Protection Vs. Functionality, what do you value? Find out what we discovered in our Naztech Vault + Review
[toggle title=”Watch the Naztech Vault + Review on YouTube”][/toggle] The Naztech Vault + for the iPhone 5S is definitely a tough iPhone case, sitting at a protection level higher than your standard LifeProof and Otterbox case but suffers in terms of accessing your iPhone 5S when installed inside the case.
The Naztech Vault + will protect your iPhone against water up to 16ft (5m). This is more than twice the water protection that LifeProof and Otterbox offers for their cases. In fact, based on the dozens of cases that we’ve reviewed in the last couple of years, there are only three other cases that offer the same level of water protection (Catalyst, HitCase Pro and Optrix XD5)
This expectational protection is offset by how hard it is to access your iPhone inside the Naztech Vault +. The iPhones touchscreen is difficult to access through the screen protector and the flash for the camera is completely covered with an odd pinhole thing.
For this Naztech Vault + Review, we give the case a score of 3.9 Eh’s out of 5. There are many cases that are better than the Naztech Vault + but if you’re looking for a case with exceptional protection, you may want to consider the Vault +.
Design – The Naztech Vault + is an odd looking case
The Naztech Vault+ is a different looking case. On our Facebook page, Jesse Murillo and Anson Chiu seemed to have mixed reactions about the look of the case and we totally agree. Though after using the case for a while (Aaron took it sea kayaking) the Naztech Vault + started to grow on me. The case has a lot of texture which is nice in wetter situations and having the front housing cover being completely rubber also helps. The back is fairly slick as it’s hard plastic but that makes it easier for you to slide it into a pocket.
The Vault + is a little bigger than the LifeProof Fre but this added bulk doesn’t seem to add much weight. The case is installed a little differently as the front of the case wraps around a sled that the iPhone sits in. We believe that this design feature of the Naztech Vault + results in a stronger, more waterproof iPhone case.
installing the case is fairly simple as well and despite not having anything that “snaps” together, running your hand around the edges of the case will tell you if it’s properly installed or not.
Protection – Provides better protection than your average LifeProof and Otterbox case
As we mentioned above, the Naztech Vault + is a incredible waterproof iPhone case allowing you to submerge your device up to 16 ft (5m). This definitely means that your iPhone can easily become an underwater camera.
I terms of shock protection, the Naztech doesn’t explicitly state how shock proof it is but we dropped it from a height of 6 ft and our iPhone screen didn’t shatter. The Vault + essentially provides the iPhone with two layers of protection (the front rubber housing and the plastic sled).
In terms of screen protection, the Naztech Vault + has a thick plastic screen protector. Though it is fairly difficult to use due to the gap between the iPhone’s touchscreen we believe that this screen protector is tougher than your average waterproof iPhone case.
Functionality – It’s tough to get to your iPhone through the Naztech Vault +
This is where the Naztech Vault + falls flat on its face. Accessing your iPhone inside the case is below par when compared to other cases. The camera flash is covered with this pin-hole that turns your camera flash into a spot light so your photographs are going to be a little different.
The plugs that cover the headphone jack and lightning ports work quite well but they will only work with Apple accessories. You will have a difficult time using anything that is slightly larger than your Apple headphone jack or lightning cable. Naztech does include a headphone jack extension which would allow you to use 3rd Party headphones. The buttons on the Vault + are quite easy to use and the mute switch is a little different as you can turn the whole switch 360 degrees.
Sound coming from the Vault + isn’t bad from the ear piece speaker but it’s very muted when coming from the speaker at the bottom since there isn’t a cutout for them.
We will mention that Naztech’s implementation of their membrane for the Touch ID is the best that we’ve used on an Touch ID compatible waterproof iPhone case. From what we can see, the size of the membrane must make a difference as it feels very similar to the LifeProof and Otterbox membranes.
Accessing your iPhone touchscreen is a little annoying for two reasons. The first reason deals with the gap between the screen protector and the touchscreen which is quite significant. In the center of the case, there is approx. 1mm of space which really deadens the sensitivity of the touchscreen.
The second reason also involves the gap as it is not consistent throughout the entire case. You will be required to press differently on different parts of the case.
In terms of screen viewability, during our testing period for our Naztech Vault + Review, we discovered that the screen protector scratches very easily. With the iPhone on, its a little more difficult to see the scratches but over time, they will become noticeable even when the device is on. The glare on the screen protector isn’t bad but it definitely isn’t helped by the fact that the touchscreen is flush so you have these “wobbly” reflections.
As we mentioned above, you need to decide what’s more important, having a case with some of the best water protection with reduced iPhone functionality or take your 70 bucks and spent it on another case with less water protection but better access to your iPhone.