Posts tagged: iPhone 4

OtterBox Releases Blue/Grey Armor Case for iPhone 4/4s

OtterBox Armor Case iPhone 4s blue grey front back side

OtterBox has released new colors for their waterproof Armor series of cases for the iPhone 4 and 4s. Shown above is the blue and grey version that is available for the older model iPhone and it is currently selling for $99.

new Armor colors tweet

You can check out a review of this case here and the full specs here. The Armor case for iPhone 4/4s is waterproof down to 2m (6.6 ft) and can withstand a 10 ft drop, as well as 2 tons of pressure. This case can handle almost anything you throw at it, while allowing for full functionality of the phone’s controls and features.
 

Review – Otterbox Armor Series for iPhone 4/4s

OtterBox Armor Series Waterproof Case for iPhone 4-4s front back
 

Long Time Coming
It was a long time coming (including a cancelled launch for this iPhone 4/4s model in June 2012), but OtterBox has unveiled their waterproof series of cases, called the Armor Series.  Unveiled at CES 2013, the line of cases is now shipping at AT&T stores and Otterbox.com, and Amazon.  With a long history of highly protective cases, this is OtterBox’s first attempt at a completely waterproof case.  Overall, it is a great effort.

Details
OtterBox has released models for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4/4s, and Samsung Galaxy S III. The price point is an industry high $99 and the case for the 4/4s is only available in the Neon/Grey color scheme. Strangely, the 5 is also available in Blue/White, and Orange/Grey colors. We will see if those are released later on for this 4/4s model.

As for size, compared to other cases, the OtterBox for iPhone 4/4s is a beast:

  • Weight: 4.23oz / 120g
  • Dimensions: 5.14 x 2.94 x 0.82 in / 130.6 x 74.7 x 20.8mm
  • Depth rating: IP-68, 6.6 ft for 30 minutes
  • Drop Test: 10 ft

The iPhone 4/4s Armor is about 10g heavier than the iPhone 5 version and a little larger in thickness to make up for the size difference of the phones. It is certainly larger than the iPhone 4/4s case from LifeProof, which weighs only 28g and has dimensions of 129 x 66 x 10.7mm.  OtterBox has never shied away from making large, solid cases, and the main difference is in the thickness of the case.  However, this can add to the protective ability of the case, and this is rated to withstand 2 tons of pressure. Similar waterproofing and drop test specs as LifeProof.

Video Review
Here is a video that shows the functionality and build of the Armor 4/4s:





Analysis
The Armor Series has an interesting closure mechanism.  Overall, it is easier and seems more secure than LifeProof’s force fit closure. As seen in the video, one side has two very strong closures that compress the black o-ring of the case, creating a seal. I really like how strong these are:

OtterBox Armor Series for iPhone 4-4s metal closure-clasp

The side opposite the latches, while innovative, is a little more problematic.  It consists of block like groove that back of the case fits into, creating a non-moving hinge.  After fitting together on this side, the case is then sealed and tightened by closing the two clasps.  In theory, this works fine, creating a strong seal. However, in the torture test on the Armor for iPhone 5, this opened during huge falls.  Note that these were much larger falls than guaranteed by the product and shouldn’t be a problem.

OtterBox has done a really nice job with the colored overmold. The inside of the case is super soft and protective, and the outer edge has another layer of soft protection. The bottom area is really nice, with two rubber overmolded lanyards that peal apart to reveal ports to the phone’s controls. These are protected by small black o-rings that keep out water.

OtterBox Armor Series for iPhone 4-4s seal for charging port

One advantage is that, compared to LifeProof, there are no small pieces to lose.  The downside of this is that it is impossible to listen to music in a waterproof setting, or with right angle headphones jacks, whereas LifeProof offers an adapter for this.

The Armor series has controls for all power, home, volume and mute buttons, and transparent screens for all sensors and cameras.  There is even a port for the microphone on the back near the camera.

Overall
The Armor Series was a long time in the making but is an excellent product. While delayed, they have done it right and are giving LifeProof a run for their money with potentially a more solid, protected product.

OtterBox Armor Series for iPhone 4-4s inside ringer switch and volume

 

 

Catalyst Escape Capsule 4/4s price drop to $69

 

Catalyst Escape Capusle iPhone 4-4s underwater

Following the recent iPhone 4/4s waterproof case price markdown from Lifeproof ($53) and DriSuit ($39), Catalyst has marked down their popular Escape Capsule waterproof case for the iPhone 4/4s to $69. While this price includes free worldwide shipping, it is still relatively expensive compared to LifeProof and DriSuit.

