Today were going to be reviewing the Griffin Survivor Case for the Galaxy S4. In the age of modern smartphones we all come to an understanding, while we love our technology we strive for ways to keep such investments safe.
Griffin hopes to answer this with the Survivor. A smartphone case that promises protection above and beyond what you will encounter within a day.
There can be only one, Survivor
Sometimes first impressions can be the best ones, and just holding the Survivor one can feel the very rugged construction. The material is not hardened like some cases I have encountered in the past. There is a rubberized feel that is sure to help dampen the fall should you lose grip of your phone. That being said, with this type of material you would be hard pressed to actually have it slip from your hands. Composition of the case is akin to specialized housings commonly found in the telecom industry to keep expensive cordless units safe.
We’ve got you covered. Literally.
The daunting task with any protective cover really comes down to form and function. Does the said device manage to keep its functionality while being encased in its new cocoon. At a glance the Survivor looks to maintain this balance, though it’s a bitter sweet revelation when put to the actual test.
On the positive side of the spectrum there is a cover that conceals your camera lens from any outside influence until you are ready to use it.
More traditional form factors just leave a cut out where the camera is, and if you are like most people the phone is not the only item in your pocket. Having an opening invites the camera lens to still come into contact with a myraid of other items you may carry. Griffin, has solved this problem. The mounting method is solid and designed well enough that undue force will just pull the cover off without damaging the mount point so you can re-attach it later.
Moving to the south side of the case we see that your charging/adapter port is treated in much the same way with a protective flap guarding the port until it is ready to be used. Just above it rests the overlay for the menu button. Another smart move given the frequent use of said key, instead of leaving it open as other cases do and inviting foreign material to eventually obstruct function.
For the audio jack on the top of the case it receives the same treatment the usb port does in the form of a protective flap that overlays the position until it is required. This makes every possible entry point on the case guarded against contamination, and protected. Something we should expect given the name.
The snag in the design becomes apparent when the phone is physically mounted in the case and you first go to adjust the volume and or lock the phone function. Volume adjustment is sketchy at best. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. In some rare cases (after many remounts) pressing in the downward direction to lower volume produced the opposite result. There were also moments where just holding the phone would cause the volume to automatically activate and adjust. To a lesser extent the same problem existed on the opposite side where the lock and unlock button resides. Occasions where any amount of pressure would produce zero result did happen with some frequency.
Fit, form and function. But how is it Really?
Size is one point that might be a make or break factor for some users. Given the level of shock and drop protection the Survivor affords it does come at the cost of making the whole solution rather bulky. It is akin to actually having the larger brother of the S4 (Galaxy Note) in your hands.
Another point off in functionality comes from the very design that protects your menu key. When using the device in the traditional north/south orientation, the overlay that protects this button also obstructs partially the use of the touch screen space bar. If the user has bigger hands this problem would only be
exasperated. If you aim your touch points on the leading edges of this cover it does help alleviate some of the problem though it is not a perfect solution.
Screen coverage is good considering the protection is not in perfect contact with the physical phone screen itself. No issues were apparent in any operation that required touch, be it from typing or using the swipe and pinch/pull methods the phone responded exactly as it was supposed to without once missing an input desire.
Day to day use does have some drawbacks, although purely cosmetic. While the case as a whole does well to keep dust and debris out the material that does so becomes contaminated in its own right and requires some cleaning as a result if you intend to keep the actual looks of the case intact. It is again, a small price to pay and a trade that must be made to keep the device itself safe.
A noteworthy observation in using this solution was how well the material itself gripped on any surface in which the phone rested. Making it much harder to have the device slide off of a surface accidently or out of your hands. And should you feel so inclined you can even use the included belt clip to steady the device on a desk while keeping both hands free.
End of the Day
The Survivor from an outside perspective will do its job. The material is sound and robust enough for long usage and tough environments. It does have its shortfalls with some button functionality and the overall bulk increase from the standard device. If you work in an area where dust, dirt and debris are a concern, or one where dropping your device could be a problem the Survivor may just be the right path to choose.
Phone Models Covered: Various
Colors Available: Multiple
By:Shiver Of RHR