Summertime gadget: Waterproof iPhone Case (updated)



Staying in the water as much as possible has been our mission throughout this heat wave, so on Sunday we were grateful to be invited to hang out with friends at their place on nearby Putah Creek.

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It also gave Aron a chance to do a side-by-side comparison of two new waterproof iPhone cases, the Endurance Waterproof iPhone5 by DriSuit, and the Griffin Survivor Waterproof and Catalyst for iPhone 5—which, update: I do not recommend. We’d had the DriSuit Endurance for the iPhone 4 and were really happy with it. I’d place a good waterproof case up there at the top of my list of travel accessories. Nevermind that it’s fun to take pictures while playing in a splashpad or snorkeling in the sea (even if no one else wants to look at your poorly lit, colorless photos of fish), it’s perfect for taking photos on a sandy beach, tossing in a bag with your wet towel, or adding a sense of security on a bumpy boat ride (like the wet one we took to the Gili Islands this past summer). Or taking photos of your shoes underwater, as the case may be.

The DriSuit has a easy locking system and a flexible screen that lets you easily use your touch screen underwater—which is really key for focusing. The Griffin is more attractive and seems less cloudy, but the screen is harder to use. The DriSuit also has a deeper maximum depth. However, once Aron put his phone into the DriSuit, he couldn’t get it back out. The film he has on his screen to protect it from scratches (I have the same) stuck to the case and it was impossible to remove. We literally had to cut it open, destroying it in the process. Major bummer!

Aron, however, got more of a testing opportunity with the Griffin than he’d bargained for when he… gulp… dropped his phone in the creek. Most of the water was clear to the bottom and it would have been easy to find. He happened to drop it by the banks, in a cluster of reeds.

Luckily, after some tense searching, he felt it with his foot and recovered it. It still worked! Huge success. However, he discovered that there was some moisture in the case, which led him to conclude that he wouldn’t choose the Griffin for snorkeling, only for splashing on the beach or on a boat ride. (Update: it worked at first. But either after that afternoon or after the following time we used it by the river, Aron’s phone stopped working and we discovered that it had completely corroded inside. Ugh. Don’t buy this one!)

Our final verdict was, if you don’t have a film on your screen that will hinder slipping your phone in and out of the case, to go for the DriSuit. But the real lesson learned was: all waterproof cases are only as good as their wrist strap. Our next step is to either try the Lifeproof case or to buy a separate, cheap underwater camera (though I’d be sad not to have a solution for the iPhone).

Have you used another waterproof case? What are its pros and cons? I think they’re such a great summertime accessory!

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Let’s Discuss

  1. Louise

    No case to report about but …..that picture of Hudson and the lobster-looking creature is just brilliant! Defensive precautions maybe?!


  2. I know this is craaazy, but – have you thought about/do you have a waterproof camera? I got a cheapy (like, $50ish) Kodak Easyshare one before a trip to Barbados, and it was pretty amazing if I do say so myself. :)

    • Ashley

      I think you might have the right idea to do away with the risk! We may be going that route. But I did really love having the waterproof case for the iPhone as I still often wanted to have it with me on trips to the beach and such. We even used it as a baby monitor once on the beach in St. Martin.

  3. I definitely wouldn’t recommend a LifeProof case. We had one for all of 3 days. My son jumped in the pool with it and poof – the area that you charge your phone opened a little and it filled with water. Also – the only way that you can charge the phone is by using the apple charger – you can’t use a car charger unless you use the USB connection. It won’t fit. I would go with the cheap waterproof camera route.