Best Waterproof iPhone 5 Cases
For the longest time there was one major waterproof case for the iPhone 5: Lifeproof. But over the past couple of months there have been at least a half dozen waterproof cases designed to challenge Lifeproof’s supremacy. These cases are great if you have an active lifestyle, work outdoors or are simply prone to dropping your iPhone in the sink. There’s nothing like putting your phone into a case and not having to worry about it for another couple of years. Of course, there are potential drawbacks to having a waterproof case: does the touchscreen lose its sensitivity? Is the camera blocked? Are the speakers blocked?
We will examine these new offerings from case-makers like Otterbox, Griffin, and Incipio, and see how they stack up against the current ‘king of the mountain’, Lifeproof.
3 Cool Ways that a Waterproof case will enhance the functionality of your iPhone 5:
- You can take pictures and video while snorkeling – forget getting a waterproof digital camera for your vacation. You can use your iPhone to take video of your snorkeling adventures!
- You can have music at the beach – the cases are also dirt and sand proof, meaning you can play music at the beach without worrying about sand getting into the phone.
- Take pictures on your skiing vacation
– just not while you’re skiing downhill! These cases are also snow proof, so you can take them on the ski hill and not worry about snow/moisture/temperature affecting your phone.
1. Lifeproof iPhone 5 Fre Case
Lifeproof’s iPhone 5 case is still the best overall waterproof case for a number of reasons: the case is slim: adding only a tiny bit of bulk to the slim iPhone 5. When you first look at the case, you can’t believe that it’s a shock-proof, dirt-proof, waterproof case. It also wins style points for its transparent window that showcases the Apple logo in the back. The camera is protected by an optical-glass lens that makes for great pictures, both above and underwater.
Even though it’s the best overall case, it still has its drawbacks. The film screen protector is prone to ‘rainbows’, so you’ll need some eyeglass cleaner/windex when first installing to get rid of it. Also the headphone jack is covered by a screw that you need to twist to put your headphones in. It’s not that inconvenient, but a tiny screw like that is an easy thing to get lost.
A notable reviewer mentioned that they had trouble with Lifeproof’s membrane and had trouble making phone calls. I personally didn’t have that problem. The membrane, which allows sound to escape but keeps water out, did make music come out of the back of the phone, instead of the front.
The case comes in many different color combinations (my favorite is Cyan/Black). You can even get Slickwraps to make your Lifeproof case even more stylish.
If you like Lifeproof’s case but want a higher quality screen protector, go with Incipio’s Atlas case, which is made with tempered glass.
2. Incipio Atlas Waterproof iPhone 5 Case
Incipio is so confident about their new waterproof case that they are offering a one year limited warranty on not only their case, but the device inside your case (Lifeproof offers an additional ‘device warranty’ for $10).
When it comes to bulk and weight, the Incipio Atlas is the second lightest case on this list, next to the Lifeproof Fre. The Atlas measures 0.62 inches thick to Lifeproof’s 0.48 inches. It’s also twice as heavy: 2.24 oz to Lifeproof’s 1.05 oz. One big benefit of the Incipio Atlas’s design is that it has silicone gaskets that cover the headphone jack and other ports. Lifeproof, as you recall, uses a detachable screw that could be easily lost. The gaskets are attached to the case itself.
I found that the tempered glass was neat to look at, but when I installed the iPhone 5 it still had the same rainbow effect. The hard glass makes it feel like your phone is more protected, and indeed it is if you’re talking about punctures from sharp objects. It’s also more reflective than film, making outdoors a problem.
Note: Incipio Atlas went on sale in late March and sold out immediately. I’ve included a link to their Amazon page, so hopefully they restock the cases soon and they’ll be available for order.
3. Griffin Survivor Waterproof Case
Griffin’s Underwater Survivor case is probably the most stylish of all the waterproof cases. It’s also guaranteed waterproof for up to 3 meters, as opposed to Lifeproof’s guarantee of 2 meters. At 0.56 inches, it’s the same thickness as the Incipio Atlas. My favorite feature is the transparent case. The back (including the Apple logo) is completely visible, as well as the PET-integrated screen cover that makes the whole case completely see-through.
The case gets its shock absorption from TPE bumpers on the corners (where most shocks tend to happen).
Overall, this is the prettiest case, and one that looks the most like a waterproof case. With all transparent cases, though, there will be visible scratching over time. Of course this isn’t the kind of case you’re likely to carry in your pocket every day.
Click here to visit Griffin Technology
4. Otterbox Armor Series iPhone 5 Case
What’s interesting about Otterbox is that, when they first began making iPhone cases, they were waterproof. The rugged case-maker was known for making incredibly resilient cases that included being submerged in water. Somewhere along the way Otterbox dropped the ‘waterproof’ aspect of their cases and focused more on impact protection. Well…they’re back in a big way with the Armor series case.
For those that want a case that simply does not mess around, Otterbox Armor is like putting your phone into an all-terrain special forces vehicle that can travel anywhere. It comes with a built in screen protector that, if you put your iPhone 5 in properly, will not result in any lost sensitivity (or unsightly bubbles). The case itself is huge: even larger than the bulky Otterbox Defender. It weights 3.91 oz, although only 0.70 inches thick.
It has the same waterproof guarantee as Lifeproof: 6.6 feet for up to 30 minutes.
Click here to visit Otterbox.com
5. Seido Obex Waterproof Case for iPhone 5
Seido’s case is actually the second lightest on the case: 1.5 oz to 1.04 oz for Lifeproof’s case. The case selection isn’t that inspired: it comes in black…or white. The case itself is nice looking. The rubber port covers are easy to remove when you want to charge your phone. I found that the sound volume was more muffled than most cases, and it made making phone calls difficult. This is the same membrane technology as the other waterproof cases, so it may have just been the case I sampled.
There you have it! Feel free to check out our iPhone case shop where he have many more waterproof iPhone 5 cases.