Makers of today’s smartphones typically take pride in the gadgets being portable mini computers. It’s a description that holds true not just in terms of their performance but their price. Take out the carrier discounts and the darned things can cost as much as an actual computer. So whether it be the financial investment that a smartphone entails or even the active lifestyles of some users, getting protection for the devices can be a big deal. Such users are who the Seidio Obex iPhone 5 case is geared toward — a product that promises to protect one’s Apple phone from both falls and good, old “h20.”
The case I tested essentially came in three pieces. There’s the front cover, back cover, as well as a holster that comes with a clip. The front and back cover features a plastic construction with a rubber lining that acts as a waterproof seal once both are combined as a shell for the iPhone 5. Although it looks intimidating, the case itself is quite easy to put together. Just align both sides properly and press and you’re all set. You’ll want to make sure that the case is snapped together cleanly with no gaps in order to create that waterproof seal. If you see a gap anywhere, then either press harder on those sections or realign both sides of the case again. The main case also fits in quite easily with the holster, which is good since the last thing you want is to finagle with the case too much when answering a phone call. For added security, the holster also has a lock switch so the main case does not fall out of the holster easily.
The built-in screen guard works quite well and did not negatively impact the sensitivity of the iPhone 5 screen. The iPhone 5 I tested the case on also had a screen protector already installed so I was worried that touchscreen sensitivity might be negatively impacted by an additional screen guard, but that fortunately wasn’t the case. It does come with dots on the screen guard, which might annoy some people, so keep that in mind.
Like the Rokshield V3 iPhone 5 case, the Seidio Obex adds some chunk to your iPhone 5, especially with the holster. The inner case itself, however, isn’t as chunky as some protective cases like the Otterbox, for example. It obviously still isn’t as thin as, say, the Marware Revolution but it’s still reasonably sized given its function. The Obex also comes with outer buttons or indentations for accessing the home, power and volume controls. You’ll have to press harder than usual but they still work. Openings are also present for accessing the headphone jack socket, mute switch and charger port. Do note that it adds depth to these access points, particularly the mute toggle and the Lightning port so access becomes a little bit tougher for both. These openings are also the main weak link when it comes to Obex’s waterproof functionality so you’ll want to make sure they are closed tight if you plan on banking on the case to keep water away from your precious phone during something like a kayaking session, for example. They can admittedly take some finagling to close tight, particularly the mute switch opening, so you’ll want to play close attention. Meanwhile, the added protection comes with another trade off besides the extra chunk, mainly reduced sound quality from the iPhone 5 speaker. This is particularly obvious when playing music loud or listening to a call in speaker mode. Pricing — which ranges from $80 to $90 depending on where you look — can be high for some folks as well.
Even with its drawbacks, the Seidio Obex is a solid case that provides waterproofing and added protection from drops to the iPhone 5. If you’re looking for a case that offers both, then this is one you can add to your list of products to consider when comparing cases.
Final rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
For more reviews of iPhone and iPad accessories, check out our Other Devices hub.