There are two types of iPhone waterproof cases. There’s cases that protect against accidental spills and semi-wet environments, and then there’s cases that allow you to do this...
This is the ProShot case for iPhone and quite honestly it's the case I've been looking for since I got my first iPhone five years ago. ProShot was kind enough to send me these cases for review, and in this review we'll put them through their paces to show you why this is the only case you should trust to take your iPhone out on the open water.
I used to really like everyday waterproof cases and have reviewed a couple of the best. However the compromises you have to make in order to make your phone waterproof were too much for everyday use. The cases are bulky compared to standard iPhone cases and they make accessing your ports and screen difficult. Because of this I would only use the case if I was going to the swimming pool or to a lake when I'm purposing to take my phone underwater. And because they're meant for daily use they rely on thin gaskets and flimsy plastic membranes to keep the water out. And if you read the fine print they say you should inspect the case and water test it every time before getting it wet. Say it with me - ain't nobody got time for that! After ruining my iPhone 6S in a swimming pool I decided I wouldn't trust my phone to such a delicate case in the water again. That's when I found out about ProShot.
ProShot isn't a daily case. It's an extreme waterproof case meant to basically turn your iPhone into a GoPro. Because of its durable design, it gives you a level of confidence around the water that no other case can. No more frequently checking your case to see if the thin gasket has failed. I used this case while paddleboarding in a pond and I literally just clipped it to my life jacket and forgot about it. Whenever I wanted to snap a photo or take a video it was right there ready for action.
I threw everything I could think of at ProShot while at the pond. From flips to dives it passed all my water usage tests with flying colors. When hurricane Matthew came through I used the massive amounts of water funneling through our yard as an extreme waterproof test as well. This was a walk in the park. This was the closest thing I had to whitewater, and based on my tests I would easily trust ProShot to keep my phone safe while going whitewater rafting. While at the beach I took ProShot into the ocean to see how it holds up to sand and salt water. As expected it performed very well and kept my iPhone safe from the elements.
The case is made of a hard polycarbonate shell that snaps together with two different style lids. If you've ever used a waterproof container or ammo box before it's the same idea, and it works great. We'll start with my favorite, the deep dive lid. This lid is a hard polycarbonate and provides loads of protection against impact and water. ProShot says this lid is rated to 100 feet! That means you can now take your iPhone scuba diving. You're probably wondering how you use your phone if you can't touch the screen and ProShot has the perfect solution. They've developed a special app that allows you to do everything you need using only the two volume buttons. Just like the standard camera app you can use the volume up button to take a picture or start and stop a video. But with this app you can also use the volume down button to switch between the different camera modes. You can't use a touchscreen underwater anyway, and this is a very creative solution. So now while underwater you can start and stop video and then change over to photo mode to snap a few pictures. They even thought to include a sleep mode that turns the camera off and dims the screen to the point that it's almost off to save battery when not in use. This app is key to using your phone in the water to capture photos and videos. The app also includes slow mo, timer mode, and time lapse. It's worth noting that these are ProShots implementation of these and they don't function exactly like their equivalents in the standard iOS camera app. Also, be sure to put your phone in airplane mode before use so that notifications don't inhibit the use of the app.
There are times though when you want more than average water protection but still need to use your iPhone’s screen. In those situations you use the touch lid. This lid is rated to six feet, although realistically it would provide a lot more protection than that. This lid does tend to bubble up so be sure to push as much air out of the case as possible before latching the final closure. If you're at the beach and need to stay on top of email or phone calls but want to be able to jump in the water at a moments notice then this is the lid for you. It's not as useable as your iPhone would be in a daily waterproof case since you can't access your ports and the screen is slightly bubbled, but not having access to your ports and Touch ID means fewer points of failure where water can get to your phone. And the touch lid is molded together in such a way that you're not going to have to inspect any gaskets before you get it wet. It gives you the confidence to keep your phone on hand while near the water and be able to capture all the special memories you would otherwise miss.
To switch the lids you open the case to a 45 degree angle and push downward. Attaching the new lid is as simple as lining up the hinges and snapping it in place. You'll want to make sure that you're not changing lids or inserting your phone while near the water. From my experience it's very hard to do this without dirt, debris, and drops of water getting into the case.
In addition to interchangeable lids there are also interchangeable lenses. The lenses screw onto the case really tightly and contain an o-ring for blocking out water. I received the standard wide lens as well as the fisheye lens. The fisheye lens was great an opening up the viewing angle for capturing more of the action, but it slightly distorted the outer edges. For this reason I preferred to use the standard wide lens. Your mileage may vary depending on what type of video you're trying to capture.
The case also features a GoPro compatible mount. I used this to attach it to a floating stick while on the pond paddleboarding so that if I dropped my iPhone in the water it would float. I also used it attached to my helmet at an outdoor go kart track going 55mph. The resulting footage was really good and it wasn't shaky like I expected. That's partly due to the really stiff GoPro mount and also because of the iPhone 7’s optical image stabilization. However the track is heavily sponsored by GoPro and so they wouldn't let me use the footage for this review. Just keep in mind that if you are going to attach your ProShot to a GoPro mount that the case acts as a big sail in the wind so you'll want to make sure your GoPro mount is really sturdy to minimize shaking.
With clear polycarbonate, a metal supported hinge, blue metal closures, and very few entry points for water, this case not only can withstand most any activity you can throw at it, but it looks great as well. And although you can confidently rest assured that your phone is dry and safe, it's still really nice that the case is clear and you can easily tell that no water has compromised your case. However, the clear polycarbonate also scratches very easily as well as the metal closures. It doesn't affect the performance of the case since the lenses are glass, but it is very noticeable strictly from an aesthetic point of view. ProShot currently makes a case for the iPhone 6 and 6S and a version for the iPhone 7. They sent me both to review and the main difference between the two is the location of the camera lens. The other minor difference is the touch lid. The iPhone 6S version has a black touch point made into the lid that helps with pressing the home button. They had to remove this for the iPhone 7 version since the home button now requires skin contact to work. They're also currently working on a version for the Plus iPhones and this should be available soon.
Our iPhone cameras are great and it’s what most people use as their primary camera. Having the ability to now take that camera out on the slopes, while water skiing, or scuba diving down to 100 feet is pretty amazing. As I said at the beginning of the review, this is the waterproof iPhone case I've been waiting for, and it didn't disappoint. If you have any questions that I didn’t cover in this review feel free to leave those in the comments. And in closing…
When you’re out on the open water don’t trust your phone to a thin gasket or flimsy plastic membrane. Go with a real waterproof case. Go with a ProShot.