As a working media hack, or as my friend’s jokingly call it, “influencing” my cell phone is a tool that I need to conduct business. Having my phone, video camera and email machine handy at all times is a must, and as the price of these pocket computers goes up, so does the need to protect them. We recently received a couple of cases from Gear4, and opted to use the larger, more robust Platoon option since I’m notoriously abusive to electronics. The Gear4 Platoon is rated to protect your iPhone for drops up to 20 feet and is also offered with an optional holster, for when you really want to look like a baller. Before we get to the story about how my iPhone 11 Pro Max got run over by three dirt bikes on a rough and rowdy hill climb, let’s learn a bit more about the case.
THE LAB Gear4 is a popular phone case manufacturer that has been killing it in the UK and is now growing here in North America. They offer everything from slim cases to heavy duty cases for rugged applications. The Gear4 Platoon uses a two-part construction design where a durable outer rim protects the edges of the phone from drops and damage from impacts while the softer, inner layer offers some squish to keep your phone safe inside the shell. The outer edge also has port covers for the charger and silence ports, which helps reduce debris from entering the phone’s sensitive areas. Gear4 gives the outer shell some relief cut areas which make it comfortable to hold in the hand and micro-rest areas for smart phone operation.
The backplate has a crisscross knurl textured finish to offer increased grip while holding the phone. Gear4 uses a rugged polycarbonate with integrated D3O for the backplate to further aid in impact protection and durability. While durable, the backplate is still compatible with wireless chargers.
Gear4 guarantees the Platoon will protect your phone on drops up to 20 feet in height, so dropping the phone out of your car or off the desk won’t be too much of a concern for this case.
THE DIRT When I first inserted my iPhone 11 Pro Max into the Gear4 Platoon I felt at ease. The case was bigger and thicker than the one I purchased with my phone, yet I was prepared to acclimate to the larger size for the increase in protection. I opted to not use the holster as my baseball dad game isn’t that strong yet and I don’t have a general contractor’s license, so instead I shoved the phone into my front pocket and began to test it out.
Over the course of the last four months I’ve dropped the phone no less than 20 times from speeds varying from 0 MPH to 25 MPH. The drops have been on concrete, asphalt, dirt, rocks and even some mud. As I said before, notoriously dangerous when it comes to electronics!
The last drop I had was the king of them all and was actually the catalyst to sit down and write this review. I was out dirt biking with some friends and testing some new products. I heard my phone ringing off the hook and during one of our snack breaks I pulled the phone out of my handlebar mounted Giant Loop ZigZag bag. A handy accessory! Out of some frustration of the recent call and stress of the work I needed to get back to the office and finish, I stuffed my phone back in the bar bag and forgot to zip it up. I pulled out of our break spot and headed a half mile down a dirt logging road before pointing the bike straight up a rocky, manzanita bush-lined hill climb with lots of tree branches and logs in the way. As I climbed the hill I felt rocks and small tree branches flying up and hitting my legs before I felt a larger bump hit me in the crotch. Feeling the “log” wedged between my legs, I shifted my hips and shook free the flung up debris. After making it to the top I turned to let see my friends charging up the hill kicking up dust. As I reached for my phone to get a video, #influencersinthewild, I saw the open bar bag and felt my stomach drop.
It took us 40 minutes to find the phone, but we did! It was so buried that we couldn’t even hear the ringing. It wasn’t until my friend had his helmet off and was walking a section by foot that he heard the ground vibrating and uncovered my phone. We blew the dust off, I pulled it out of the case and incredibly, it still works! I’m glad I installed the glass screen protector as the phone most definitely got run over by a earth eating rear tire, judging by the skid marks.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Many times consumers freak out at the amount of money they’re spending on an item and choose to skimp on products that will end up saving them money in the long run. If you can’t afford the protection, you can’t afford the product is my thought. After spending the last few months abusing this phone and case, I’m confident in its ability to protect one of my most important work tools. The Gear4 Platoon is absolutely the reason my iPhone 11 Pro Max is still working today and I’ll certainly be happy to share the information and story with anyone who’s looking to buy a quality smart phone case.
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