Tech21Impact Snap for Galaxy S3 review: Tech21Impact Snap for Galaxy S3

What's inside
The bright orange area inside the case is the D30 material that's at the core of Tech21's products ( see this slideshow from CTIA for a closer look at D30). Though here it's not quite as malleable as when it's in its "natural" form, you can use the Impact Snap to test D30's unique properties for yourself.

Inside the Impact Snap you can see the bright orange D30 material. Josh Miller/CNET

Press your fingernail into it slowly, for example, and you'll feel the material give slightly. Your fingernail will leave a slight impression that will disappear instantly. Try striking it sharply with a key, however, and D30 will take the blow without leaving a mark. Likewise, while you can bend the Impact Snap when you squeeze your hand slowly, it's stiff when you knock it against a table. That's just how D30 is supposed to work -- absorb the blows and direct them away from your phone.

Daily use
You attach the case by snapping it onto the back of the phone (how else do you think it got its name?) Removing it is just as easy; just pull gently on one side and it pops off. When I was using the case I had no problems accessing the controls or ports and it didn't interfere with taking photos.

Without a phone attached I subjected the Impact Snap to a fair amount of abuse. I hit it with a hammer, stomped on it with a heavy shoe, and scratched the D30 section with a knife. Each test left no marks, though take note that you will leave a scratch if you take a knife to the rubbery material on the case's rear side. I didn't think that was a concern, though, since the Impact Snap is saving the back of your phone from the same fate. Squeezing the case in my hand caused no damage either. As soon as I released my grip it snapped back into its natural shape.

The Impact Snap has holes for the Galaxy S3's camera, speaker, and flash. Josh Miller/CNET

While it was wearing the Impact Snap I threw a Galaxy S3 on the floor several times, banged it against a counter (rear first, of course), and smacked it with the handle of a screwdriver. Each time the case did its job of absorbing the blows for the handset.

I wish, however, that the front of the Impact Snap curved farther around the front of the device. Though the end of the case is slightly raised above the Galaxy S3's bezel, I doubt it would be enough to protect your handset if it fell face first on an uneven surface (a flat surface shouldn't pose a problem). I was unable to prove my theory, but it made me nervous just the same. Granted, expanding the case would make it bulkier, but I'd want to protect that big, beautiful display.

Conclusion
As this is the first Galaxy S3 case that I've tested, I'm unable to say that the Tech21 Impact Snap is the best on the market. Even so, I'd recommend it strongly. It should protect your Galaxy S3 from serious abuse while letting you show off the phone's eye-catching design and luscious screen. Sure, I wish it had a little more protection around front, but it should absorb the blows of day-to-day use.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Tech21 Impact Snap for Galaxy S3 (White)

Part Number: TE0115YWH003W

MSRP: $39.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Color white
  • Weight 1 oz