When released, the original Catalyst Escape Capsule debuted at $89, compared to Lifeproof at $79 and DriSuit at $59.

Catalyst Escape Capusle iPhone 4-4s waterproof case

 

The above photo is of the 4/4s case (notice the lanyard for headphone input on top). You an also notice that the original Escape Capsule did not feature a charging port or mute/ringer switch. You can read the full Escape Capsule for iPhone 4/4s review here.

iPhone 5 model on the way

Lifeproof has partnered with Griffin Technology to release a waterproof case for the iPhone 5. It is a bit late in coming out and behind deadline, but the photos look pretty sweet. The model, called the Escape Capsule + Survivor for the iPhone 5, will be completely waterproof, and improve on the product’s shortcomings in the 4/4s model, namely the ringer switch and charging port.

You can buy the iPhone 4/4s model or check out the iPhone 5 model on Catalyst’s website.

 

DriSuit Endurance iPhone 4/4s Price Drops to $39 on Amazon

DriSuit Endurance iPhone 4/4s price drop

 

As the iPhone 4/4s models age, DriSuit is entering the game of lowering prices on its popular Endurance case (formerly known as Scuba Suit).  The black version of the case, which originally sold for $79, can now be found on Amazon for $39.  This is even cheaper than LifeProof who has select colors of their waterproof iPhone 4/4s discounted to $53.

Likely, DriSuit is ramping up for an iPhone 5 offering, which is not out yet.

 

LifeProof Limited Edition Clear iPhone 4/4s Case

LifeProof Limited Edition Clear iPhone 4/4s

LifeProof has unveiled a limited edition, clear back for their popular iPhone 4/4s waterproof case.  Available for either the white or black version, the new model features a see through backing that looks right at the back of the phone.

Besides being minimal and a bit of a novelty, the clear back is cool because you can see the distinct Apple logo and iPhone text on the back of the phone.  It is more similar to using the phone without a case.

LifeProof is pricing the case at $79, which is significantly higher than the reduced pricing on the other iPhone 4/4s models.

Otterbox Armor for iPhone 4/4s/5 Released

Otterbox Armor Case for iPhone 5

 

At long last, after numerous delays and many months of waiting, OtterBox’s entrance into the waterproof iPhone case market is complete with the launch of the Armor series. The case was launched at CES 2013 for the iPhone 4/4s, iPhone 5, with a model for the Samsung Galaxy 3s is on the way.

The case comes in at a steep $99 compared to $79 for LifeProof (some discounted to $53). The case is large, somewhat bulky but looks like a tank.

Full review on the way.

LifeProof Drops Prices on iPhone 4/4s Cases to $53

 

LifeProof White iPhone 4/4s

 

The release and continued success of the iPhone 5 is putting a dent in demand for ‘dated’ iPhone 4/4s accessories. This is good news for consumers who still use these and want to protect these awesome phones. Most likely ramping up on iPhone 5 waterproof cases, LifeProof has dropped the price of their waterproof iPhone 4/4s cases to as low as $53 for the white version. The black version now costs $58. This is compared to previous prices of $80.

 

Unfortunately, the fun colors that LifeProof released for the iPhone 4/4s (well after launch) have much more random pricing.  These are currently being priced from $59 all the way up to the original $80.  This is most likely due to the lower volume production runs and less predictable demand.

 

New DriSuit 4/4s Waterproof Case Colors

DriSuit Endurance Waterproof iPhone colors
DriSuit has refreshed its Endurance Waterproof Case with new colors for the popular iPhone 4/4s model. Check out a review of the Endurance (formerly known as ‘Scuba Suit’) case here.

Besides the original black, the cases for the iPhone 4/4s will be available in white, blue, yellow, pink and purple. No word yet on when an iPhone 5 model will be launch, although it can be assumed it is in the works.

While the website says they will not ship until Oct 15th, Amazon appears to have limited stock and is shipping.
 

 

New LifeProof iPhone 4/4s Case Colors

Lifeproof new case colors

LifeProof have released a slew of new colors for their popular Waterproof case for the iPhone 4/4s (still waiting on a release date for the iPhone 5).

LifeProof started with the standard black case, and then released the white version. They followed this up with the pink and purple variants. Now, their color options include blue, dark earth, green, olive green, orange, red and teal. These look pretty good and will give some flair to your fully waterproof iPhone. At release, these new cases are priced at the $79 mark; the black and white versions have been discounted.
 

