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THESE staggering underwater snaps might have revealed the existence of the biggest great white shark ever recorded. Rather than risk losing your iPhone, we think a true waterproof camera or a GoPro or a waterproof camera is the best way to get photos in the water.
Affordable drone aerial photography and HD aerial video for commercial and residential real estate.
Additionally, with our photo enhancing services, colors pop and buildings practically jump out to invite guests. Please see the aerial video below of me shooting a large shipping vessel in the straits of Gibraltar. But if you have to protect yours from impact, liquid and dust, the best tough waterproof iPhone case, overall, is the $80 Incipio Atlas.
We can produce personal or business based aerial photography, or videography for real estate, music video, movie or commercial use. Draw interest by providing a aerial views using oblique angles or an overhead view to showcase the entire property. It even has a 1-year warranty against water damage to your phone.But we also have a pick for a sport camera case to turn your smartphone into a quasi-GoPro action sports camera. And finally, I recommend a serious dive case for an iPhone that can go to over 100 feet of depth.Why You Should Believe Us (and How We Tested)My editor Brian Lam helped me test this case and the competition in Mexico and Indonesia, as well as the ocean and a pool in Hawaii.
As an ocean exploration journalist and founder of the Wirecutter, I don’t think any technology writer is as equipped to test these cases as he is.He lives in Honolulu and tested all of these cases by verifying their seals were dust free and by swimming a half mile in open water dragging them behind him and roughing them up up to 10 feet underwater during freedives.
He also kept them in a pool overnight at six feet of depth, to challenge their seals over time–most cases are only rated for an hour at their given depth so this is a really great way to test minor design flaws that would expose them over time or keep them from going deeper than their rated spec in case you needed to drop down for a moment. He also tested the deep dive case on an expedition as a fellow with MacGillivray Freeman films in Indonesia, to 80 feet.For non-water sports, ruggedness, shock absorbing designs and materials as well as build quality was factored in.
For action sports camera cases, meant to take a smartphone and transform them into a GoPro kind of camera, things like accessories (mounting options) were also important.Before he founded The Wirecutter, he ran the gadget blog Gizmodo for half a decade and worked on the Test and Fetish section at Wired Magazine before that. Then ruggedness and screen protection comes in, but that’s not as important because you shouldn’t be abusing your phone by dropping it, anyhow. Ultimately you want a case to have a good trade off between protective ability and thinness, but thinness isn’t a huge concern, either. Lastly, you want to decide if you want a case for light water use, heavier sport camera use or for true diving.Why The IncipioThe Incipio is part of the class of light duty waterproof cases good enough for surface swimming, shallow snorkeling and boating and splashing around in the pool.

It’s the best at what it does.It’s good, like its peers, for at least 6 feet of depth for an hour, which we verified first hand in the ocean and in the pool.
In fact, the Incipio beat out every single light duty case in the difficult endurance overnight pool test, emerging with only a bit of condensation–other light duty cases filled with a few thimbles of water or outright flooded completely. It performed, like most others, in our open water swim and shallow freedive test, very well, only showing a slight bit of condensation but no droplets. Other cases performed similarly although some also flooded during this easier test, too.Even if your particular Atlas were to flood, the Incipio has a unique 1 year warranty against water damage to your phone–even if we have no experience in making one of these claims, no one else has the balls to offer that and the product quality to more than back it up. It also has a glass screen so you can more clearly see your LCD in the sun than with smudgy plastic and it is also among the thinnest cases out there at about half an inch thick–most rugged cases are 50% to 100% thicker in my experience. It also beats the competition because its headphone and lightning port are the most secure, under a single flap that is very hard to accidentally open compared to all other cases in its range, and the gasket is very well sealed going all the way around and locking with half a dozen snap clips. It costs $90, which is about the same as the other light duty cases here.Except for some pre-production coverage, there are few reputable review of the Atlas, but it has the lessing of Wirecutter writer and iPhone case authority for iLounge Nick Guy.
He gave the Incipio Atlas an A-, “Highly Recommended.” He particularly praised the glass screen’s responsiveness, which protected without inhibiting the screen’s functionality. Listen to me, because I’ve tested nearly all the cases around and this one is great.The CompetitionThe Otterbox Armor is very sturdy, even if it’s too big and not waterproof enough to be our main pick for a light duty case–again, when testing both iPhone 4 and 5 versions, it flooded more easily than our main pick. I wouldn’t get it, but if you want to make it so that your phone is water proof-ish for immersion but not safe in heavy surf or horseplay, and you need to protect it while driving over it in a small car, this is the case.
It’s rated to support 2000 pounds of weight, and has two metal clips that secure the case and its big rubber gasket shut–those keep the water out to the same rating of 6 feet for an hour as the Incipio Atlas. But the ports for headphones and the charge cable aren’t really secured well–and don’t lock into place like on the Incipio, so I believe this is where the case’s waterproofing weakness lies. There’s also no glass screen protector and it’s almost twice as thick as the Incipio Atlas. But unless you really plan on smashing your phone a lot (this could be good for clumsy bouldering) go for the Incipio.The Lifeproof, last year’s favorite, hasn’t changed much except it’s available in an iPhone 5 version. Get this–after an overnight test, I first thought the cases did flawlessly, thinking I was looking at cases that had not even condensation inside.
In the open water quarter mile swim test with occasional shallow dives, both the iPhone 4 and 5 versions flooded partially with about 15% of the case full of water. This is a complete failure, even if by last year’s standards, this was the best light duty waterproof around.The Lifeproof case may have a 1-year water damage guarantee but they don’t have a very secure locking or gasket system, just a simple tiny latch and a tupperware type seal. That isn’t a problem with the beefy armor or the extremely secure yet still just as thin Incipio with its 1 year water damage warranty. I would not enter the water with one in anything but the calmest conditions and it won’t protect your case from much of a drop, either.You’ll notice that published reviews of the Lifeproof are mostly flattering, but know that most assessments, unlike our testing, were done without availability or consideration for new competition. Besides our findings of the case’s fragility, reviewers found the plastic screen cover to inhibit touch responses and make the case feel cheap.
Turns out this is a horrible idea, in general, because if you lose or break your GoPro, its sad, but if you lose or break your phone, you’re going to be pretty annoyed and out a few hundred bucks. The other thing is, on a set of skis or a surfboard or a car, a camera phone is a lot less sleek than a GoPro camera. Things can easily smack it off or wind or water (especially water) has more surface area to pry your precious gadget off your vehicle or body where it can be lost forever.Optrix is the best one of these that I have found, in terms of overall protection.

