Tech21 Evo Xplorer

A rugged case for rugged people. Who have an iPhone 6.

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Tech21 Evo Xplorer
  • Tech21 Evo Xplorer
  • Tech21 Evo Xplorer
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5

Pros

  • Keeps out water and dust
  • Good impact protection
  • Small size

Cons

  • Muffled mic
  • Parts can go missing
  • Expensive
  • Only available for iPhone 6 and 6S

Bottom Line

Useful for those who need their iPhone to be rugged all the time. But not casual users.

Would you buy this?

If you exist in an environment that contains dust, water or a higher-than-usual chance of impact damage then you’ll either need a special rugged phone or a rugged case to put your phone in.

Tech21’s Evo Xplorer is a two piece case that seals your iPhone (6 or 6S) inside and protects it against impact to 2m (IP68 rating). Note that while the raised bezel will protect the screen when dropping on a flat floor, the thin screen protector is unlikely to help much if it lands screen-first on a pointy rock or similar.

The screen protector is nonetheless responsive to touch (unlike others we've tested) so it’s not frustrating when swiping around screens and selecting icons.

There’s naturally a snug fit to the phone and putting the case on and taking it off is quite a chore, so don’t expect to be doing this regularly.

The buttons on the side are still operable – the 'silence switch' becomes a dial while the volume and power buttons are the same but are now quite hard to press.

At the bottom there’s a screw cap cover the headphones port. This can be removed and a separate adapter can be inserted to allow you to connect your headphones. Both the cover and adapter went missing very quickly for us unfortunately. While we know they’re buried in an office somewhere, it does go to show that if you’re using this in the field and misplace these small and fiddly items, much of the protection afforded by this case is suddenly rendered useless.

There’s a sturdy cover over the Lightening connector port too. It’s very solid and hard work to open and close though it should loosen up over time. This might also rule it out for kids who will struggle to open it at all without help.

However, this was the main issue. The cover really needs to be open to make a phone call otherwise the microphone is muffled. Our tester found that even with this slot open she was having to shout to make herself heard on regular phone calls and that this got annoying quickly.

Ultimately the case does what it says it does and will be boon for the certain demographics who need the protection, can live with regular, fiddly port openings, don’t mind shouting and who don't mind paying the massive price. For the regular consumer, the protection won't be worth the muffled microphone, fiddly port openings or the money.

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