5 ways to waterproof your iPhone this summer
Now that the iPhone is your address book, GPS system, camera, email reader, MP3 player and a whole host of other things, you want it with you wherever you go all summer long. That includes the beach, a canoe trip, fishing, river rafting and hanging out poolside.
To help you feel more comfortable taking your phone to these potentially gadget-wrecking places, we scoured the Web looking for a variety of covers to keep your iPhone safe from splashing, drowning and cocktail spills. Here's what we found, from high to low:
1. Magellan ToughCase,$99.99
Pros: This doesn't just protect your iPhone, it improves it. The ToughCase includes an internal battery that charges the iPhone, and it has an integrated GPS chip that improves reception accuracy. Also, it allows the phone to be submerged at a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes, and it is completely interactive -- you can still use the touch screen, hard buttons and audio jack.
Cons: It adds bulk to the phone, and it's pricey.
Pros: Capable of holding other electronic devices, not just the iPhone. The company says it will keep the phone dry at a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes, comes with a neck strap and allows you to take pictures and movies underwater. Also, the website gives specific instructions on how to use the case so you won't ruin your iPhone.
Cons: Still pretty pricey, especially if it's your second case.
3. Otterbox 2000, $17.95
Pros: The Otterbox 2000 offers more than just water protection -- it offers drowning protection too. Drop your phone over the side of a boat while it's in this case and the iPhone will bob on the water until you fish it out. The $17.95 price tag is well within the range of reason.
Cons: Your iPhone may be totally protected, but it's also unusable while in the box. Also, the Otterbox is even bulkier than the Magellan ToughCase. You won't be sliding this into your pocket.
4. Expansys Waterproof Case, $11.99
Pros: A fairly sleek, airtight case that boasts 16 individual sealing points and a twist-lock design that makes it easy to take the device in and out of the case. The case floats, and the company says special "Play Through" material gives users full access to the phone, allowing them to use the touch scren. Also, this neon-yellow color would make it easy to find in a beach bag. (The case also comes in black.)
Cons: None immediately apparent, but I haven't tried this one yet.
5. Ziploc bag
Pros: You can't beat the price, and you probably already have this on hand. If not, it is easily purchased at a supermarket or drugstore. My sister, who just spent a month on a research boat off the coast of San Diego, said this was the way most of the seafaring scientists kept their phones dry.
Cons: This is more of an "in a pinch" option. On the Ziploc website a commenter reported that the Ziploc kept her phone dry when it plunged into a river on a rafting trip, but nobody would suggest you actually submerge a phone in a Ziploc bag. (We did it, and it did eventually get wet.)
-- Deborah Netburn
Photos: Magellan ToughCase, courtesy of Magellan; Krusell SEaLABox Waterproof Case, courtesy of Krusell; Otterbox 2000, courtesy of Otterbox; Expansys Waterproof Case, courtesy of Expansys; David Sarno's old cellphone in a Ziploc bag, Kathy Pyon/Los Angeles Times