If you are looking for a sturdy, scratch-resistant, drop protective case for your iPhone 6s Plus that is made in the USA, you might want to check out Speck’s new GammaShell. A definite departure from Speck’s typical case, the GammaShell features D3O, a material with special impact dispersion abilities, combined with a TPU interior and a polycarbonate exterior to deliver what would appear to be superior drop protection. It is only listed as ‘meets or exceeds military drop test standards’ on its packaging (which means that it is tested to survive a certain number of 4 ft drops), but it looks like it would definitely fall into the ‘exceeds’ territory, rather than just meeting that standard. It is interesting to me that the GammaShell uses D3O, a shock absorbing and shock dispersing material used in military and motorcycle protective gear as part of its protective arsenal. I first became aware of D3O from its use in Tech21 phone cases, where it was an integral part of their phone case protection strategy for years. In the past year or two, however, it has all but disappeared from Tech21’s lineup of cases…replaced by an in-house protective material called FlexShock. From an outsider’s perspective, it would appear that Tech21 may no longer have a license to use D3O in its products…opening up the use of D3O to other companies, such as Speck. At any rate, all speculation aside, all I can say is that the GammaShell uses D3O, and it appears to use it much more liberally than Tech21 ever did. While Tech21 would line the outer rim of its TPU cases with a small ribbon of D3O, Speck has placed a substantial layer of the startlingly orange D3O extending all over the back and sides of the GammaShell case. One can only imagine that this must provide significant protection to the phone inside.
The GammaShell is a two piece case, and arrives unassembled…presumably so that consumers can have the fun of seeing the interesting construction of the case. The orange D3O is fused to the TPU lining and the hard polycarbonate shell is all by itself. Putting the two together is easy and can be done before putting the phone in the case. In fact, once put together, there is no reason to ever take them apart again, unless you really want to demonstrate the case to your friends. Installation of the phone in the case is easy…easier than a standard CandyShell case. It is also easy to remove, although the fit seems nice and secure when on. Overall, it seems like a very serious and protective case and is an excellent addition to Speck’s lineup.
* Protective: meets or exceeds military drop test standards
* Patriotic: made in the USA!
* Nice lip: like all the Speck cases I’ve reviewed, the GammaShell has a moderately high protective lip which should provide good protection to the screen in the event of a fall.
* Highly scratch-resistant: the outer polycarbonate shell has a durable matte finish which seems very scratch resistant.
* Protects with D3O: Contains a substantial layer of the high-tech material D3O, coating the entire back and sides of the phone case, which should provide serious impact protection.
* Generous port openings: there shouldn’t be any issues with third party cables.
* Well sized camera opening: no flash back issues.
* Buttons aren’t as clicky and easy to press as CandyShell buttons. The power button is a bit hard to press; the volume buttons are better, but still not up to the usual high Speck CandyShell standard.
* Thicker and heavier than a standard CandyShell case: while not what I would characterize as thick, the GammaShell is noticeably thicker than a regular CandyShell and a bit heavier. In fact, it is exactly the same size as a Speck MightyShell.
* Not much grip at all on this case. If you like grip, you might want to look at a case such as the CandyShell Grip. On the positive side, it should slide easily in and out of pockets and handbags.
Conclusion: Overall, this is a very nice case which should provide significant protection for your iPhone 6s+. It seems very well made and has a pleasant feel in the hand. I also really appreciate the opportunity to support a US-made phone case. The GammaShell is available directly from Speck and retails for $44.95 for the iPhone 6s Plus version:
Finally, if you’d like more details, here is a link to my YouTube review: