Tech21 Classic Tactical Black iPhone 6 case review

{ 18 comments }

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When I (finally) upgraded my iPhone 5 to the 6, the first thing I did was buy a case for it. I will not ever go without a case for my iPhone … period. I am basically clumsy and always dropping things. I’ve seen too many iPhones with cracked screens to ever want to take a chance with my own overpriced toy with that fruity logo.

When the iPhone arrived in the mail, I already had the case and was happy with my choice. It’s highly rated and deserves it. Then I got the chance to try the Tech21 Classic Tactical Black iPhone 6 case and the obvious question popped into my head: Will the Tech21 case make me want to switch?

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One thing I noticed with the new iPhone 6 is that there were a LOT of cases for sale before the iPhone was even available. I always thought that Apple supplied case manufacturers with measurement specs before public announcements so a supply of cases would be available. Au contraire! These companies have no more information than anyone else with an internet connection, but they plow ahead anyway and make cases. I doubt Tech21 did this because the Classic Tactical case fits the iPhone perfectly.

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The Classic Tactical Black iPhone 6 case is made from what Tech21 calls “Impactology”. Impactology is a ruggedized TPU formula lined with shock absorbing D3O® impact material. I don’t understand it either, but the result is impressive. The case is light, easy to grip with its textured surface, and has good protection from drops. I know this because I dropped my phone from about 2.5 ft. height on a hard, tiled floor and it just bounced once. No damage or even marks on the case itself. Part of the protection is visibly obvious: the rounded edges of the Classic Tactical case are thicker than the back. This provides extra protection for the iPhone’s corners where it’s needed. The back covers the iPhone completely—no silly logo hole included.

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The front opening of the Classic Tactical case protrudes beyond the iPhone’s front face with a smooth, rounded edge. This allows the iPhone to be placed (or dropped) face-down and the iPhone’s glass doesn’t touch anything. The same is true of the back camera lens opening. The iPhone’s lens extends beyond the surface just a bit. I assume this allowed Apple to tout the thinness of the iPhone, but the lens is now more vulnerable than the older flush-mounted lens on all previous iPhones. The back of the case is thicker than the lens’ protrusion, so it’s also nicely protected.

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However… I do not understand the lens opening in the Classic Tactical case. The opening is shaped to match the case’s design style, but it ignores the circular shape of the lens and flash. In other words, the opening should be a small oval opening, but it’s a large weirdly-shaped hole that leaves too much of the iPhone’s exterior unnecessarily exposed. This is almost a deal-breaker for me and yes, I am that paranoid.

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The port-holes are accessible and well-protected—unlike Apple’s own case which leaves them dangerously exposed. Because the ports are protected, there may be some difficulty plugging in some headphones/earphones, depending on the size of the mini plug’s shell. There can also be docking problems using the case, but this is becoming much less of an issue simply because more and more speakers are now wireless only—no docks. The On/Off and Volume buttons are covered completely. I’ve had other cases where it was hard to feel the button underneath being pressed. Not so here. The tactile feel of the buttons is successfully transferred through the case. The iPhone’s mute switch is left exposed, but that’s the case (pun intended) with other cases of this type.

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Installing and removing the Classic Tactical case on the iPhone 6 is easy, but once attached, it remains snug. Since the case is made of a harder-than-silicone material, it never feels like it can be accidentally pulled off or become loose with age.

The Classic Tactical case is a minimalist iPhone case that provides more protection than any reasonably careful person will need. It’s attractive in a subtle way and feels good in the hand. If the lens opening doesn’t bother you, then you can’t go wrong choosing this case.

Does the Tech21 case make me want to switch from the case I started with? Until and unless they make the camera lens opening smaller, I’m afraid not. Otherwise, I would in a heartbeat.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Tech21. Please visit http://tech21.com for more info.

 

Product Information

Price:$34.99 US
Manufacturer:Tech21
Pros:
  • Easy to attach and remove, yet snug fitting
  • Well made
  • Great drop protection
Cons:
  • Camera lens opening too large leaving too much of iPhone exposed
Posted in: Cases and Covers, iOS, Reviews
{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Norm October 24, 2014, 1:21 pm

    I had a Tech21 case for my Iphone4s so when I upgraded to a 6 I bought another Tech21 case. I think you are being a bit paranoid about the lens protection. Only a cover over the lens would be the only way to really protect it. The chances of dropping the phone on something small enough to only impact the lens are small.

