As outlined in other posts, the iPhone is an interesting toy when put through its paces in the backcountry. I take my phone with me in the sand, snow, flour, mud, olive oil, water and over places where it cannot be dropped. When I got my phone, the kneejerk reaction was the non-waterproof OtterBox Defender. It lasted close to a year and a half, and though the rubber fit perfectly around the case, it wore out and allowed grit and lint into the case, scratching the phone, occluding the cameras, proximity sensor and speaker.
The $60 solution resembles a bunker slightly, but is still slimmer than the Otterbox Defender and likely, the still-unreleased OtterBox Armor. It may not be as slim as the LifeProof case, but there’s a good reason for that: full functionality. At its launch in April, the DriSuit Endurance came supplied with underwater earbuds. Want to listen to music or browse the web 15 feet under water? No problem. Not unlike the Defender case, I don’t worry for a second about treating my phone like it’s a set of car keys. It’s thrown on the counter, thrown in the bottom of the pack, dropped in puddles and it still works perfectly fine.
Is the case perfect? No, any time you design a waterproof enclosure for an instrument, let alone a handheld, touchscreen operated computer, phone, camera and music player, there will be compromises. I’ve lived with this case for three months and so far they are far and few between.
- The lanyard makes it wonderfully easy to yank the phone out of your pocket to get a quick photo, or respond otherwise. It is on the wrong end though if you wrap your hand in the loop.
- The plastic housing means that the signal is not degraded as it is in metal cases of this ilk.
- It is necessary to remove the bottom of the case to charge it, but the case is designed for an unlimited amount of phone insertion/removal, unlike the Lifeproof which only allows 30 removals before they suggest that you replace the case.
- Any time you put any sort of plastic lens directly front of a camera lens, the image will be affected. If you expect tack-sharp images from any waterproof case, you are going to be disappointed.
- The sound is dampened slightly, but not nearly as bad as one might expect.
- The screen is covered by a sturdy, plastic and liquid-filled membrane which takes a bit of getting used to, but I feel I can actually type faster thanks to its feedback, plus it does work underwater unlike the more expensive Lifeproof.
In the end, the case has changed the way I use the phone and best of all, DriSuit is a Vermont company.