Review: Seidio’s OBEX Waterproof iPhone case - Macenstein

Review: Seidio’s OBEX Waterproof iPhone case

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I’ve has a standalone waterproof Canon camera for years, and while it has certainly allowed me to get shots with the kids out in the ocean that I would be too scared to attempt with my SLR or my iPhone, I never loved that camera. The display was hard to see, especially with sunglasses, the pictures were OK, but not great, and the camera stunk as an all-purpose camera – it really could only shoot in sunlight. Plus, as I have come to rely more and more on my iPhone for my daily snapshot needs, I have grown accustomed to the various photo and retouching apps that I have instant access to on my phone, versus hooking the camera or card to my computer, importing, then trying to color correct in Photoshop, export, then share via clunky web interfaces. In theory I SHOULD be happy to have access to the power of Photoshop, but really the workflow is so much slower than just doing it in-phone, plus I can instantly post to social media or email to friends and family.

So when we planned a recent island vacation to get away from our sub-zero winter, I decided it would be a perfect time to review a waterproof iPhone case. That way I could write off the entire trip as a tax expense. (That’s how it works, right?) Anyway, after a bit of searching I decided on Seidio’s OBEX case for my iPhone 6 Plus $89.95 ($75-$85 on Amazon). I liked a lot of their recent regular cases for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and I liked the slimness of the case and the promised light weight.

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I’ve reviewed waterproof iPhone cases in the past, and while the OBEX shares some of their annoyances, they are simply the necessary tradeoffs that come with wanting to submerge your iPhone for extended periods of time. Overall you would be hard pressed to find a simpler, more enjoyable waterproof case for your iPhone than the OBEX.

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OBEX iPhone Waterproof case

The OBEX is available in a bunch of different color styles, all of which consist of a simple, two-part snap-together design. Seidio recommends you snap the case together and then leave it submerged for 5 minutes or so to make sure it does not leak before trusting your iPhone to it, and I did that by weighing it down in a full sink for about 10 minutes. After drying it off and opening it, everything looked dry as a bone, so I took the plunge, literally.

All I have to say is the OBEX really made our vacation. From underwater snapshots of the kids, to video on the not-so-lazy river, to slow motion video of us throwing the kids out in the crystal clear ocean water, we got some great shots that we definitely could not have done without this case.

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The OBEX has a built-in screen protector and snap-in rubber membranes that block up charging ports and headphone jacks. The OBEX is certainly the most useable waterproof case I have ever tried, and I have had it on my iPhone for almost 3 solid weeks now, and plan to keep it on for another couple until all my winter snow fun is over. Somehow even the touch ID sensor works! Other waterproof cases require you physically screw the case together with hex screws, and they were HEAVY. Plus keeping track of screws and tools is my kryptonite. Using the OBEX is as easy as using any snap-together case, and is as easy to install as a standard Otterbox, but with more water resistance.

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As for that water resistance, the OBEX is rated for submersion to just over 6 feet deep for about a half hour at a time. This is ideal for pool or ocean shots, but you can’t take it scuba diving (although we DID take it snorkeling). It felt weird to have my iPhone in my bathing suit pocket and then walk around in the pool with it below water, and I had a lot of people inquire about the case when they saw me taking pictures. Out of the water the OBEX is rated for a similar 6 foot drop protection from falls, so you’re covered both in and out of the water.


I love the OBEX’s ease-of-use and installation, and its light weight, but there ARE a couple minor annoyances that will ultimately keep me from using it as a day-to-day forever case. First, I use my headphone jack a LOT, both for headphone and in my car to connect to the AUX port, and this isn’t easy with the OBEX. They include a screw-in audio adapter that hangs out about 2 inches, which makes a nice waterproof seal, but also makes it annoying as heck when you are NOT using headphones to have this thing dangling off your iPhone all the time. Just like I don’t like keeping track of screws and tools, I do not want to have to keep track of this adapter. I can’t imagine many people are listening to music underwater, so this must be so that if you have your iPhone poolside with headphones, and then drop it in the pool accidentally, it will stay safe, but it’s a pain. Around my house I am all bluetooth with speakers, and if my car had an enjoyable bluetooth setup I might use it there too, thus eliminating this gripe, but as it stands now I don’t like it.

On the water photography front, I learned that in going from underwater to above water, the lens in the OBEX would usually retain a glob of water, which would then ruin future pictures until you dried it. What I learned to do out in the field however, if to dunk he iPhone, then bring it up and give a quick sharp blow at the lens to blow the water droplet off. I got pretty good at this. All this really means is if you want to take underwater pool video, I found starting above water, then going down worked better that shooting under and coming up as the above shots would look like a drop of water was obscuring some of the lens.

The only other gripes I have are minor – the mute switch is a little hard to toggle, and the only charging cable that can fit through the OBEX port is the Apple branded lightning cable. I bought a TON of longer Amazon branded cables, and their heads are just too fat to fit through the hole.

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But really, those are it, and if you are going waterproof you’ll find the same issues in worse cases. I suppose I should mention that the phone still works as a phone, you can hear and make calls somehow, but the speakerphone feature of the case re-routs the speaker audio out the BACK of the phone, through three small slits, which means if you lay your iPhone flat on your desk, face up, to listen to music or podcasts, it will be very muffled unless you flip it face down, or, do what I do, stick a pencil or pen behind it to lift the phone up slightly on an angle. Then it sounds fine, perhaps even louder than normal.

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The OBEX is not super cheap at $90, but it IS the best waterproof iPhone case I’ve ever used, and it certainly enhanced our vacation photos. You can take your iPhone with you places you never dared before, and snap some really fun shots. Or you can just not have to worry about a toddler spilling their drink on it at a restaurant. Maybe that piece of mind alone will be worth $90 to you.

Seidio’s OBEX case for my iPhone 6 Plus

Price: $89.95 ($75-$85 on Amazon)
Pros: Simple to assemble, waterproof up to 6 feet, lightweight, access to charging ports, ability to get shots you would not normally get with your phone
Cons: Water can get stuck in recessed lens hole requiring it to be blown out, annoying headphone adapter (if you still use headphone jacks)

2 Responses to “Review: Seidio’s OBEX Waterproof iPhone case”
  1. Jon says:

    Don’t need it now, but I might pick one up sometime.

  2. Hanan says:

    Why have you stopped writing here???

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