Review – Catalyst Escape Capsule Waterproof iPhone 4/4s

Escape-Capsule-Waterproof-iPhone-4s
Catalyst Lifestyle is a new company who raised funding via Kickstarter to bring their waterproof iPhone case, the Escape Capsule, to life. After delays, a long production process, and some disgruntled backers, they released their iPhone 4/4s case in late June of 2012.

Control

The Escape Capsule offers control over the iPhone, but not as much as other cases on the market. The home, power, and volume up/down buttons are accessed through the overmold material, which is soft to the touch and responsive. However, the vibrate on/off button is not accessible in this case, which is not a major issue as it can be accessed from the home screen. What is a major issue is that the 32 pin charging port is not accessible in this design. Thus, the user needs to remove the Escape Capsule (somewhat difficult) to charge their case or sync their files. Because this needs to be done at least once a day, this is an annoyance and definitely a limiting factor in the usability of the design.

The touchscreen is covered by a thin layer of polycarbonate, which is the same material that surrounds the case. While responsive, some users have complained it is too thick, leading to less than ideal response. Unlike the Endurance case, this touchscreen cannot be used underwater. The headphone jack is covered by a built in plug created from the soft overmold material, which is attached via lanyard to the case. When the plug is removed, standard Apple headphones can be used to listen to music. No adapter needed, which is nice. While the plug fits securely, there is the risk of wear once this is exposed to the elements and repeatedly removed.

Both front and back camera, as well as flash, are accessible when using the case. This makes it ideal for underwater photos.

Waterproofing

As mentioned, the front of the case is protected via a thin layer of polycarbonate. All controls and the headphone input are covered by the colored overmolding. Note that only Apple headphones can be used with this case, and the system is not waterproof while the headphone plug is removed. Main speaker, bottom speaker, bottom and top microphones are protected by soft membranes. These membranes allow sound to be transmitted but are waterproof. However, these are fragile and should not be poked or penetrated.
Escape Capsule Membranes
The Escape Capsule is a two part case design, which includes the main body and back piece.  The case is molded very strongly and bends very little. A small, silicon o-ring sits in a groove on the back piece (“lid”). When the lid is attached to the body, the o-ring is compressed between the lid and a wedge on the main body, creating a waterproof seal. It is very important that the o-ring remain in good condition and be checked before sealing. It should be in place, clean, and sitting evenly. An extra o-ring is provided with the product.

Form Factor

The Escape Capsule is streamlined and smooth with its mirror finish polycarbonate shell. While it remains slippery when wet, it fits in the pocket well and is similar to the body of the iPhone. The inner, colored overmolding provides a cushion against the edge of the phone, which protects it during drops and spills. Strong color options (blue / yellow) ensure you can locate your phone, while the black option is more stylish.

The case is very tight around the iPhone 4s, providing a small form factor. In this regard, it shines. For a comparison of sizing, here are measurements (inches) of the iPhone 4s and Escape Capsule:

  • Height – 4.50″ / 4.96″
  • Width – 2.31″ / 2.75″
  • Depth – 0.37″ / 0.60″
Specifications

The Escape Capsule is rated IPX8, which means it is waterproof down to 2 meters (6.6 feet). On their videos, Catalyst have tested the Escape Capsules further but do not recommend such usage.  No data was given on drop tests, but company videos showed the case being thrown around a bit which makes one believe in the integrity of the case. The interior overmolding surely helps in this area, and the case will likely stand up to quite a pounding. The case weighs 50 grams, which is heavier than other cases tested.

Warranty

Catalyst requires that you register your product on their website to be granted a warranty.  This ensures that the proper training materials are read and understood before use. The warranty covers material and workmanship for 90 days after a purchase. Like most manufacturers, use of the case is at your own risk and Catalyst will not replace broken or damaged electronics, just the case. You can read more about their warranty on their website.

Overall

The Escape Capsule is a good first effort from Catalyst, but it falls short for being an everyday waterproof case for your iPhone. Its major downfall is the fact that it cannot be charged while in the case.  This, combined with the fact that the case is difficult to open (requires a tool) makes it unfriendly for the daily user. That being said, it is an excellent option for dedicated use, i.e. going to the beach, pool, vacation, or bath. It has a good sealing system and allows the phone to be used in most environments. The touch screen interface is adequate and for the price, it is a good way to protect your iPhone investment.