Keeping your gadgets dry is a rather difficult task and it’s a task that many of you out there might never have to do. Some people work in rough or difficult environments, some people spend a lot of their working day getting soaked to the skin and some people also actively choose to go to the ends of the earth on holiday. What one thing do they all have in common? How on earth do they protect their phone from rain or damage? I’m not talking a light shower either.
Well I’d imagine they’d use a neoprene pouch, a waterproof bag, a waterproof box of some sort or possibly an Otterbox Pursuit waterproof dry box.
Otterbox make two different size of Pursuit case which are designed with different phone models in mind but as I soon discovered whilst using these they aren’t really just limited to phones. So onto my review of these cases/boxes, starting of course with my good and bad points.
- Waterproof to 100 ft.
- Rugged build.
- Crush resistant to 1000 lbs.
- Lockable with a padlock.
- Karabiner point to attach to a rucksack.
- Rather bulky for storage offered.
- Fiddly opening and closing a necessary evil.
- Internal space a little unorganised and needs a little forethought.
- Pretty much impossible to use the phone when it’s in the box.
The Otterbox Pursuit boxes are available in two different sizes, basically they’re designed for either the iPhone 5S or 5C or for a larger Android device like a Galaxy S4 or something. The premise of the boxes is simple, there are two halves that are attached with a hinge, around the edge of one half is a rubber seal and on the other half is large locking lever. Once you’ve put your valuables inside the box you close the case and then you shut the lever, this seals the box shut leaving the contents safe and dry. Further features around the case are two loops that you can put a padlock through meaning the contents is really safe, there is also a single loop for attaching to a karabiner so you could attach it to a rucksack or something. There are also rails along the top and bottom can be used as a belt loop or to loop string or the supplied rubber band to attach it to other stuff.
The boxes themselves are made of tough polycarbonate with rubber shock absorbing bumpers on each edge and corner. Meaning if you drop it or slam it into something solid your going to be ok. The boxes don’t look the best aesthetically but they make up for that in sheer functionality.
Inside the boxes things are a little less well thought out, if you plan to just put a phone in and nothing else then the layout is irrelevant. You put the phone in, shut it up and that’s it. The smaller Pursuit 20 has two rubber strips inside that cushion the phone inside, Otterbox have designed it so that you can even use it with an iPhone and one of their famously large cases. It’s with the larger box that things get a little more complicated. The larger Pursuit 40 box has a different design inside, you get the rubber strips around the inside but you also get what can be best described as a hammock. A phone hammock, which takes up on half of the case allowing you to hold in place a phone of your choice up to about the size of the Galaxy S3 or a Nokia Lumia 1020. This then leaves the other half of the case to put a thin wallet, an MP3 player, your keys, credit cards etc etc.
The boxes are different sizes and here is the manufacturer supplied capacity and dimension.
Capacity of the Pursuit 20
- Exterior Dimensions: 1.65” H x 3.85” W x 5.60” D
- Holds a rectangular volume of: 0.66”H x 2.71”W x 4.88”D
- Approximate total internal volume: 15 cu. in.
Capacity of the Pursuit 40
- Exterior Dimensions: 2.05” H x 4.75” W x 6.95” D
- Holds a rectangular volume of: 1.00”H x 2.875”W x 5.50”D
- Approximate total internal volume: 30 cu. in.
In use the cases function quite differently due to the sizes and layout inside so I’ll deal with each separately. Starting with the smaller Pursuit 20.
The smaller Pursuit 20 fits an iPhone in a case quite easily, in fact it felt more safe and secure with a case on as the fit inside wasn’t secure meaning the phone could rattle around inside. I soon realised that the box could be used as a solid and waterproof wallet as well, on a recent holiday I found I could fit some money, a room key, my tiny Jimi wallet and I still had space for other small rubbish that would normally reside in my pockets. You could then throw the box around without worrying about stuff getting damp, so on a rainy canoe trip through the rainforest or a day lying on the beach I was happy knowing my belongings were safe and dry. Having to unclip the thing each time I wanted something out of it was rather annoying, but I soon got used to it. Being able to lock it as well was reassuring when I left all my gear on the beach. In actual fact I preferred using it as a little wallet holder than as a phone holder. Another slight annoyance is that when the phone is in the case you can’t see it, you can barely hear notifications and to check it your going to have to open it up.
The larger Pursuit 40 was a different beast, putting my phone in the hammock side and other things in the open side felt like I was going to damage the phone, which unless you fill the other side with a handful of gravel and sand isn’t going to ever happen. I’d certainly recommend using your phone with a case before putting it in as it slides about inside the box, again I preferred using it as a bigger dry box, putting a wallet, MP3 player, a camera, my phone etc etc. All being kept safe and secure. Again the padlock loops on the case are a welcome addition to aid security, in actual fact the loops are bigger meaning it’s easier to attach things to the loops. Again with this case you can really use the phone at all, there is a translucent version that would allow you to sort of see the screen, but it’s far from ideal.
I wanted to see exactly how waterproof these boxes were, Otterbox mention that the boxes are waterproof to 100 ft, but as this is the difference between breaking something valuable and not I approached my testing rather gingerly. Choosing to stuff the cases with tissue paper first and see how that went. Often manufacturers swap the words waterproof and water resistant with little regard for the actual consumer.
So how did I test the cases. In a sink first, then a bucket, then under the shower and then against a hose pipe. As expected it kept the contents dry at all times, I even dunked a phone in the larger box. As the boxes has an air pocket inside they actually float quite well, so if you’re canoeing in the jungle somewhere and your box falls in the river it will float nicely waiting for you to scoop it back up.
The Otterbox Pursuit boxes are pretty useful, in my case I chose to use them for taking on holiday with me. It kept my smaller belongings dry when things turned a little gnarly on days out and being able to lock them up as well really kept me happy with leaving them lying around. I can see them being useful for camping, climbing, hostelling, mountain biking, skiing, canoeing, trekking, any outdoorsy kind of activities really.
As long as you treat these as secure boxes that you can put stuff in to keep safe and dry and that of you want to you could put your phone into then you’ll soon get used to the Pursuit box. If you treat it as a large waterproof phone case then you’ll soon get annoyed.
Price wise the boxes are a little pricey when compared to a simple dry bag but these boxes can be adapted to all sorts of different use cases.