iPods are perfect gizmos for getting through the drudgery of workouts allowing your mind to wander to the music, but what if your workouts consist of water sports or swimming or anything more extreme that a stationary bike and treadmill? Otterbox says they have the solution with their line of waterproof iPod cases for the extreme and active geek. Combined with waterproof headphones, the Otterbox should allow you to swim while listening to your tunes. The Geeks think that’s pretty cool, but do the Otterbox cases actually work? Check out the rest of the review to see if my Mini or Nano get ruined testing the Otterbox cases and to see what we think of Otterbox’s products.
Look and feel
The Otterbox would not be considered Apple-chic as Apple’s sleek design becomes bulky when protected with the case which resembles other digital equipment waterproof housings. The case is made of a hard and thick transparent plastic material.
With a sturdy hinge at the top of the Otterbox, the case does not completely separate but allows ample room to fit your Mini (or Nano depending on the product) into the case. The case closes and locks into place using a significant plastic latch at the bottom. The latch closes and tightly seals the case.
The case has a built-in coupler for the headphone jack. As you place the iPod into the case you insert the 1/8″ coupler plug from the case into the headphone jack of the iPod. The output of the coupler on the outside of the case is located on the top end in the center. This allows you to insert the waterproof headphones and swim without worrying about water penetrating into the headphone jack.
The ClickWheel of the Nano and Mini are protected in the case by a thin membrane that allows you to continue to control your iPod while in the case.
The Otterbox also comes with a belt clip and we received an armband to test as well. Changing from one attachment to another is quite easy to do as the attachments slide and kind of clip into place. The arm clip is quite handy and is show in the pictures with the people in the pool and seems to be an excellent upgrade.
The cases are rugged and waterproof to an extent. While the cases are not made to withstand the pressures of scuba diving, you should be able to go snokeling (the Otterbox is rated to a depth of 1m or 3ft so be cautious while snorkeling) or swimming just fine. In addition to being waterproof, the cases are also dirtproof, sandproof and drop-proof.
Who needs this?
This is not your everyday iPod case at all in fact. So, who really needs an Otterbox?
While testing out the Otterbox samples, a couple of geek friends looked at the product and wondered who would need such a thing. Of course, they do not understand why I have an underwater casing for my Canon Digital Elph either! Afterall, the Otterbox is not your typical iPod case that protects the iPod from dropping or being slid into your pocket with keys or coins that could scratch. In fact, if you can fit an Otterbox in your pocket, your pants are too big!
Otterboxes in general are built upon the concept of a ruggedized case for storing valuables and is an ideal solution for any adventureâ€”hiking, biking, diving, camping, fishing, hunting, boating, kayaking, traveling, swimming and more. Otterboxes are perfect for people that have active lifestyles especially in and around water, dirt and sand.
For example, you would not carry your iPod in an Otterbox to hang out at a coffee shop, but if you were hanging out on a boat or beach all weekend an Otterbox would be needed. You also probably would not put your iPod in an Otterbox if you’re going to go run on the treadmill, instead the Otterbox would be needed if you wanted to listen to your tunes while swimming laps for a workout or shooting some rapids in a kayak. Finally, the Otterbox would not be necessary if heading to your high rise building to your tech geek job, but an Otterbox would be perfectly appropriate if your tech geek job takes you to the sands of Iraq or Afghanistan.
In other words, the Otterbox is right for the extreme geek!
Otterbox offers waterproof cases ranging from their original Otterbox line to Cigar cases to soon to be released Laptop cases. Otterbox now includes a full line of iPod cases including Mini, Nano, Shuffle, 20gb, Photo and now Video.
So, does it work?
Putting a Nano and my Mini in perils way, I mounted the iPods into the Otterbox cases and since it was 40 degrees and our pool is closed, I trekked to the nearest bathroom with a sink. Without regard for the precious cargo in the Otterboxes, I turned the sink on and one by one placed them under the running water making sure each part, and in particular the openings, were splashed with water. After a minute or two, I dried off both cases and opened them. No water leakage!
Next, I filled the sink up with water and dropped the cases into the water. The cases floated leading me to the conclusion that they would be great for boating and accidents at the beach where the tide catches you unaware as you are sleeping! I then pushed the cases underwater for maybe twenty seconds and then pulled the cases out, dried them off and checked to see if any water leaked into the cases. No water leakage! Again, the Otterboxes are not rated at a depth of more than one meter or three feet, I suspect you will not have any leakage while swimming.
Finally, I wanted to see if the Otterbox could handle some punishment while still protecting the Nano and Mini. The first test was a simple drop test which did not even phase the case. I dropped both the Nano case and the Mini case from about five feet in the air on to carpet. The Otterbox and the iPods suffered no ill effects.
I then stood on the Otterbox with all my weight (and I definitely have some weight for testing!) and even dug my heel into the case as I stood on the Otterboxes and iPods. Again, no cracking or problems occurred. These iPod cases are quite tough! The only issue that I could see with standing or having something heavy sitting on the case is if that object were directly over the thin membrane covering the ClickWheel.
How much and where can I get one?
You can find the various Otterbox iPod Cases on Otterbox’s website. The iPod Mini case retails for $29.95 and the iPod Nano case retails for $39.95. Otterbox also carries cases for the other iPods including the Shuffle ($19.95), the 20GB iPod ($29.95), the Photo iPod ($29.95) and a recently released case for the Video iPod ($49.95). The armband accessory mentioned in the review retails for $14.95. Currently, if you fill out a survey you can receive 10% off your order.
Amazon.com even carries Otterbox products!
How groovy will it be to swim laps at the neighborhood pool while listening to your iPod instead of the Marco-Polo screams? Very groovy baby!
The iPods lose their design of sleekness in the Otterbox cases. Because of this, Otterboxes are not the daily case for most geeks… unless you’re an extreme geek.
The Otterbox iPod cases are waterproof, dustproof, dirtproof, sandproof and drop-proof. Also, you have the ability to continue to use the ClickWheel while the iPod is in the case… even underwater. For an active lifestyle user of iPods, these are the features you are looking for.
With the tests I performed, the Otterbox passed with flying colors. No iPods were harmed in the conducting of this review!
While the Otterbox is made of a transparent plastic substance, that material is very strong. Also, the seal created by latching the case closed is truly air and water tight. Otterbox has created a very high quality product.
$49.95 to ruggedize your iPod from being crushed or having dirt, dust or water ruin your valuable and beloved iPod… worth it!
Overall the Otterbox cases are best in class and truly protect your iPods. They withstand water, dirt and dust not to mention a chubby geek standing directly on the case! While the Otterbox cases may not be for everyone, if you need to ruggedize your iPod, this product will do it.