REVIEW: Tech21 Impact Mesh Case

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Imagine this scenario: you are balancing books on your arms, rushing to get to your next lecture and you suddenly receive a notification on your phone. You get your phone out of your pocket and try responding to the message when you nearly trip and your phone suddenly drops on the ground.

This happened to me earlier this year – I dropped my phone, and I didn’t realised that I had dropped my phone until I accidentally stepped on top of it. You can obviously see where this story is going. There were scratches dents here and there on the body, and the screen was cracked.

No one wants to be in that situation, because the cost of a screen repair is very expensive – unless you do it yourself, but only you are confident that you can possibly do it without screwing it up.

And that’s why I urge people to get a case for their phone. However, there are so many cases out there in the market in many different varieties. A thin case doesn’t add more weight but can offer less protection; while a thick case can offer more protection, but adds to the thickness or weight of the phone.

Enter the Impact Mesh from Tech21 – a case designed to be somewhere in between the two opposites. It is a relatively thick case (compared to other cases my friends and my brother uses) but it doesn’t add any unnecessary weight or thickness to the phone. But this isn’t what sets the Impact Mesh apart from other cases; it is that orange material that surrounds the edges of the case, known as D3O.

D3O is a non-newtonian polymer and is somewhat similar to Silly Putty. However, the material is known for its shock absorption – where, in its raw state, it is able to lock its molecules from a free-flowing state to absorb the shock. After absorbing much of the shock, it returns back to a free-flowing state. It has also been used in footwear, sportswear and with law enforcement. However, Tech21 is the only one to be using D3O in consumer electronics.

But the all important question is: does it protect the phone?

In order to test the case, I had to be a bit deliberate in dropping my Galaxy S3 because I’m normally really careful with my phone – except for that one time. I didn’t go brutal because it is my day-to-day phone when I’m not reviewing another smartphone and I am still scarred by that experience of dropping my phone and screen cracking. But I did drop it several times on the floor (one really high up) and on tables like I was a petulant child.

It managed to survive all those drops.

And while the case does really well in absorbing shock, it only works where the D3O material is on the case. If your phone hits the ground on its back, where it is just thick plastic, then the phone will still absorb most of the shock and can still do some damage to your phone (most likely internally). The Impact Mesh, like all cases, does not guarantee that your phone will be indestructible – there will always be a way to damage the phone while in the case (though, I haven’t found it yet). However, it does reduce the risk of taking damage compared to other cases.

While Tech21 has cases for a wide range of devices, the Impact Mesh is available on the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, iPhone 5 (and iPhone 5s) and the iPad mini. You can find them in Harvey Norman, Vodafone and Apple stores in Australia.

  • Score:

    8.0 / 10

  • The Good:

    Doesn’t add any weight or thickness to the phone; able to reduce shock and protect the phone if lands on the D3O material

  • The Bad:

    Design is a bit bland, and buttons can sometimes be hard to push.

  • Bottom Line:

    A great case for those who want the best possible protection for their phone without the bulk.

Join the Conversation

  • Lindum

    It works in theory but does it in reality? Only one of the 6 sides is protected.