This is one waterproof smartphone case that might be overkill at the beach. Seidio announced its line of $79.95 Obex liquid-tight cases for the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III at CES 2013, and we went hands-on the show floor to see just how durable these cases were. Turns out, the answer is “very”.
The first thing to note about the Seidio Obex case is that they are rated for military level durability up to MIL-STD 810. That means they can survive falls up to 4 feet and withstand dust and sand, all in addition to withstanding an unlimited amount of time submerged in water. Waterproof cases from Otterbox are limited to 30 minutes in waters up to 6.6 feet deep and a case designed by Griffin bottoms out at 9.7 feet.
The Obex’s support for military-standard protection shows that the case emphasizes durability more than beauty. While Griffin’s waterproof case comes in warm, friendly colors like blue-green and yellow, the Obex is jet black—and is not available in any other tone. Likewise, the Griffin case packs a bright wrist lanyard, while the Obex docks into a black belt-clip holder (included for $89.95). This case is not for taking phone calls from the beach; it’s for business.
And that’s exactly what the 124mm thick, midnight polycarbonate chassis implied during our hands-on. The case was a little chunky but its curves were smooth and offered a professional style. Its anti-glare glass cover, designed for working in the sunlight and bright overhead office lights, was also a smart addition.
To seal out water, the Obex uses an O-ring that creates a liquid-safe barrier around the smartphone, then a two-piece case clips shut around the package. It took us a few minutes to get the case off a Samsung Galaxy S III, but we imagine practice will make perfect when it comes to inserting and removing the device from its case.
Speaking of design, here’s one thing we’re sure Apple fans will appreciate: The Obex has a glass-protected cut-out for the iPhone’s back-facing Apple logo, so while the case is protecting your smartphone against the elements, no one’s going to forget you’re carrying an iPhone.
If anyone in the Android camp is jealous, keep an eye out for Obex cases for the Samsung Galaxy Note II and the Google Nexus 4 smartphones later in Q1.