The Griffin Survivor for iPad Air offers rugged durability at an affordable price.
In the past, we have briefly touched upon the various rugged cases offered for Apple's latest flagship tablet and have conducted an in-depth review of Otterbox's Defender Series for iPad Air. This time around we are taking a detailed look at Griffin's Survivor case which vows to offer military grade protection for your precious tablet all with a price tag of just under $80.
Like many popular mobile device cases, Griffin does have a problem with cheap counterfeits flooding websites like eBay or Amazon for well under the MSRP. While this may look like a great deal to some, it won't be so appealing when the case you receive has a major defect or fails to live up to the military grade protection that a genuine Griffin Survivor case will offer.
Due to this, I would strongly urge any prospective buyers choose to purchase a Survivor case directly from Griffin's website to avoid the risk of getting ripped offer and to ensure you get a genuine product that is worth the $80 price tag. No one likes to get scammed or sold a faulty product so do not let the sight of a potential bargain trick you into buying a knock-off.
Griffin did provide us with a demo Survivor case to make this review possible though rest assured, the remainder of this article is based solely on our “hands-on” experience with the product and no outside influences or bias have affected the outcome of this review.
The Survivor is broken down into three pieces in addition to an optional workstand. The exterior is comprised of a flexible silicone material with extra thick corners that fits snug over the internal structure. The silicone material on the back has a honeycomb style finish that adds some stylistic elements while also aiding with improved grip.
Below this silicone skin, lies two polycarbonate pieces which clip together to offer 360-degree protection of your iPad Air. The back piece harnesses two diamond shaped pieces of foam padding on the inside to help with shock resistance while the front piece features an integrated screen protector.
The multi-position workstand is much smaller than the one included with OtterBox's Defender Series for iPad Air and clips nicely to the case. This optional accessory can come in handy although it suffers from a rather weak build quality and does not provide any added protection when compared to OtterBox's offering which further protects the screen when not in use.
Despite the rugged capabilities, the Survivor case is still visually pleasing which is a tough feat to pull off. When equipped to your device, you will notice it does add some bulk and heft to the iPad Air. While it isn't a drastic difference, the Defender Series for iPad Air does come in with a slightly slimmer profile overall.
The Survivor is a rugged case so it offers some of the highest protection benefits on the market as Griffin boasts this model meets the conditions outlined within the US Department of Defense MIL-STD-810. What type of protection does this mean in everyday terms? First off, it has full 360-degree protection thanks to the 3-piece design and integrated screen protector.
The combination of the exterior silicone skin and the internal foam padding offers protection from vibration including shocks, drops, bumps, and dings. You are still able to access all necessary ports, cameras, buttons, and switches found on the device although they remained covered by the silicone skin while not in use. The advantage to this functionality is increased protection from dust, sand, and rain. In case you were wondering, the Survivor for iPad Air is NOT a waterproof case although it is rated to resist wind and rain for certain period of time. If you're looking for a waterproof solution, I recommend checking out LifeProof's new Fre iPad Air case which is one of the few waterproof options for Apple's newest flagship tablet.
I've been using the Griffin Survivor on my personal iPad Air for the past month and a half. Overall, the experience has been satisfactory although I can honestly say that I prefer OtterBox's Defender Series over the Griffin's Survivor Series. While they both rack up evenly in terms of overall protection benefits, the Defender Series edges out its competitor in nearly all areas. Let me emphasize, the Survivor is a reasonably solid contender when in the market for a rugged iPad Air case. However, I would choose the Defender Series over the Survivor having utilized them both on a day-to-day basis for reasonable length of time.
While both offer a three piece design and an optional workstand, the Defender's design is slimmer, cleaner, and more visually appealing. Griffin's design is rather confusing when trying to apply or remove your iPad Air from the case and it took me a few minutes to figure out the best way to accomplish the task.
The silicone skin has several practical benefits in terms of shock protection, but it does add significant bulk and this skin sometimes slips out of the rear grooves which makes me think the design wasn't clearly thought out. The ports and buttons are all covered by the silicone skin although the built-in tabs to access these necessary components are awkward as they pull out the opposite way you would expect.
While its a minor gripe, I've found the black silicone skin does seem to attract dust and dirt quite easily. The multi-position workstand can be handy although it isn't nearly as stable as OtterBox's and it feels as though it could easy break over time. The viewing angles are very limited and the two available angles weren't ideal for my needs.
When utilizing the iPad Air's integrated speakers, I noticed the Survivor was muffling the audio capabilities thus producing a slightly weaker overall volume. Upon further inspection, I realized Griffin blocked off the speakers using a thin paper-like netting which I'd assume offers added speaker protection though sacrificing some audio quality in return. The screen protector is sits flush and there isn't noticeable gap that would hinder the performance of the touchscreen.
After a month and a half of use, my Survivor case has shown little wear from my day to day use. I have dropped my iPad a few times from 4 to 5 feet in height and the case offered adequate protection without any resulting damage to my device.
In the end, I found the Griffin Survivor For iPad Air to be a solid rugged case that provided adequate protection for my device throughout month and a half of testing. The overall build quality and cosmetic appeal is pleasing, but I think the 3-piece design and workstand could be improved. When up against OtterBox's Defender Series, I'd rather choose OtterBox's offering as it is slimmer, more appealing, and includes a better workstand for tabletop use. With that being said, both are solid choices that should provide more than enough protection for your iPad Air. I would recommend either to any prospective buyer although I personally would choose the Defender over Griffin's Survivor as it better suits my preferences.