It has been quite some time from my previous review on an iPhone case here. Since then, I have also tried out some more other cases with specific functionalities such as the Otterbox wallet case. This is not just for interest but also because of a reason of need as it is handy for me to carry downstairs for some snacks.
Recently I have been looking for a tough case for my iPhone 5s mainly used for traveling that I planned for the year, especially for hiking, sunshine and beach. So I need a waterproof case with shock protection. But what I have seen in the market, the options look bulky, and they are heavy and expensive. More importantly, there are quite some trade-offs for screen responsiveness and button accessibility.
Thanks to Dog & Bone, I recently received a case that I have been looking for that suits my picky requirement.
Dog & Bone, a well-known Australian mobile accessory brand, released the world’s-first topless waterproof mobile phone case with incorporation of both cutting edge direct touchscreen technology plus iPhone 5’s Touch ID compatibility in November 2013. It is also shockproof, dirt/ sand proof and snowproof.
According to the Founder and Director of the Aussie company, Mr Lee Ranchod:
Touch ID is a great new feature on the iPhone 5s, and we wanted to give users an opportunity to enjoy this, whilst also still enjoying premium protection and a direct touchscreen as offered by the topless Wetsuit waterproof design…without compromise on protection and useability…We released the world’s first topless mobile case, Wetsuit, with an optimum direct touchscreen…with touch ID compatibility.
What is even greater and appealing to me is that, the Wetsuit itself carries a pending patent with latest waterproof technology. From the Media Press, we understand that it is indeed a very high standard that outperforms all other competitors:
The patent pending Wetsuit waterproof rugged case enjoys a direct touchscreen, is waterproof to two metres, dirtproof, sandproof, snowproof, shockproof, meets and exceeds Military standards to help withstand the toughest of drops to two metres, and enjoys an IP68 rating, which is the highest level of ingress protection from water and dust
I appreciate such a technology breakthrough happening in the iPhone accessory sector which is really exciting to me, and how the company treats us to be one of their trustworthy reviewers. It is also impressive to me that, based on the output of product quality, they should have put much effort in getting the best to users – from design, quality to packaging.
Unboxing and installation
The Wetsuit package comes with the plastic case composed by three parts. Along side with the main component, there is also a nice piece of screen protector. You can also find some instruction sticking on the plastic block inside the case, as well as the colorful installation guide attached at the back of the back case cover.
The installation of the Wetsuit case requires a bit technique and best to follow the installation guide provided in the package. In short from my personal experience: first, use a coin or some piece of hardware to lift up the front cover from the gap at the right hand bottom corner of the case; then carefully use the coin to unclip the case bit by bit from right to left; after the front cover is detached, take out the boot from the rear cover and insert the phone into it; the do all the way back, click the front cover from the top and make sure everything is seated properly as expected.
Since there is some thickness over the phone body so it does have some impact on the touch ID recognition. In order to enjoy best experience of the touch ID feature with the wetsuit, it is best to remove all previous touch IDs that have been registered in the phone, and re-register them into the phone whilst fitted with the wetsuit boot on the iphone 5s. Best achieved with the boot on without the front and rear housings. This way you will maximize fingerprint recognition with the case when fitted.
You can check out the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wadE5ICuu0g that explains how users can make it work.
How I feel about it
The very first feeling that Wetsuit gives me before installation is a wow, it looks good and professionally designed. The packaging is nice and contains of a lot of information about the case that I am interested in.
Another wow comes when I do the unboxing and disassembly. Every part of the case is well crafted. The installation guide is clear with both words and graphic to instruct me how to do it. And also because of the fact that I was given more information and video from the email communications with the company so I basically had no problem for assembly, but just need to be a bit careful and slow to do so for the fear to damage little part of it that may impact the performance of the case.
About the case itself, it is solid, compact, strong, lighter than expected and the seals are tight. It is a little bit bulky but reasonable because of its function and protection.
I especially like how the rear housing is designed. I can see the beautiful logo from the rear window and proof it is an iPhone. In addition, worth mentioning that the rugged surface of the boot at the back gives extra safety in holding the phone.
You may concern about the button accessibilities. From my personal experience, I had no problem with mute, volume and power buttons even the boot covers them all.
For home key, as I mentioned the case adds up a little bit thickness to it, so it is not as easy as bare phone. This indeed happens to every strong and think protective case. So the most concerned part comes to Touch ID. From a series of testing, without resetting the Touch ID registries, it appears only about 1 to 2 times out of ten that I failed to get in with fingerprints and required me to use passcode.
In addition, no problem with headphone jacks and charging port access. The only issue is about thickness. If you have a headphone with short fitting, or a banded one, you may need an adapter for it.
Talking about headphone, I think about speakers. There is a speaker grill on the case and it somehow affects sound qualities with certain level of distortions. It is a reasonable trade-off though.
About screen sensitivity, since it is topless and you can directly use your screen without having an additional layer of plastic or glass, the case does not have negative impact on this. However, I do experience difficulty in accessing the ControlCenter most of the time. In addition, since my iPhone 5s is jailbroken and some tweaks required Activator action of swiping from screen bottom or edge, so I have also had some issue on it when the case is assembled.
Nevertheless, overall speaking, I think the case is well designed and offers functions as advertised. It should be very durable with the materials used. It also gives me quite a pleasant experience in using it. The feeling in hand is great and I do not have a feeling of cheap plastic.
If you also find Wetsuit case useful, you can now place your order at www.dogandbonecases.com. The case is in stock and selling at a price tag of AU$79.95 and comes with four colors of your choice – Electric Orange, Blackest Black, Silvertail, Sea Breeze. You can also check out the video from Dog & Bone here:
Chan Xin is a tech geek, an iOS specialist, You can follow @chanxin on Twitter.