Determined to acquire sea legs before the America’s Cup breezes into San Francisco in 2013, I’m learning to sail. Well, learning is a big word. Mostly trying not to get smacked by the boom and checking out the porpoises.
The Bay Area is known for its challenging waters, so I figured it’d be a good place to test out DryCASE, which vacuum seals your iPhone into a waterproof pouch that you can wear as an armband or around your neck.
Once sucked into the case, you can still use your iPhone to shoot video, take pics and even talk, thanks to the included ear jack. Fearing that I’d be gal overboard or ruin my phone had previously hampered my efforts to document some of the most spectacular views of the city from the water.
The good news: it fulfills all these promises. Once you vacuum seal your iPhone into the case, you can snap pics (better, I hope, than the one I took with an iPhone 4S for demo purposes above, which is blurry through no fault of the case), or shoot video without air bubbles from the surrounding case ruining the visuals. Calling home to say you haven’t become chum and have espied some cormorants while the iPhone is in the case is also pretty smooth sailing.
On the down side, the design is ugly and cumbersome. While I didn’t get as much ribbing from the crew about wearing it as I anticipated, the large white “outie” valve and plastic pump are eyesores as well as awkward to use.
You definitely need a minute or two on dry land (i.e. not when you’re trying to find your balance on a moving boat) to get your iDevice properly ensconced in DryCASE. The plastic is kind of sticky, so you need to place your iPhone inside rather than just plop it in there, then use the external vacuum pump to suck the air out. It’s also not specifically designed for the iPhone, so the pouch is bigger (and a little more unwieldy) than it needs to be.
The armband was what initially attracted me to DryCASE but, alas, it turned out to be less useful than a paddle on dry land. The strap is way too long – like, you could wrap it around a Hulk bicep or a supermodel waist – and once you’ve shortened it to your mere mortal arm, the extra Velcro just dangles there. The lanyard turned out to be the ticket – the cord is long enough to fit nicely over a life jacket.
For about $40, if your nautical adventures involve anything more than just the occasional pleasure cruise, the DryCASE is probably worth it to keep your iPhone high and dry.