so you can set your phone like a mini movie screen for YouTube videos. But phone protection is the bigger calling card on the Pelican ProGear Voyager, which includes thin layers of polycarbonate and rubber in its small frame. Unique to this model is a clear screen cover that protects from scratches. Finally, Pelican offers a lifetime guarantee, noting if a customer breaks the case, “we replace it.” $60, http://www.pelican.com

Tethered:

A tiny bungee cord connects to this case, which can then be attached to a zipper pull, belt loop or other tie point. With the Highline case from Kenu you get a phone that’s tethered and not droppable — though the polycarbonate case doesn’t cover the screen, so if it swings and hits something you could be trouble. The leash, which is made of braided Kevlar, uses a port on the bottom of the iPhone and a notch in the case to attach. I like the minimal look and the simple design to keep my phone close on a chairlift, boat or any other do-not-drop spot outdoors. $29.95, http://www.kenu.com

Slim & Protective:

A selling point with the Thule Atmos X3 case is “exceptional protection with minimal bulk.” At 0.4-inch in depth, this case adds very little to a naked iPhone. But its rubbery edges and polycarbonate frame give enough cushion to keep a phone safe from a shoulder-height drop, Thule cites. (Just don’t drop it glass side down; there’s no screen covering.) Funny bonus: Thule gives a 25-year warranty with the case to protect for decades after your phone has become obsolete. $39.95, http://www.thule.com

Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at http://www.gearjunkie.com.


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