Griffin Survivor case for tablets review: Griffin Survivor case for tablets is tough, but not rugged

The Good The Griffin Survivor case is available for select Apple, Amazon, and Samsung tablets. It ships with a sturdy removable stand and provides a healthy amount of padding to protect from drops.

The Bad The back and front panels are susceptible to scratches, the plastic screen protector makes displays hard to see in bright environments, and the clear silicon wrap discolors quickly.

The Bottom Line If you need an extra layer of durability, the Griffin Survivor cases protect well against small drops and minor spills, but those who need a rugged case which can take more of a beating should look elsewhere.

6.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6

A good quality case can quell the anxiety of casually dropping your favorite portable gadget, so it's no surprise that Griffin extends its durable line of Survivor cases to a few popular tablet models. Slate owners who desire extra protection for their devices will find the cases to be a cheaper investment than replacing a broken tablet, but the security offered from the Survivor cases is limited.

The Griffin Survivor cases can't withstand extreme conditions -- they're not waterproof and can only endure a 6-foot drop -- so they work best to protect the tablet from minor spills and falls. They still prove to be sturdy and durable, however, if you're looking for a case to make your slate indestructible, keep looking.

The plastic screen protector makes the sharp and colorful screens look dull. Xiomara Blanco/CNET


The Survivor cases consist of three separate pieces: a polycarbonate front panel with a purportedly scratch-resistant screen, a polycarbonate back panel with internal foam shock pads, and a silicone cladding that wraps around the entire thing like a loving group hug.

The cases fit like a glove for each specific model. If you're lamenting the lack of availability for your non-Apple, Amazon or Samsung slates, understand that the individual cases cater each particular model and are purposefully designed to maximize the usability of the tablet while ensconced in the Survivor case.

Foam padding on the inside of the case helps absorb shock. Xiomara Blanco/CNET

The silicone cladding provides specific port covers for connections; the Apple iPad models have sealed, removable port covers for the rear camera, Thunderbolt connector, the silent/screen rotation button, and headphone jack, while the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX model has two for the Micro-USB port and headphone jack.

Buttons on the cases take on shapes similar to the buttons on the tablets -- including the capacitive set of menu, home, and back buttons on the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 -- and protrude enough to be easily found. The Survivor case for the Kindle Fire HDX includes grates for the Dolby powered pair of speakers on the rear, however the iPad model doesn't have anything similar.

Sunbathing after a good wash. Xiomara Blanco/CNET

In order to put the tablet in the case, first, you place it inside of the back panel, then you wrap the silicone cladding around the entire thing and stretch it so its edges meet the front of the tablet. In order for the front panel to snap on well, the silicone cladding has to wrap around the entire back panel.

This assembly takes some time, but if you don't do it correctly, you run the risk of damaging your tablet. The times I incorrectly snapped the case on, the front panel consistently flew off after a short drop.

The scratch-resistant design was a challenge to be met. Xiomara Blanco/CNET

The Survivor cases also come with a removable stand that's sturdy when propped up correctly. It easily clips onto the case and can be left there for frequent use. There's only one viewing angle -- it props the tablet up to about 100 degrees -- so it's best for video watching.

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