In overnight endurance tests it was the only one of its peers to survive with zero droplets of water. In fact, a last generation case that I lost off Waikiki beach was later returned to me working a week later by a lifeguard who found it snorkeling on duty. This case is extremely waterproof, even if only rated to 15 feet for an hour, I suspect it can go deeper than that pretty easily.It’s also made out of a very strong plastic, is slimmer than other cases of it’s kind and has a glass wide angle lens with 175 degrees of view (most competition has a plastic lens).
There are also tons of mounting options for almost every sport and Optrix tells me that they’re hoping to build gopro mount compatibility into the case soon. Oh, it has a special app meant to be used to take shots with the case that include g-force, speed and an autofocus lock to keep the video from trying to focus on all the scenery whizzing past your head.Lesser Competition in The Sports Cameraphone Case WorldThe Hitcase (here’s a link to their company page) is a bigger case that seems tougher than the Optrix, but I found that not always to be the case. The Hitcase is rated to 30 feet but the iPhone 4 version it flooded pretty badly in the pool test while the iPhone 5 version, which was brand new and out of the box, had no problem.
To be honest my test is meant to push these cases beyond their limits, but the Optrix did better.
Like the Optrix, the Hitcase allows you to still use the touchscreen when wet (although underwater, touchscreen action is severely limited, understandably).Waterproofing aside, it has the best shock absorption design on account of its bulkiness, with a hard case surrounding a softer inner case, and three locks that keep it securely closed. There’s a pro model ($130 vs $90 for the base model) that has a built in wide angle lens (like a GoPro or what the Optrix has from the get go) to make sure you get the action in frame. Best of all, the case uses GoPro mounting accessories–this last point being the greatest differentiator between it and its peers.
There is one problem with the mount, and that is unlike with the Optrix, which mounts to the center back of the phone, the Hitcase mounts to the bottom of the case, increasing likelyhood of shake during filming and leverage from wind and water on the mount itself. It’s not bad, it’s just that the Optrix is better.One camera system I absoluteIy cannot recommend is the Mophie Outride, which has some weak mounting options that seem too small, and it doesn’t let you control the phones touchscreen without use of a non-waterproof, open faced second back. So, you’re either losing water and dustproofing and screen protection from rocks, or you’re choosing a solid, uncontrollable back that limits your ability to use the touchscreen. Or get a Optrix if you absolutely must use your iPhone for instagramming in weird places where you have to go a little deeper than what the Incipio Atlas will allow. It has an optional GoPro mount and like some other cases they make a useful app that allows you to turn off the camera without exiting the app, so you can save batteries while underwater and reactivate the camera even without use of a touchscreen.
And I often use this camera case in Hawaii and have zero complaints–it’s basically a little pro housing, complete with dedicated buttons and a grip, for your cameraphone.
In the future, Watershot plans to make shutter grips with wireless triggers to make things like surf photography easier. Oh, yes–if you want to do surf photography, this is the only iPhone water housing that I’d dare that with. Get the Incipio if you’re looking for a solid case for light duty in the water and outdoors, and look towards other options–like the Optrix or Watershot–if you’re more serious about taking your cameraphone into the deep.

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