  • Bill Henderson October 24, 2014, 1:34 pm

    Norm,
    Thanks for the comment. I should have been more clear on this point. I’m not worried about the lens. What concerns me are the scratches to the iphone’s back the will occur over time being exposed in that spot. Its a cosmetic thing, but I like my iPhone pristine. As I also said, it is a great case otherwise.
    Bill

  • Paul Okada October 24, 2014, 2:41 pm

    A bigger lens opening in the case also helps to reduce optical artifacts due to case reflections entering the lens. In my opinion, this is a worthwhile trade-off. In any case, if you are worried about scratching the case of the iPhone, you should be even more worried about the lens.

  • Jinny October 24, 2014, 4:14 pm

    I usually use Otterbox cases, might give this one a try. thanks for the review

  • bill henderson October 24, 2014, 4:16 pm
  • Bill Henderson October 24, 2014, 4:20 pm

    Thanks Paul,
    I’ve yet damage a lens since the iPhone 3—true, doesn’t mean I won’t. Also, I’ve read about the optical reflection issues, but have never noticed it in my photos.
    Bill

  • Gareth Jones October 24, 2014, 5:34 pm

    I have their iPhone 5s case. Love it. Only question – what are those grooves on the back of the case?

  • Dee October 24, 2014, 9:31 pm

    I like a urban armor case for my teenager. For me I use apple leather for which I will paint red logo.

  • Mark October 24, 2014, 11:13 pm

    I need a case that is easy to put on and take off. I only use the case while hiking or skiing and prefer my phone naked otherwise. Do you think this case will satisfy my requirements?

  • Bill henderson October 24, 2014, 11:18 pm

    Mark,
    One of the best things about this case it how easy it comes on and off, yet remains snug. Its a great case if the lens opening doesn’t bother you. Since you prefer your phone naked, I get the feeling it won’t. You should love the case.
    Bill

  • Bill Henderson October 25, 2014, 7:54 am

    Gareth,
    I think that’s just a design element, although it probably helps with gripping by altering the flatness.

  • David Florence October 25, 2014, 1:35 pm

    Nice review. I already own 10 cases for my iPhone 6. Will probably get a few more since the 6s should be the same dimensions. I use the Tech21 for days when i will use the phone outside and don’t know the exact environment. I love the Apple Leather Case for inside use, and have several Monoprice cases (they are so inexpensive) for change of pace. I have a few others via Amazon. Will probably get the Lifeproof Nuud and the Mophie Plus when they come out as I had them for 5S and had Mopes for every supported iPhone before that. And, I will probably get the ultra thin Spigen case – I had 5 of those vendor’s cases for my 5s.

    The Tech 21 case is very similar to my iPad Air’s Tech 21 case. It is just a bit too wide for me, but I am confident they made it is thin as possible. It just makes the 6 much less svelte then I would have liked it. The only minor construction issue is the area surrounding the Lightning connector. It is a bit thin there so it has a bit too much give. I would recommend this case for anyone who wants a good one.

  • Dylan October 26, 2014, 7:47 pm

    Good review. I was going to get the smokey case for the iPhone 6, but I think I like the minimal black look on this one more so. Both seem nice, but the matte black looks more durable than the clear silicon.

    I completely agree with your gripe about the camera hole, I believe it is far too large. I am purchasing a skin for my iPhone as well to eliminate the worries of scratching while in the case. (which is something I recommend anyways when using a case, because even though you use the case to prevent scratches often small particles end up inside your case causing it to rub and scratch the device! Easily preventable with a cheap skin.) I’m buying a skin from dbrand.com, fair price and awesome precision.

    If you don’t mind me asking, which case do you use as your daily driver for the iPhone 6? Top 3?

    Cheers.

  • Rich October 28, 2014, 7:20 pm

    Just curious what case do you use as your daily driver ? Great review..

  • Bill Henderson October 28, 2014, 7:33 pm

    My daily case is the Speck Candy Shell Grip. As I said in the review, If Tech 21 would reduce the size of the lens window, I would swap cases.

  • patrick November 7, 2014, 2:30 pm

    Does it offer enough protection from bending? this case seems rather bendy

  • Bill Henderson November 7, 2014, 4:35 pm

    Patrick,
    The sides are stiffer and thicker than they appear in the photos. i think the Tactical case will protect against bending in normal use. If the phone is sat on—well, that’s another story. It’s not that kind of case.

  • patrick November 13, 2014, 4:39 am

    Another reviewer says that tech21 tactical for iphone 6 plus is a little flimsy on the sides. would you say its true with your case? on a 1-10 scale could you rate how the case perform in terms of the fitting? thanks a bunch

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