Take protection to another level and turn your Galaxy S4 into a brick with the Griffin Technology Survivor case.
My favorite thing about getting a new phone or tablet is getting all of the goodies that come along with it. Now that I’ve been doing this long enough to have attracted the attention of a few awesome manufacturers and their equally amazing PR reps, it’s like Christmas at my house every time the mailman stops by. In one of his latest visits, I was treated to the first case I’ve tested on my recently-acquired Samsung Galaxy S4 — the Griffin Technology Survivor.
The Survivor, touted as the “most durable case Griffin has ever created”, does an excellent job of living up to its expectations, as far as protection is concerned. If you’re in love with the Galaxy S4′s super-slim form factor, this may not be the case for you — it’s freakin’ huge. If that doesn’t automatically deter you, grab yourself a drink and get ready for me to tear this thing apart.
First up, let’s talk specs.
The Survivor is designed to meet or exceed U.S. military standards for the conditions that affect your Galaxy S4 most. It is a three-piece case system, consisting of a polycarbonate and silicone shell for minimizing impacts while providing grip, a polycarbonate and interior foam cladding for absorbing shocks and vibration, and a polycarbonate scratch resistant screen protector for deflecting windblown rain, scratches, and abrasions.
The case has sealable ports to keep out sand, dust, and rain, and there’s also a camera cover that rotates out of the way when you’re snapping pictures. Put shortly, this case locks your phone up tighter than Fort Knox – ain’t nothin’ gettin’ in there unless you want it to.
As for conditional security specifications, we’re looking at all military standards here:
Shock resistance Abstract: Dropped on concrete floor from 6 ft
(1.8 m); typical drops a user might make from
Parameters: 48 inches / 1.22 drop onto all
faces; total of 26 drops.
Dust & sand Abstract: Sand blowing across a beach during
a windy day for 6 hours.
Parameters: 8.9 meters/sec (20 mph), 97–99%
silicon dioxide (“sand”) @ +23°C – 35°C @ not
more than 30% relative humidity, for 6 hours.
Wind & rain Abstract: A user is caught outside for 30
minutes during a rainstorm.
Parameters: 40 mph wind + 4 inches/hour of
rain for 30 minutes, at 50°F / 10°C ± 2°C.
Vibration Abstract: Device is left on the floorboard of
a car while traveling.
Parameters: Vibration of one inch of travel
@ 5 Hz for 45 minutes.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a dimensions list to share with you because the Griffin website only lists the dimensions for the iPhone 5 version, but take my word for it, the case is pretty damn huge. I’d be willing to bet that it effectively doubles the size of the Galaxy S4.
Also included is a pretty nice belt clip with the following features:
Detachable belt clip can be worn facing in or out
Clip locks into position for use as a handsfree display stand
Durable combination of materials prevents breakage
Rotates 90° to either side
Rotating action locks at intermediate angles
And the kickstand feature is always nice, too. I’ve been using it all day at the computer to keep the phone propped up while shooting videos over to my Chromecast. Definitely one of the nicer features the case has to offer.
Now, let’s talk about what I like.
The sense of security this case provides is second-to-none. I can hand my phone to my 1-year-old son and let him have his way with it without having to worry about anything happening to it. Hell, I could probably pitch the thing at the wall and it would walk away without a scratch, but that’s not my style, so I’ll leave that to your imagination.
I’m also a big fan of the gripped silicone material on the case’s outer shell. It feels great to the touch, and you don’t have to worry about the phone slipping from your hand — and even if you’re a major klutz and still find a way to fling your phone, you should be safe.
The built-in screen protector is nice. It does take away from the feel of the S4′s sexy display, but that’s a fair tradeoff to keep the display clean and free of scratches. It does slightly hinder touchscreen sensitivity, but not to the point of annoyance. It just takes a little getting used to.
All buttons, the charging port, and the 3.5mm output jack are easily accessible, but it’s worth noting that the 3.5mm cable is a little difficult to disconnect once you have it plugged in — you have to pull gently, but strongly to get it out. None of the device sensors are affected by the case, nor is NFC functionality or the IR blaster. Everything works as it would without the case on, just don’t expect it to fit in a dock of any kind.
And here’s what I’m not a fan of.
There isn’t much to dislike with the Survivor case, but one thing is the extra bulk it adds to the device. I can barely fit the phone in my pocket with the case on, and sitting down with it in my pocket is pretty uncomfortable. I can’t really knock the case for that though, as it’s only serving its purpose of security to the fullest extent. If you’re not the type to carry your phone in your pants pocket, this might not be a bad thing for you, so it’s all really about personal preference.
Another thing that kinda bugs me is the way silicone loves to attract lint and dust, and it’s not the easiest to clean once the case has seen some mileage and starts to look dingy. For the best results, you might want to take the case off and clean it with warm soapy water. (Don’t forget to let it dry completely before you put it back on!)
Otherwise, the Survivor is a truly superb case, and while it may not end up as my daily driver, I’ll definitely be keeping it around to throw on whenever I’m going out into potential cellphone-unfriendly situations.
Final rating: 5/5
If there’s anything else you’d like to know about the Survivor, feel free to drop me a comment in the Disqus thread below. I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Where to buy:
The Survivor is available directly from Griffin’s website for $49.99 and comes in solid black, black/blue, and pink/white. Alternatively, you can save yourself some coin and get one for much cheaper over on Amazon. I’ve included links below to save you the hassle of searching for them yourself.