Aquapac Trailproof Phone Case Review

1st Jul 2016

Aquatic Trailproof Case

An Aquapac Trailproof phone case recently arrived for testing at Peak Mountaineering HQ and, fortuitously, it was just in time for our annual water and rock coast pilgrimage in North Wales.  Over the course of a busy week it was used for a range of water activities and was also taken climbing a number of times. What we weren’t able to test it for during this time was rain proofing - the sun shone all week!

Features

The Aquapac Trailproof phone case is a 100% waterproof phone case designed for harsh environments (it is rated to IPX7 level which means it is protected against immersion for 30 minutes to a depth of less than 3ft/1metre) and constructed from durable Cordura nylon with chunky clear plastic across the front and a half height clear plastic section on the back.  There is also a clip in loop on each side and the case comes with a small accessory carabiner to help you attach it to everything from a buoyancy aid to a rucksack strap. It is designed to fit a wide range of smartphones (up to the size of an iPhone 6 Plus) and allows full touchscreen functionality (with the exception of the fingerprint ID function on iPhones).  The closure is by a zip lock style closure backed up by a Velcro flap.  The case we received was in black which, as far as I am aware, is the only colour available for this model.

The Test

The case was used for kayaking and coasteering (which involved cliff jumps and plenty of swimming).  It was also carried in a rucksack a fair amount and taken on a number of climbs clipped to the back of a harness.  Finally, it has been used for on completely sedentary beach session a number of times!

During the test period I kept my phone in the case as much as possible (with the exception of charging it) and so used it in the case for making and receiving calls, taking photos, watching videos, texting, emailing and lots of app usage.

The Results

The Trailproof phone case turned out to be everything Aquapac claim.  It proved itself to be fully waterproof and, despite some initial nervousness at the simple zip lock closure, I gradually grew to fully trust it.  My initial test, just to be sure, was to immerse it in a pan of water with tissue paper stuffed inside.  Once I was happy that it was keeping the contents dry then I tried it with an old smartphone inside and it coped without a hitch.  

Trail proof Case in Water

So, I finally took a leap of faith and put my iPhone 6s inside.  The phone stayed well protected through a range of activities with the biggest test being full immersion during a coasteering and kayaking session.  The zip lock closure is backed up with a Velcro fastened flap that folds over the front which ensured the case didn’t show any signs of opening by mistake.  It is a very reliable system.  As it is impervious to water it is also able to keep out other contaminants like dust or grit.

Along each side of the case there is a clip in point cut into the Cordura and Aquapac provide a small accessory carabiner to facilitate this.  I tried a climb with the case fastened on to my harness and the case happily stayed put although I did swap the carabiner for a screw gate (it would be better if Aquapac provided a small screwgate biner rather than a snapgate) just to be sure it couldn't become detached.  I never normally climb with a phone attached like that so it was purely for testing, but if you need to then the option is there.  For coasteering and kayaking I stored the case inside my buoyancy aid pocket but still attached it via a short leash as I take my phone out of the pocket regularly to use it as a camera and always worry about dropping it.  This system worked really well.

Trailproof Case with phone

The clear plastic front panel of the Trailproof is designed to be fully compatible with touchscreen phones and, as it is fairly thick material, I was interested to see how this worked.  It actually worked very well and I had no problem operating any phone functions with the exception of the fingerprint ID reader.  The other factor can be that touch screens don't work very well when moderately wet but I was pleased to find it worked at least as well as other cases I have used. Of course, like other phone cases, capacitive touchscreens don’t work underwater because the water breaks the circuit.  However, you can use the volume buttons to operate your camera underwater (certainly on the iphone).

On the rear of the case there is another clear panel which allows the phone camera to be used when in the case.  I have tried this a lot during the various water activities and the quality of the photos doesn't seem affected by the added barrier.  I guess it may get scratched over time but for the time being it is great.

Cases of this type inevitably put a barrier between phone and user and this can inevitably affect the phone quality when making and receiving calls and listening to music.  There was a slight drop in quality between the phone being in the case and not, but I was really pleasantly surprised by how clear the sound quality was.    

The construction of the Aquapac Trailproof is very good.  The materials are durable and the case is bonded together neatly and, it seems to me, solidly.  This isn’t by any means a lightweight case in terms of construction materials, but it does only weigh 50 grams and feels like it will last really well.

Summary

This is an excellent case.  It has a simple but efficient construction, is extremely durable and fully delivers on promised waterproofness and functionality.  The case is also a size which will fit a variety of devices and this means it may outlive your current smartphone and still be useable when you upgrade.  It is also worth mentioning that although I expect the main user group for this product will be leisure users, but I see it also being practical for use in work or industrial applications. It is also, at a RRP £14, extremely good value.

Posted by Paul 

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