As the school year comes to an end and Summer is about to start, I find myself looking forward to water activities with my kids: swimming pools, the beach, water slides, etc. Activities that involve water are usually not good for the iPhone, but earlier this month at the CTIA Wireless convention in New Orleans, I saw two products that make your iPhone waterproof. I tried out both products with the aid of company representatives working at booths so I did not get a chance to do "real world" tests, but both booths featured iPhones being dunked into aquariums over and over again and, as far as I could tell, the iPhones held up great.
The first product I saw was the driSuit. This is a case made for the iPhone 4 and 4s. You place your iPhone inside the case, close two locks to seal it, and then the iPhone is waterproof. Here is a picture from the website:
And here is a picture I took at CTIA of iPhones working while they are submerged in an aquarium:
The screen portion of the case actually has two membrames with a gel in between. You need to touch the screen a little bit harder than normal for the gel to make contact with the screen, but it does work quite well. With the driSuit, you can use your iPhone while you are skiing, snowboarding, fishing, snorkling, etc. without fear that water will damage your iPhone. The iPhone camera still works even when it is in the case.
There is a small space behind the iPhone where you can store a credit card, room key, driver's license, etc.
The case costs $60. You can get a wrist band that also floats for $10 and the company sells waterproof headphones for $20.
A similar product that I saw at CTIA is the DryCASE. Unlike the driSuite which is made specifically for the iPhone 4/4S, the DryCASE is a bag that comes in different sizes and can hold lots of different devices, including the iPhone and the iPad. The company has been making waterproof protection for casts and prosthetic limbs for the last 13 years, and decided to use the same technology to protect iPhones.
To use the DryCASE you place your iPhone or other item inside of it, plug in the included headphone jack, seal the top, and then use the included one-way pump to remove the air. This creates a vacuum. You can then plug a pair of headphones into the port on the outside of the bag (or use waterproof headphones sold by the company). You can use the iPhone touchscreen or camera through the bag, and the company has tested it to depths of 100 feet.
As you can see from the above picture, the iPhone at the right had been underwater for 2 hours and 41 minutes when I saw it. They kept the iPhone in that bag throughout the CTIA show for several days and it continued to work underwater.
The case has a black band on the back of it so you can attach the DryCASE to your arm.
I was told by company representatives that your iPhone doesn't work well as a phone when it is in a case, although you can use the speaker phone in a pinch. However, if you plug in a pair of headphones with a microphone you can use the phone that way.
The retail price is $39.99. You can buy it for less at Amazon, but DryCASE tells me that if you instead get it from a retailer or from the DryCASE website you get a one year warranty.
Both of these products look like great solutions for bringing your iPhone with you to the beach, the pool, etc. The driSuite seems to provide a little more protection and is a great fit for the iPhone 4/4S, but the DryCASE is half the price and very versatile because it can be used with devices of multiple sizes.