No “fluff” comparison for the best waterproof iPhone 6 case?
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So are you looking for a case to protect your iPhone this summer while you vacation out by the water? or maybe you live in a wet place and need a tougher iPhone 6 case. Well, we’ve personally used 5 of the most common waterproof cases out there for the iPhone 6 and we’re going to let you know which case is the best.
Out of the 5 that we’ve reviewed, we’re giving our hat-tip to the LifeProof Nuud in general but there are certain scenarios where the Catalyst Waterproof comes out on top. Both the Nuud and Catalyst do better than the LifeProof Fre, Seidio Obex and Dog & Bone Wetsuit!
There are a couple of waterproof iPhone cases that haven’t been released so check our comparison tool to make see if we’ve reviewed it yet! Notable cases include the HitCase Pro and the Lunatik Aquatik!
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Design – The LifeProof iPhone cases come out on top
In terms of design which deals with the size/weight, how easy it is to install and build quality, the LifeProof Nuud comes out on top followed by the LifeProof Fre, Catalyst Waterproof, Seidio Obex and the Dog & Bone Wetsuit.
The size of the Dog & Bone wetsuit is really what lowers the score for the case as its really not that easy to take apart which is annoying when it gets wet. The build quality of the Wetsuit is higher than the other cases as it has a nice soft-rubber feel to it and held up well during our drop tests.
The LifeProof cases score the highest here as they are slim,lightweight and easy to install/remove. However, if you’re thinking about using a Nuud with screen protector that doesn’t fit the cutout, it’s not going to be waterproof anymore. If you need a better explanation, check out the torture test video in our LifeProof Nuud review for more information.
The Catalyst Waterproof and Seidio Obex are pretty nondescript in terms of design as they’re slightly larger than the LifeProof cases but and don’t wear as well over time as the other three waterproof iPhone cases.
Protection – The Catalyst Waterproof is the clear winner
We’ve discovered a couple of differences between these iPhone cases even though they’re all rated to the same drop height. The only iPhone case of note is Seidio Obex which had a tendency to come apart during drops. The iPhone never came flying out but still, in the off chance that you drop your Obex on a dock and it bounces into the ocean or lake, you’re iPhone is going to get wet. On the flip side, the Wetsuit has an extra layer so that IF the case came apart, your iPhone is still going to be protected (slightly).
The LifeProof Fre, Nuud and Catalyst all performed like they should, staying together which means that your iPhone stays happy. We did have an issue with our first LifeProof Fre cracking during our 6 ft drop but LifeProof was quick to replace it with another case that didn’t crack during a 6ft drop.
In terms of water protection, there is one clear winner which is the Catalyst since it provides water protection up to depths of 5m or 16.4 ft. All the other cases provide water protection up to 2m or 6.6 ft. With the depths aside, you cannot attach a wrisstrap to any of the LifeProof iPhone 6 cases which minimizes the usefulness of the LifeProof cases in water situations. The Catalyst, Wetsuit and Obex all have attachment points for wrist straps.
The Dog & Bone Wetsuit is a tougher case to take apart which may become an issue for some as the insides of the case between the sleeve and outer shell is going to get wet (this is intentional). Water is going to get between the sleeve and outside shell so you’re going to want to take your case apart to dry it because a wet iPhone case in your pocket is going to be uncomfortable.
For screen protection, there are two cases that don’t use screen protectors but still are still waterproof and shockproof. In our opinion, the Wetsuit and Nuud though LifeProof and Dog and Bone are pretty awesome feats of engineering but if you’re a little concerned about the your iPhone’s touchscreen, use the screen protectors provided by LifeProof and Dog & Bone.
Now, if you really want to keep your screen protector (glass or plastic) on your device and need a waterproof case and don’t want to use one with a built in screen protector, go with the Wetsuit as it offers a better chance of water protection but its not guaranteed. Again, we personally wouldn’t use a third party screen protector with the Nuud or Wetsuit as we believe the waterproofing is going to be compromised but if you really needed to, go with the Wetsuit.
We only know this because our Nuud test for the iPhone 6 Plus failed with a Sir Lancelot Holy Grail screen protector. Which leads to a point we made earlier in terms of the actual toughness of the Nuud as the extra set of o-rings on the case means that there is a higher chance of the case failing.
The Obex, Fre and Catalyst all have plastic screen protectors that are fairly thick and will protect your iPhone’s touchscreen.
Functionality – iPhone cases with no screen protectors win!
In terms of using your iPhone inside these waterproof iPhone cases, the ones with no built-in screen protector come out on top while the toughest case, the Catalyst, makes it a little more difficult to access your iPhone.
When it comes to handling, which we define as getting to your iPhone inside the case, every one of these cases will reduce the functionality of your iPhone slightly. Here are a few notable points:
– sound is generally muted for all the cases
– using larger 3rd party cables only works on the Wetsuit
– the camera flash gets clipped significantly on the Wetsuit (cutout is too small)
– TouchID works on all cases
In terms of screen functionality, every case generally works. The only case with a perfect score is the Nuud since it has no screen protector. You’d think the Wetsuit would be perfect as well but the edges of the case are really high which makes it harder to use the edges of your iPhone. The other three cases, all have gaps that are fairly noticeable which generally leads to a reduction in screen sensitivity though no case reduces your ability to access the swipe menus in the case.
When it comes to screen viewability, the LifeProof Fre is the worst of the bunch. The diffusion, glare and rainbowing on this case is so very awful. There’s nothing more frustrating to us than to take the wonderful Retina HD screen of the iPhone and covering it with something that makes it look like it come from 2008.
The Catalyst and Obex all suffer a bit of diffusion, glare and rainbowing but it’s pretty minor when compared to other cases and you almost don’t notice it when compared to the awful Fre’s screen protector.
So that’s all we have for the best waterproof iPhone 6 case. We’re big fans of the LifeProof Nuud but if spending time in the water is important, we’d suggest you check out the Catalyst Waterproof.
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