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

The Tech21 Impact Snap is a cheap and effective way to safeguard your Galaxy S3 from daily abuse.

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Kent German
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Kent German

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Kent is a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and has worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog, or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).

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Success always brings a cell phone at least three things: fame, fortune, and lots of accessories.

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Tech21Impact Snap for Galaxy S3

The Good

The <b>Tech21 Impact Snap</b> case delivers strong protection for your Galaxy S3. The thin design won't add excessive bulk to your smartphone.

The Bad

The Impact Snap could offer more cushion around the Galaxy S3's display.

The Bottom Line

The Tech21 Impact Snap case is a cheap and effective way to safeguard your Galaxy S3 from daily abuse.

Walk into any carrier store and the shelves will be lined with cases, car chargers, and syncing docks as soon as the hottest handsets go on sale. That certainly happened with the Apple iPhone and now it's the same with the Samsung Galaxy S3.

A simple design
With its sleek design and expansive display, the Galaxy S3 is a looker. And even though Molly Wood showed us that the handset can take a beating, the excessively danger-prone may prefer the peace of mind that a case brings.

Tech21 Impact Snap (pictures)

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Already there are many choices available -- David Carnoy rounded up a few options here -- but I'd have to put the Tech21 Impact Snap case near the top of the list. Strong, lightweight, and slim, the Impact Snap adds the protection you need without interrupting the handset's striking profile. It's also affordable, at $29.99.

Made by the same company that brought us the Impact Band and the Tech Ops Submariner case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, the Impact Snap comes in black, white, and blue. The back of the case has an understated monochrome design with just the Tech21 logo and cut-outs for the camera, the speaker, and the flash. The case also makes room for the headset jack on top, the power control and volume rocker on the sides, and the charger port on the handset's bottom sie.

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.