Review: Dog & Bone WetSuit Topless Waterproof iPhone 5 Case

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Introduction

Summer is almost over.  I can’t believe it.  Just this morning my wife asked if we could take the kids shopping for back to school supplies this weekend.  I know I’m not ready.  How about you?  Do you have one last summer fling planned?  My family and I alway spend the last week of the summer visiting my mother at her cabin in Maine.  Besides eating a lot of lobster one thing the trip always promises is water.  Whether we’re on the lake swimming or kayaking, in the canoe, or fishing, or near the ocean, I’ve got to keep my iPhone 5 protected while I’m there.  A waterproof case is the perfect way to do it.

The one thing most waterproof cases have in common is their hard to deal with built in screen protectors.  While the LifeProof Nuud case might be getting all the press for it’s lack of screen shield there was actually a case that came before the Nudd sans screen protector.

The Dog & Bone WetSuit is the first iPhone 5 case that manages to be totally waterproof without any degradation to the iPhone 5’s screen.  Sound to good to be true?  Well you’ll have to check out my full review to find out.

Read on through for my full review and be sure to catch the video at the end for a more up close and personal look at the Dog & Bone WetSuit Topless Waterproof iPhone 5 Case.

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Design

Inside the packaging you’ll find the case along a set of instructions.  Nothing else comes included.  What’s missing, is perhaps a screen shield.  This case is going to draw obvious comparisons to the recently released LifeProof Nuud case, which is also a topless style waterproof case.  The Nuud does come with an optional screen protector and additional replacement ones are sold through the LifeProof web site.

The WetSuit doesn’t include one so if you’re someone who is concerned about screen scratches this is something to consider.  The instructions do point out that the use of any may disrupt the WetSuit’s ability to properly seal.

Here’s what Dog & Bone has to say about the WetSuit Topless Waterproof iPhone 5 Case.

Wetsuit – an iPhone 5 waterproof case and rugged case like none other!

Topless. Tough. Waterproof…you’re good to go!

Life is active. You work, you play, and you eat and drink. But no matter what, water is in your life every day.

Wouldn’t it make it that much easier if your smartphone could join you for both the smooth and the rough moments, the dry times and the wet ones and you didn’t have to worry all the while if it would live through the end of the day!

Dog & Bone’s new Wetsuit iPhone 5 case is waterproof, shockproof, dirtproof and snowproof. Jump from activity to activity – from land to water – and stay confident all the while your mobile phone is protected.

Better still, this waterproof and rugged mobile phone case is streams ahead of anything else. Not only is Dog & Bone’s Wetsuit iPhone 5 waterproof case tough and rugged, yet masterfully slim and stylish with complete access to all ports and controls, but it has a unique cutting edge design like none other of its kind (patent pending). Wetsuit is the WORLD’S FIRST topless waterproof mobile phone case giving you optimum direct touch screen sensitivity.

Function

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The WetSuit case comes in 11 different colors.  There are a ton of fun combinations to choose from.  These include:  Electric Orange, Electric Blue, White Lime, Grey Mist, B&W, Red Mist, Crispest White, Orange Tingle, Sea Breeze, Blackest Black.

I should should note, the case that I was sent for review seems to be a Black and Lime version, which I do not see listed on the company’s web site.

As with any waterproof case the first, and most important, step in the installation process is to complete a water test.  Dog & Bone actually suggests you perform this test every time you go to install the case.  As someone who only uses a waterproof case when I know I’m going to be near water this could be inconvenient, but it’s imperative to insure your case is still functioning properly and it might just save the life of your phone.

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To open the case you flip down the protective door which covers the bottom of the iPhone 5.  It’s tightly locked so you’ll have to use your fingernail to pry up at the purchase point just below the home button.

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With the door open you use a coin to pry apart the front and back pieces of the case. Insert a coin into the slot just to the right of the home button (when looking at the front of the phone) and twist.  The case comes apart easily at that point.

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There’s one final piece to the case and it’s probably the most important.  Inside the two sections of the case is a special membrane which surrounds your phone.  This is actually what keeps water from getting inside.  Out the of the box the membrane is wrapped around a plastic block meant to resemble the iPhone 5.  You’ll use this to perform the water test.

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To complete the water test I used my kitchen sink.  I filed the sink with water, placed the case inside and topped it with a coffee mug to weigh it down.  I then left it for 30 minutes.

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When I removed the case I found zero water had reached the dummy phone.  You may find water on or around the membrane but not inside it and that’s all that really matters.

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Using the case with it installed is about what you’d expect.  It’s a little on the heavy side but that’s because it’s so protective.  To use headphones with the case you’ll need to flip open the door at the bottom exposing a small opening for the headset jack.  I’d venture a guess and say nothing larger than the standard Apple ear pods will fit.  This also doesn’t allow you to use waterproof headphones with the case like the LifeProof cases do since the case’s bottom has to be opened to plug headphones in.  Same holds true for the Lightning port.  You’ll want to stick to the Apple supplied Lightning cable.

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The volume buttons and sleep/awake buttons on the iPhone 5 get covered by the cases’s internal membrane.  These give off a ton of tactile feedback when pressed.  The button which covers the mute switch performs well as well.  The back of the case has a clear cutout leaving you free to show of the phone’s Apple logo.

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I made several calls with the WetSuit case and found no issues with call clarity.  Both on my end and from my callers.  I could hear calls though the case just fine and on the other end my callers reported I sounded just like I also did, something that can’t always be said for the LifeProof case.

Video

Check out my full video review below…


Summary

I’ve used several waterproof iPhone cases that have built in screen protectors.  Each has been difficult to use.  Some cause watermarking or a rainbow effect, others pillow up making typing a challenge.  There’s something totally liberating about using an iPhone case that’s completely waterproof yet leaves the screen totally free and clear.  The Dog & Bone WetSuit case is a pleasure to use.  However, that does leave your screen totally exposed and scratching or cracking is certainly a possibility.  I’m a bit undecided as to whether or not this is worth it.

For someone like me, who only uses a waterproof case on a infrequent basis I think not.  I’d personally rather have a case that has a screen protector (one that doesn’t make the phone hard to use though) for the one or two times a year I use a waterproof case.  However, if I was one who needed a waterproof case every day I’d certainly rather use one like the WetSuit.  Is it better than the LifeProof Nuud?  It’s certainly cheaper.  But it doesn’t come with a screen guard.  If that’s not important to you than the WetSuit is better suited for you.  More colors and you’ll save a few bucks too.

You can learn more about the Dog & Bone WetSuit Topless Waterproof iPhone 5 Case by visiting this page on the company’s web site.

MSRP:  $79.95

PROS:  Tons of colors.  No screen protector.

CONS:  Doesn’t include a screen guard.

Four

 

 

 

Larry

Larry has always had a passion for gear and gadgets. It all started for him with the release of the very first Palm Pilot. He has always had an interest in handheld electronics. From handheld PDAs, to cell phones, Mp3 players, watches and other products, Larry is the first person his friends, family and colleagues call when they need advice on tech.

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