iPhones and iPod Touches are well constructed devices, but they weren't designed to directly take on the harsh elements of rain and snow. For those like me who prefer an active outdoor lifestyle, encasing the iPhone in a durable, waterproof container is just as important as listening to podcasts and music on the go. Fortunately, the folks at Grace Digital Audio recognized the same needs and created the Eco Pod case to protect the iPhone from the more electronics-unfriendly external environments.
First and foremost, the Eco Pod is waterproof, so much so that it is IPX7 certified. What does this mean? Basically, the case can be submerged in three feet of water for up to 30 minutes without any water leakage. The package also include IPX7 certified ear buds to connect to the case and listen to an enclosed iPhone. While the earbuds don't produce the best audio I've heard, they are adequate for what they were designed for, and hold up well under water.
While the case is rock solid, it definitely adds considerable weight and size to your iPhone or iPod Touch. This is a case designed for outdoor fans of active sports like snowboarding, skiing, all-weather biking, and yes, even swimming. However, even with the built-in belt loop slot on the back of the case, the excessive bulk makes it a case that will need extra support to keep in place. For example, using it during swimming will require a dedicated belt to strap to your waste, unless you don't mind taking the risk of swimming trunks being dragged off from the extra weight of the case hanging off them!
A bigger limitation is that fact that touch screen devices enclosed in the Eco Pod cannot be accessed without opening the case. As such, you won't be able to check email, scroll through playlists or access maps without risking elemental exposure. In the case of taking an encased iPhone for a swim, you'll have to plan ahead with enough music or podcasts on your playlist to last for the duration of your workout. At least the front cover of the case is clear so that you can see who might be calling or what appointment reminder might be popping up.
Other notable Eco Pod features include a exterior pressure release valve to further protect the stored contents as well as make it easier to open the case in variable altitudes. There's also enough room in the case to store not only the iPhone or iPod Touch, but also credit cards, cash, driver's license, membership cards and other pocket-sized valuables. Grace Digital even included a 2" detachable carabiner clamp to clip the Eco Pod to a backpack, tent post loop, utility belt and such. Biking enthusiasts can also purchase a separate bracket to mount the Eco Pod on handle bars.
In addition to the iPhone and iPod Touch, the Eco Pod can also house Android phones, portable MP3 players and other handheld devices, though the case is optimized for the dimensions of the iPhone.
The Eco Pod case is ideal for the rugged outdoor sport and fitness enthusiast who values the protection of their iPhone above the convenience of gaining frequent access to the iPhone's functionality. But when you're racing the rapids, riding in a rainstorm or swimming the last leg of a triatholon training course, sending emails and selecting playlists are far less important than ensuring you will have a working iPhone or iPod Touch when these activities conclude. If that's your game, then the Eco Pod is a must-have.
Rating: 4/5 stars