Tech21 Impact Snap D3O Case with Cover Review

Tech21 Impact Snap D3O Case with Cover Review

D3O is an amazing material that is soft until stuck, after which it goes rock hard and absorbs the shock throughout the material. If you haven’t already seen this material in action I’d recommend searching for D3O on YouTube for videos including phones and even eggs being thrown at full force against the wall and surviving without a mark.

Tech21 are leading the way in building D3O into cases to protect our precious gadgets. This review is of their Impact Snap Case with Cover for the Samsung Galaxy S4.



Build Quality

The Impact Snap covers the back of your phone with reinforced polycarbonate along with two strips of D3O to absorb the shocks. Despite the claims this plastic doesn’t seem to be particularly high quality, and I’ve read reports of it cracking after a few months.

The cover has faux leather at the front with a suede like material on the inside, and with D3O embedded. Overall quality is good although the light grey suede of this case is a huge dirt / pet hair magnet.




These cases are marketed for their impact protection, so I was disappointed to discover that there is nothing to attach the front cover to the screen meaning it can just flap about.  Drop tests found that the cover would fly open during most falls.

Making matters worse, the plastic back does not extend above the screen meaning that it gets no protection if this falls and opens face down. Tests found this to happen around one third of the time, and the phone actually fell out of the case a couple of times. To add to the design woes, although there is D3O along the back it does not completely cover the corners where I’d have thought it’s most needed.

Accessibility was fine, with well positioned cut-outs and good space around all ports and buttons.


In Use

The D3O does add a little bulk and weight to this case, but overall it feels good in the hand and doesn’t get in the way during every day use.

Compared to a lot of similar cases with this form factor, there are no credit card slots or pockets to allow you to use this as a wallet.




Tech21 Impact Snap cases are available on Amazon ranging from about £12 to £24 in the UK or $15 to $35 in the States.




D3O is an impressive material and I was excited to see how it performed in a case. However the design flaws of this Impact Snap case negate any benefits that the D3O might bring, and there are many cheaper cases without D3O that I’d rather trust my phone inside.

If you have a tendency to drop your phone then unfortunately I can’t recommend this particular case, but Tech21 do have many other designs available in a range of colours and for a range of devices. Follow the link below to check them out…


Associate Editor and part of the team of gadget reviewers at DroidHorizon. Also been known to dabble in software development to pay the bills.

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