At a Glance
Griffin Technology’s Survivor provides plenty of protection for the iPhone 4, but at the expense of usability.
Griffin Technology says that its $50 Survivor Extreme-Duty Case for the iPhone 4 meets or exceeds U.S. military standards for handling extreme conditions. It does so by combining several layers of protection. First, two black-plastic halves fit very snugly around your iPhone—they leave literally no wiggle room. These plastic shells are simple to snap together, but they have some very sharp edges; as I put them on my iPhone, I feared the pain that might come with removing them later. The Survivor comes with an attachable belt clip, which works adequately.
Around the black plastic fits a similarly snug rubber outer case. The case leaves the iPhone’s front camera exposed, along with the phone’s screen, of course. Every other port and button is sealed off, but accessible by peeling back rubber tabs. As is often the case with bulkier iPhone 4 cases, the Ring/Silent switch is a little tough to access when your phone is clad in the Survivor, although using the iPhone’s volume, Sleep/Wake, and Home buttons works fine through the rubbery outer case..
Beyond the rubber flaps that provide access to the iPhone’s dock-connector port and headphone jack, there’s another flap to flip if you want to access the phone’s rear camera, and it doesn’t really stay open on its own, so the Survivor may not be your best option if you take a lot of photographs with your iPhone.
Removing the Survivor from the iPhone 4 wasn’t has tough as I feared. Though the plastic shell does require some force to remove, the sharp edges I was worried about actually help you pry the thing off. Careful, though: I nearly sent my iPhone flying when I eventually pried the plastic apart.
The Survivor provides plenty of protection, but at the expense of usability.
Note: Griffin Technology says the Survivor isn’t compatible with the white iPhone 4 because the case interferes with the white iPhone’s proximity sensor, preventing the display from sleeping properly during calls.