It's very liberating knowing that you can use your phone in a wet environment without fear of it getting damaged. It provides the freedom to take your phone with you places that you otherwise wouldn't. This is the Dog and Bone Wetsuit Case for iPhone 6. Dog and Bone was kind enough to send me this case as well as their Bone Guard Tempered Glass Screen Protector for review. They claim that their case is shock proof, waterproof, dirt proof, and snow proof. In this review we'll test all four of those proofs and see how the Dog and Bone Wetsuit holds up.
Taking a look around the case there's a notch in the bottom right corner for taking the case apart. There's an included key that you'll definitely need for prying this apart. On the bottom is a ridged hinged cover for access to the lightning port. This hinged design feels sturdy and makes its so you don't have to worry about losing the cover. The headphone jack port is covered by a more flexible rubber insert. It can be a bit tricky to open but if you open the Lightning port cover first it makes it easier to access. I am concerned that this will eventually pull off and break but thankfully Dog and Bone included an extra one with the case.
The speaker as well as all the microphones are covered with an acoustic membrane that allows sound through but keeps water out and they work surprisingly well. There are two front facing slits for the speaker and microphones but I can't tell if they actually help. The speaker sound comes from the bottom of the phone like you would expect allowing you to cup your hand over the bottom of the phone to hear better in noisier environments or when you need to keep your volume low. Call quality is much better than I expected. The sound is slightly quieter but sounds really great and isn't distorted at all. FaceTime and speakerphone calls works great as well. A headphone adapter is included as well but it's not water proof. Instead it's included to allow larger third party headphones to connect. Apple's stock earpods fit well without the adapter.
In the bottom left corner there's a spot for a wrist strap. I'm glad they included this but it's disappointing that they don't include a wrist strap with the case. I've attached a spare one from a camera for demonstration purposes. If going in deep water you'll definitely want to take a wrist strap with you. The volume buttons work well and click nicely. The mute switch is deeply recessed, which may cause problems for some, but still works relatively well. The earpiece and camera are covered but there's a cutout for the proximity sensor. The power button gives good response just like the volume buttons. The camera lens cover is slightly recessed so snow will have a tendency to collect here. I've also noticed that this lens frequently gets dirty and I have to clean it each time I take a picture or the picture turns out blurry. There's an acoustic membrane for the rear facing microphone between the camera and flash. The back has a smooth shiny finish with a criss cross pattern and the Dog and Bone logo at the bottom.
To use this case you begin by inserting your phone into the wetsuit bottom first and stretching it over the top. This is the primary way that your phone stays waterproof. The front and back of the case simply press this wetsuit around the edge of the screen to not allow water to enter. Next insert the wetsuit into the back of the case and snap on the front. I usually go around the case a couple of times to make sure it's sealed really well. If you look closely at the seal you'll notice the wetsuit edge isn't completely straight when in the case. It doesn't appear to affect its waterproofing ability but it sorta looks like a bad windshield repair job. My biggest concern about this case's waterproofing ability is how much it relies on this wetsuit not being damaged. The rubber is very flexible thankfully and hopefully won't tear over time. Dog and Bone does include this is a precaution in the instructions that you should always inspect your wetsuit for tears or breaks when installing.
To disassemble the case you pry the case apart in the bottom right corner using the included key then work your way around the case. You can use the key to slide between the two pieces or simply pull it apart. The case stays together really well and requires a good bit of effort to pull apart. However it doesn't stay together as well as I thought it would as you'll see later in the drop test. I do wish there was a notch in the bottom left corner since this last part is usually pretty difficult to pull apart. I'm concerned that pulling on the thin plastic by the volume buttons will eventually break the front bezel.
For those interested in dimensions, the case measures in at 13.6mm thin, 77.6mm wide, and 152.1mm tall. It does add a decent amount of bulk to your iPhone but that's the trade off for this level of protection.
Touch ID is covered by a thin membrane and works well most of the time. However it is deeply recessed and people with larger thumbs or long finger nails are going to have issues here. I have to use the tip of my thumb and it generally works well. The bottom lip of the case is lowered on each of the corners to allow access to Control Center. Because of the thicker raised plastic above the home button accessing the Control Center from the middle of the case isn't possible. The raised edges protect your screen well but accessing the Notification Center requires some effort. Swiping back from the sides of the case is much more difficult and requires some patience. If you're in a scrolling app that requires you to pull up the Control Center tab from the center you won't be able to. It's annoying but certainly not a deal breaker. You'll just need to exit the app to access Control Center from the home screen.
