Friday, 14 August 2015

DiCAPac universal phone case review

Recently I came across the DiCAPac universal smart phone case and it's is a nice bit of kit.

Here I share a few points about it - which might be useful for any outdoorsy types who will need to get something like this sooner or later.  I will also share my family's reaction to me trying it out and why they think I'm bonkers  Firstly....

What it is

The DiCAPac is a nice looking blue plastic case. It is designed to protect and hold any smartphone up to 5.7 inches, keeping it dry when it gets splashed, dropped in water or even used underwater.  That's cool.

It costs around £20.  It has some impressive credentials including "all DiCAPac products have passed Japan's rigorous JIS IPX8 test and are all waterproof certified at the highest possible grade (grade 8).

Tested and passed up to 33ft an underwater lab test and actual real-life conditions. This means you can be assured your smartphone can be taken within the DiCAPac case up to 33ft (10 metres) underwater for long periods of time and capture those precious moments".

The details

The main construction is a flexible plastic case in a nice light blue colour.  On the front there is a clear panel allowing you to see the whole screen.  Interestingly you can still operate the phone easily through the window with all swipe and touch button gestures still working - it's rather like having a heavy duty screen protector in place.

The back panel has a clear section for the camera lens.  This is very clear and is perfect for taking photos or videos without any noticeable drop in quality.

You also get a nice lanyard which is adjustable and attaches onto two reinforced holes at one end of the case.  The lanyard has some quick release toggles and looks pretty smart in grey.

Waterproof and the small print

It is worth reading the blurb which comes with the DiCAPac.  Before you seal your £600 smart phone inside and take it swimming, you are advised to make sure it is completely waterproof.  Thoughts of "duh.... really?" come to mind and followed by "do I really have to?".  Yes you do.  Period.  End of.  Just do it.

To check the seals are okay, it is recommended you get some tissue paper and fold it up to place inside.  With the tissue paper inside, carefully roll the cover over making sure the double velcro seals are firm.  Then drop it in some water and push it under.  Afterwards simply take the tissue paper out and make sure it is dry - it should be and therefore okay to use for real.

Throwing it into the Grand Union canal!

My youngest daughter is a member of a local kayaking club and I often take her there.  While everyone was getting their boats into the water I rashly threw my iPhone/DiCAPac into the canal.  The splash was loud enough for it to be heard by others and was much to the horror of Hannah and the bystanders.  They thought I had totally "lost it" and by that I mean my iPhone and my sanity!

Thankfully it floated nicely and everyone could see it was absolutely fine.  Grabbing it out of the water I took a close look and it was perfectly dry inside.

Amazingly the phone can still be heard easily in spite of being in a waterproof sealed case - I didn't really expect this to be so good.  It is easy to use the screen and all the swiping.  It is a little more fiddly pressing the physical buttons on the side and top of the phone but I guess these are likely to be used less often.

Long term, hard going use

Like all outdoorsy or sporty kit, I suspect this DiCAPac case will eventually have its limitations.  It is worth regularly checking the seal and seams are intact and not leaking in anyway.  I recommend you check this with tissue paper in a bowl of water, as well as visually checking the actual case itself.  If I were swimming frequently underwater, I think its worth getting something a little more robust.

Normal, everyday outdoorsy use

The DiCAPac is absolutely ideal for normal day to day use.  This means taking it kayaking, running, hiking whether it is wet or dry - simply because it is a cushioned case which absorbs the knocks and splashes thrown at it.  I think it's one of those "good to know it's there" pieces of kit which will simply keep your smart phone well protected in a wide range of conditions.

"You're still bonkers"

Yep my family still think I'm completely bonkers for testing this with my £600 iPhone inside.

Available from: mobile fun

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