End of the World? I Don’t Care, My iPhone is Shielded in Griffin’s Survivor Case [Review]


survivor cover-2

When the brimstone rains down and hell freezes over (or whatever the heck is supposed to happen) on Judgement Day, making sure my iPhone stays safe in Griffin’s damn near impervious-to-everything, military-spec Survivor case ($50) means I’ll be able to tweet the whole thing. Assuming there’s still Internet and power and stuff.

The fact that Griffin says the Survivor has been “independently tested and certified to meet conditions outlined in US Department of Defense MIL-STD-810” may or may not actually mean anything useful; however, the case really does smack of precision-milled, military grade equipment.

Just like the Otterbox Defender and its ilk, The Survivor’s two-piece case and heavily muscled, shock-absorbing molded-rubber outer housing take a little effort to squeeze an iPhone into (which, by the way, can be either the AT&T or Verizon version); but the two plastic inner shell pieces snap together seamlessly and once in, the iPhone feels snug and extremely secure.

All the tolerances for the closures seem super-tight, and when battened down for danger, everything remains sealed. The flaps for the headphone jack, mute switch and 30-pin dock are all massive and extremely precise fits. The flap for the rear camera is designed with a slick little trick that lets you fold down the flap and secure it to the back of the case.

Buttons are easy to work and the big home-button bump is a nice touch. The mute switch is deeply recessed, but even so only a little tricky to access.

The case comes with a slim clip that doubles as a stand, and was easy to detach, yet stayed securely attached when required. The clip itself doesn’t seem as robust as the rest of the case and might be the Survivor’s weak link, if there is one.  The only other downside is that, with the rubber housing being so thick, the sides of the screen were a little difficult to reach at times.

But here’s the question you’re burning to see answered: how much abuse can this thing really stand up to, and did we put it through its paces like the Griffin mooks did in this video here (in which they tried to kill a Survivor-wrapped iPhone by dropping it, violently throwing it on the ground, into a wall then down a hill before eventually having to resort to actually placing it under the wheel of a V8-equipped, 4000-plus-pound Dodge and peeling out on top of it).

Being far more cowardly and/or less crazy, we pretty much did none of that. We did, however, conduct our own not-nearly-as-spectacular-yet-still-useful battery of tests by covering it in dirt, running it under sprinklers several times and dropping it from a height of about 4.5 feet, all of which it passed with flying colors.

Bottom line: This ridiculously over-engineered, superbly designed case is it — this is the new standard in iPhone armor.

[xrr rating=90%]

The Survivor deployed and ready for action with stand extended and camera flap opened and secured to the back of the case.

The Survivor en route. Note the tight tolerances between the headphone jack plug and the shell on the right.




  • dougitdesign

    the color is bad.

  • JW.

    Love watching people ‘try’ to stick these ‘over-engineered’ cases in their pockets.

  • To The Mothership!

     everytime i have mine in my pocket voice control comes on and calls people and plays music in my pocket the case doesnt lay flat its bubbled out like the rubber is to thick on the backside and so the home button gets pushed supper easy anyone else have this problem? i thought about cutting the backside of the rubber down a bit and making it lay flat but just don’t know if that will cause me more problems with actuly hitting the home button

  • B421861

    same issue. 

  • :D

     Surely i’m not the only one thinking “Pip Boy 3000” ?

  • Snugglebuggle

    Apple sucks! You know how hard I hate Apple? Well, let me tell you: I won’t even eat apples. Only oranges, baby. Because, if it’s Apple? Yeah. It sucks. Have you ever noticed how real apples get worms? Yeah. That’s right. Apple attracts worms. Little worms that are ugly and slimey. Not like the one that hung out with Oscar the Grouch, because he was a stand-up worm. No. We’re talking nasty-ass worms. 

    Yeah, fuck Apple. Fuck Apple’s holey, wormy ass. 

  • Guest


    The converse of user friendly.

  • Chris

     they should pair this case with g-form’s technology

  • cheesy11

     its like adding a thick jacket to a brick, why would you do that?plus the screen isnt even protected i presume

  • Matthew Geyster

    you might as well not even have an iPhone. It makes the iPhone look like a phone from 2001.

  • Ananonymus

     Yes apple do attract worms! big slimey worms like you!

  • sarakk3

    5 Tips for Building a Great Affiliate Marketing Network

  • elimilchman

    That’s camo green, for the military types. Also comes in black, and whole host of pretty colors.

  • elimilchman

    I wouldn’t cut the rubber down. Have to admit, I didn’t have this problem; then again, the case didn’t spend much time in my pocket — it was too much of a pain to get in and out.

  • elimilchman

    Not really: Bricks are considerably less expensive to replace should they break. And yes, the screen is protected by a plastic film.

  • elimilchman

    Great rant. Just fyi, apple worms aren’t actually slimy (or worms — they’re caterpillars). Also, there’s no “e” in “slimey.” Which of course you’d know if you had a Mac, as they all come standard with the Dictionary app.


  • elimilchman

    This case (and those like it) aren’t about maintaining the iPhone’s slim form-factor — they’re about protecting a fairly delicate palmtop computer under extreme conditions. Frankly, there’s no other case I’d rather wrap my iPhone in when taking it out on even something as tame as a day hike.

  • Rowanova

     Nice review Eli, thanks. It seems a number of the commenters here fail to understand the need for these ultra durable cases. I am a new iPhone user/owner and the owner of a landscape construction business. There are innumerable other contractors and construction people who use iPhones, as well as the outdoor enthusiasts. We all need high level protection for our devices.

    For my line of work, building retaining walls, patios, installing sprinkler/irrigation systems, ponds and waterfalls, planting bushes and trees,…… this would be an ideal safety unit for my project managers and crew leaders who work on the job sites, and in all types of weather conditions. 

    Seems our company could own more iPhones in the not so distant future. 

  • To The Mothership!

    See i don’t have any problem getting it in and out of my pocket but when i sit down my pants make it hit the home button and the home button is actually getting harder to use i think its pushing too hard on the home button.

  • Fabrizio Barth-Milano

    Hey Snugglebuggle, there’s a lot of Shitty Microsoft websites out there, get your ass outta here and let us be happy apple fanboys. Goodbye Worm!

  • Sahanatrymytech

    great great iphone case…really great..

  • Darryl Strawberry

    Try reading.  It helps…

  • bridgebuilder78

    If it’s the end of the world, I’d rather have an AK-47.

  • Shawn Leimbach

    Have you checked out the new Lifeproof cases?  Much more elegant looking and seriously waterproof, too. http://www.lifeproof.com/lifep

    I loved their presentation at Launch in SF earlier this year.  Awesome.

  • Dano376

    Over Engineering_ nah ! Protection worth every dollar it costs – “YES”….
    Your products speak for themselves. I LOVE MY SURVIVOR ; SO DOES MY $$$$$$  Iphone4 ! IT proven it’s worth of PROTECTION almost on a daily basis. People have actually stopped me and asked what kind of housing it was , And where did I get it. 50% of them are in the miltary, others were moms , dads and grand parents. Needless to say, many of them rushed off smiling-knowing their phones were soon to be protected ( BY “GRIFFIN”S SURVIVOR”…
    Lasst wrd;  The Product speaks for itself !

    “Ready for 2012”

  • Dano376

    PS: Oh Yeah, in regards to sticking them in our pockets.. THAT”S WHAT THE BELT CLIP IS FOR. IF you can clip it somewhere. it stays. I fly a lot an use the food tray latch to hold my Iphone4 so I can watch a movie or read emails hands free.