The case comes with a plastic dummy iPhone for water testing your case. As with all waterproof cases you'll want to assemble the case with this dummy unit and submerge it for several minutes. Use something heavy like a coffee cup to weight it down. When you remove the case from the water you'll want to dry off the outside very well before disassembling the case. You may be surprised to see water droplets in between the wetsuit and the outer shell. This is totally normal though. Remember, the main goal is to keep the wetsuit pressed against the front of the phone to keep water from entering the wetsuit itself. Water entering the outer shell is by design and won't harm anything as long as your wetsuit is intact. The real test is making sure there's no water between the dummy unit and the wetsuit. As long as this portion of the case is dry you can reasonably assume your iPhone will fair the same.
The case comes with a thin plastic screen protector but using this screen protector will add additional material between your iPhone and the wetsuit. Even though this comes directly from Dog and Bone I don't feel good about using it. Dog and Bone does say that really thin third party screen protectors are ok to use as well. I would advise you against that though. A much better option is the custom fitted Bone Guard Tempered Glass Screen Protector. The Bone Guard boasts 9H hardness and is coated with oleophoic and hydrophobic coatings to make it resist fingerprints, smudges, and water. Since this screen protector is the exact size of the exposed screen of your iPhone, it won't interfere with the wetsuit making contact with your phone. You'll want to make sure you install this with the case on. This will make alignment a breeze. I took the front off for cleaning to make it easier to remove dust and debri. The install kit also comes with two dust stickers for removing any additional dust without leaving fingerprints. These proved to be really handy when I realized I had a small piece of debri under the corner of the screen protector and needed a way to remove it. There's also an alcohol prep pad included but I would advise against using it. It's my understanding that the iPhone screen is coated with similar smudge resistant coatings and using alcohol may strip those. Peal off the protective film from the back of the screen protector and place the top against the top lip of the case. From there you can drop the screen protector and gently smooth out any air bubbles. And because the screen protector is cut to only fit the screen of the iPhone you can use it with most other cases without any problems.
One of the most interesting aspects of this screen protector is its hydrophobic coating. Any water making contact with the screen is quickly repelled. This is great when using your phone in a wet environment because having excess water on the screen will cause the touch screen to register the water as touch input. I was really surprised with how well this screen protector repelled water.
To truly test this case's waterproofing ability though I tossed it into the washing machine. This not only tests its waterproofing ability but also some aspects of its shockproof ability. A more thorough shock test will come later in the drop test. Most cases won't be put through this level of torture underwater. It will more likely be a spilled drink or a drop in the toilet, but you can rest assured that if the Dog and Bone Wetsuit can withstand this kind of abuse it will certainly hold up to more likely encounters with liquid.
I normally wouldn't do a dirt test for fear of staining the case of scratching the screen. But since this phone is protected with a 9H hardness Bone Guard I decided to give it a shot. Dirt can get between the outer shell and the wetsuit through the gaps on the bottom. Be sure when exposing your phone to this kind of dirt that you rinse it off thorough and it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to disassemble the case and clean any additional dirt from the wetsuit if you're able. The screen protector held up well to the dirt without any noticeable scratches.
Since it's the middle of May and in the upper 70's outside there's no snow for the snow proof test. We'll have to settle for snow from the Blendtec. As you can probably imagine if the case is waterproof snow certainly won't be a problem. And because of the hydrophobic coating on the screen protector the snow is quickly cleaned off. One thing to keep in mind is snow can collect around the camera lens since it's recessed.
This case is rated for drops from 6.6 feet and it survived my normal drop tests from pocket and texting height with no damage to the phone or case. On the drop from texting height the case did separate. This was really surprising given how hard the case is to disassemble. It's easy enough to snap back together but it does present problems if the case were dropped on a dock or by a pool and separated before plunging into the water.
I was genuinely impressed by the quality of this case. It seems really well built and offers a lot of protection for your iPhone. The custom fitted Bone Guard screen protector is a very welcome addition as well. If you're one of the many people looking for a waterproof case that offers direct access to your iPhone's screen but also want to protect your iPhone's screen I would highly recommend this combo. My main concern would be how the rubber material of the wetsuit holds up over time. I'd also like to see Dog and Bone include a wrist strap and address how difficult it is to take the case apart. But those items aren't deal breakers. If you have any questions I didn't cover feel free to leave those in the comments and I'll get back to you. And as always, thanks for watching.