With the arrival of the iPhone 5, smartphone accessory companies are all undoubtedly racing to get their products heard to be the selected choice of accompaniment to this season’s hot new gadgets. Of the many phone cases we saw at Pepcom Holiday Spectacular in New York City this week, Tech21 definitely caught our attention. At first, it was the array of neatly boxed, sleek cases that brought us over to the table. But then, the orange goop. Oh, the orange goop.
I spoke to Michael Pratt, the U.S. rep for Tech21 (a United Kingdom-based company), who was more than willing to explain and demonstrate why Tech21’s cases provide a scientific solution to case durability. This brightly colored putty is actually the “D30 Impact Material” Tech21 crafts its cases with, and the putty, in its raw form, is extremely malleable and bouncy. When you roll it up into a ball and drop it on the floor, the material springs immediately back up. The ability for it to alleviate tension allows the case to protect your gadgets better, because D30 helps to distribute the force when the case is dropped rather than break at that sweet spot that receives impact.
What was ever crazier is that Pratt was more than willing to show me how sturdy this goop is. A few fingers under the impact material and right hand armed with a mallet, he slams the mallet straight onto this own left hand with the goop as his only protectant. The result? He was fine, I was thoroughly shaken, and the demonstration was slightly gimmicky but makes it clear: this stuff is hardcore.
With the material, Pratt says this allows Tech21 to build cases that are thin, lightweight but more protective than ever. The new line is available now for the Samsung Galaxy S3, iPhone 4/4S, and HTC One S; the iPhone 5 lineup is expected to be out within a few weeks. Cases start at $40 and go up for bigger, badder, more extensive gadget care. We have to admit, the whole hitting your hand behind a putty thing may be a bit of a showoff tactic, but the scientific explanation and molecular level logics are definitely intriguing.