The rising popularity of active lifestyle image capture is fueling the creation purpose-built devices like the GoPro HD camera and other products. Yet for iPhone users who already know that their camera is as capable as these dedicated alternatives but don't want to spend what is often more for these cameras than what they paid for iPhone itself is a hard sell. Fortunately, Hitcase has developed a Pro version of their durable iPhone hardshell case that offers iPhone owners a comparable experience without having to buy into a whole new hardware ecosystem.
The Hitcase Pro is a shockproof (via Hitcases' removable ShockSeal protective liner) and waterproof case that will protect your phone from the elements of dust, snow and vibration while still giving you the ability to access the screen and iPhone's hardware buttons. However, the waterproof seal will be broken if you opt to use the headphone jack, since you have to remove a plug from the Hitcase Pro to access the audio jack on the iPhone.
What really sets the Hitcase Pro apart from the crowded sturdy enclosure market is its built-in auto-locking Railslide Mount System and removable camera lens that gives the iPhone's camera a similar viewing angle that dedicated cameras like the GoPro HD have. The lens can also be switched to a macro-lens for close-up shots when exploring rock formations and underwater wildlife. The Railslide Mount system is easy to set up, thanks to the included StickR mount for helmets and a tripod adapter for old school legacy surface attachments. It's also compatible with rail mounts built for the GoPro, allowing you to use helmets, bike and car mounts and accessories built for that product line.
Once everything was set up, I found seating the iPhone into the case to be a snug fit and generally easy to access the hardware buttons and screen. Keep in mind that due to the tight tolerances of the case to keep the phone locked in place, Hitcase Pro is specifically suited for the iPhone 4 and 4S models. A version designed for the thinner iPhone 5 is expected to be available in a few months.
The one factor that might limit the Hitcase Pro's appeal is the price. At $30 more than a new iPhone 4, it might be a tough for those who might be willing to spend twice as much for a dedicated device like the GoPro HD. But for those who prefer to take advantage of the superb Apple hardware capabilities already available to them, the Hitcase Pro does the job more effectively, elegantly and far less bulky and cumbersome than competing fully enclosed and weatherized active lifestyle cases.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars