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iPhone Case Review: Wetsuit by Dog and Bone Cases for iPhone 5/5s Review
      #45822 - 12/30/13 10:41 AM

The Wetsuit by Dog and Bone Cases is a rugged waterproof case for the iPhone 5/5s that doesn't utilize a screen cover. The Wetsuit is as bulky as you'd expect from a waterproof case that also provides drop protection. Installation can be a bit tricky so it's important that you read the instructions prior. While the included guide is very thorough, for some reason you have to skip to the end to learn how to open the case as the first step only tells you how to close it.



Essentially, you will need a coin or similar object to pry the case apart. Be patient here and go slow because there is only one corner with a slot for this, and the gaps in the seam for buttons, etc. prevent it from coming apart easily. Once it's all back together, you will see how this case is engineered to the millimeter in order to be tight enough to provide a seal without stressing your phone.



Features and Quality

The Wetsuit's claim to fame is its ability to provide true waterproof protection without utilizing a screen cover. It manages this by creating a waterproof seal against the edge of your phone's glass display so if your screen is cracked this type of protection is not for you. Also, like all waterproof cases that use this design, it is only rated to 2 meters (or equivalent pressure) so don't go diving or even snorkeling with it. Also, like other similar cases, this makes it difficult to navigate at the extreme edges of your screen, particularly the bottom. Dog and Bone's solution to accessing Apple's Touch ID sensor works, but it usually requires multiple scans. Further, while Apple went to the trouble to make their sensor out of sapphire, the Wetsuit's cover is plastic. Consequently, even a single deep scratch on the lens will take it from fiddly to unusable. Dog and Bone Cases seems to be aware of this because they have built a thick guard around the sensor window, and deeply recessed it in the case. You would have to go out of your way to find something hard, sharp, and long enough to damage it so I suspect it won't be an issue for most. Just make sure it's clear of sand, dust, and debris before poking your finger in there.



Unlike most waterproof cases, the Wetsuit also does its best to protect your phone from significant drops. Each corner is reinforced and protected with a rubbery guard, and the waterproof inner boot itself is also thick and designed for shock absorption. Accessing your Lightning port and headphone jack is as simple as popping open the lower door and removing the silicone gasket that covers them. Just be aware that doing so will defeat the case's waterproof seal. Also be aware that the aforementioned gasket is completely removable and easily lost; so be sure to keep track of it. To make matters worse, if you access only one of these two ports, the gasket will remain nominally attached to the other, giving you the false impression that it is secure. It is not. For a waterproof case, the sound quality is surprisingly good, both for making calls and general audio output. In a weird twist of fate, one of my selected alert tones is pitched perfectly to cause the waterproof membrane to vibrate like a kazoo. Rest assured, however, this is not an issue you will notice except in very rare cases. Although it seems that I have detailed quite a laundry list of complaints, most of these are minor, however, and are simply compromises that must be made in a case with this level of protection. I can't even ding them too hard for the significant issue with the fingerprint sensor because it's a nut that nobody has yet to crack. Keep it in mind, however, if you're an avid fan of Touch ID.



Style

The Wetsuit comes in a wide variety of color combinations. The hard plastic portion is available in black or white, and the inner boot/rubber corner bumpers come in orange, blue, black, grey, white, and yellow.



Summary

The Wetsuit by Dog and Bone Cases isn't perfect, but it's the most accessible waterproof case available, and also provides significant drop protection.



Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4
What's Hot: True waterproof protection without a screen cover. Reinforced corners provide significant drop protection
What's Not: Touch ID sensor very unreliable. Guard surrounding home button can get in the way of navigating around the bottom of the screen. Waterproof membrane that protects headphone jack and lightning port is removable and easily lost.
Price: $79.95
Web site: Dog and Bone Cases

Reviewed by Tom Slayton







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