[Review] DryCASE: Waterproof iPhone 4 Case. #drycase

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Since the dawn of modern digital technology, it’s been known that water and electrons are not friends. When delicate electronics are involved, this incompatibility is even more pronounced. And yet, we as humans encounter such scenarios and even encourage it day after day. Though mobile phones in particular are one device that could benefit the most from water resistant properties.

With that said, there have been a few waterproof cases for phones released in the last few years. However, none of them have been all that useful. But most importantly, the waterproof cellphone cases made up until this point have been designed for phones which rely on physical buttons for input. In the age of the touchscreen, they simply don’t work. So how do you design a watertight case that also allows functional interaction with a touchscreen?

DryCASE has the answer…

Design

Now, right off the bat you’ll realize that the DryCASE isn’t so much a “case” as it is a bag — a small, watertight, touch-friendly bag. The handle/clasp area at the top of the DryCASE that locks out water once it slips below the watery depths looks cheap. It even feels pretty cheap. But it works. And in this scenario, when my ~$700 (unlocked price) phone is sitting in a pool of water, I don’t care how “pretty” it is. As long as it keeps working, I’m perfectly happy.

With that said, the DryCASE isn’t particularly “pretty”. Though what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in functionality. The touch-through nature of the plastic (as we’ll talk about a bit later) works well, as does the water-tight headphone port.

For what it’s designed for, the bag-like style is a good design in many aspects. Though I’m still hoping the company develops a more case-like waterproof case that can be used on a more permanent basis.

Getting the Seal

Getting the watertight seal with your iPhone is actually quite easy. You simply slide your phone down into the case, close and lock the top handle/clasps, and use the provided pump to suck out every last ounce of air.

Now, on that last note, getting out *all* of the air and acquiring a smooth fitting on iPhone screen is quite a bit harder than it seems. No matter how much you try, you will always have bubbles and ripples on the display. Both I with the iPhone DryCASE and my fellow writer Eric, with his iPad DryCASE, could not get a smooth, unblemished fit.

To some, the uneven fit will push them away for it is a glass mirror finish that many prefer. But in my testing, even in brighter light where reflections aplomb, I didn’t find it particularly hard to see, read, or use the phone or case.

Underwater

Loose/sketchy fit aside, you can still very much control your iPhone through the display and keep the water out of the precious internal circuitry. However, one oddity that I did witness is that when the phone is completely submerged, you can’t actually control anything. I’m not sure exactly as to why. Though if I had to wager a guess, I’d pin it on the temperature and/or pressure of the water on the screen causing individual finger presses to not register.

It’s hardly a sticking point though. How often are you going to don goggles and completely submerge yourself and your iPhone for extended periods of time? The only situation I can see this being a potential bummer is if you wanted to take an underwater picture.

Conclusion

Should you buy a DryCASE? The iPhone/smartphone version retails for $39.99, so it’s isn’t particularly “expensive”. Let me ask you this: Do you spend a lot of time near water? If you answer yes, then it’s a no brainer. Even compared to older waterproof cases that I’d consider easier to make due to the nature of physical buttons and how you interact with them, I’d consider the DryCASE better.

However, if you find yourself in the situation of needing some light water protection only a couple of times a year, it may be better to simple not use your phone — hard I know.

Ultimately, the decision is yours. Just know this: The DryCASE does work as stated. It keeps your touchscreen smartphone dry, enables you to use it as your normally would in dry situations, and is a great talking point to boot.

Design: 3
Performance: 5
Protection: 4

Gadgetsteria gives the iPhone 4 DryCASE a 4 out of 5

[Drycase]

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Author: Mike

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Gadget lover, smartphone collector, and beer connoisseur. I've been writing about gadgets for three years now and loving every minute of it. Outside of the digital landscape, I enjoy being active outdoors. I'm always up for a good conversation, so feel free to drop me a line!