This rugged case turns your iPhone into a GoPro [Review]

By

The Hitcase Pro 2.0, shown with a super-wide lens, is now available for iPhone 6, 6s and 7 on Kickstarter.
The Hitcase Pro 2.0, shown with a super-wide lens, is now available for iPhone 6, 6s and 7 on Kickstarter.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Yes, the iPhone can shoot pictures in the same places as many pro-level cameras. But because the iPhone lacks pro-level durability, you may not bring it on your most rugged adventures.

Hitcase’s latest product should ease your mind and let capture your most extreme imagery ever.

The new Hitcase Pro 2.0 case provides a shockproof, waterproof housing for the iPhone 6, 6s and 7, with the option to add three quality camera lenses. The iPhone, encased in the Hitcase, can withstand powerful surf, powdery ski runs and muddy mountain bike trails. It will take the hits while your best shots will get hits from awe-struck followers, once the stills or video get posted to social media.

For this review, I did none of that. I’m not athletic and, at 50, now live across that threshold where if I do something fearless and crack a hip, I’m a goner.

However, on one recent day, I felt bold. I walked my dog in the rain and made pictures along the way, unafraid of the water because my iPhone felt well-protected.

Hitcase Pro 2.0 is one rugged iPhone case

With Hitcase Pro 2.0, confidence begins right out of the box. Pulling the front off the case to place the phone inside requires a deliberate peel; putting it back on requires another careful action to ensure the case seals properly.

The redesigned Hitcase is also the company’s thinnest yet. Instead of the boxy, thick plastic housing of its predecessor, the Hitcase Pro 2.0 is made from anodized aluminum, with a shock seal around the frame.

It’s easier to open and close, and when you do so, you really get a feel for how well-sealed it is. (The case is waterproof with or without a lens attached.) A side rail, used for a variety of Hitcase mounts, can be detached for an even slimmer profile.

The rain was steady at the start of my walk but trailed off into a constant mist. Water beaded off the clear sides of the Hitcase and never reached the phone inside.

TruLUX lenses for Hitcase Pro

Hitcase Pro 2.0 TruLUX lenses
Hitcase Pro 2.0 works with three TruLUX lenses: a wide-angle, a super-wide and a macro. They mount to a case that’s ready to protect the iPhone in any weather.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

The three TruLUX lenses provided by Hitcase for this review deliver decent clarity. There are two wide lenses: One covers a field of view of 104 degrees, while a super-wide offers 160 degrees. A macro lens has a working distance of 15 mm to 25 mm.

The case provides a screw mount, and the lenses tighten with a couple of quick turns. The iPhone lens is already plenty wide and for me, so a super-wide offers little to no use. Hitcase says this lens is designed primarily for video, and I understand how this provides a dramatic perspective for a snowboarder or any other adventure athlete (especially with the Hitcase mounted at chest level).

I would prefer some sort of telephoto, even if it was only equivalent to a 50 mm.

Hitcase Pro 2.0
Lily, my three-legged friend, poses for the wide lens.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
Hitcase Pro 2.0 TruLUX super-wide lens
The TruLUX super-wide lens serves up a 140-degree field of view.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
Hitcase Pro 2.0
The macro lens’ working distance ranges between 15 mm and 25 mm.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

One picky annoyance involves the labeling of the lenses. Each lens is labeled on the back in tiny writing, which is covered up by the back cap. The super-wide lens is bulbous and easy to figure out, but the macro and standard wide are about the same size. You lose time switching lenses if you must remove the back caps to figure out which lens you have in your hand.

That’s a little thing that could be easily remedied by marking each front cap with an M, W and SW with a Sharpie.

Hitcase rugged iPhone cases are a hit

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Hitcase has been around since 2013 and has grown a devoted community of users, including many extreme sports athletes and at least one all-weather dog walker.

If the iPhone is enough camera for you to leave the point-and-shoot or DSLR at home, the Hitcase Pro 2.0 with your iPhone could do the same to the GoPro or any other action camera.

Even if you don’t feel your iPhone photography needs the additional lenses, the Hitcase Pro 2.0 is worth having. It’s the best waterproof case I’ve tested.

Hitcase Pro 2.0 is available for the iPhone 6, 6s and 7 on Kickstarter and should begin shipping by June, according to the company. The case is available for $89 — about $40 off the eventual retail price. The case with all three lenses costs $169 ($30 off retail). Other products can be purchased on the Hitcase website.

Cult of Mac received a preproduction unit from Hitcase for this review. Read Cult of Mac’s reviews policy.