• Stylishness
  • Coolness factor
  • Added protection
  • Construction

My first experience with Seidio’s OBEX line was with the Samsung Galaxy S III, and to tell the truth, I was not too impressed with the sleekness of the thing. Seidio has since worked out some of the bulkiness and revised the design for the iPhone 5 version of this waterproof, impact-resistant case, and here are my thoughts on it after playing with it a couple of days.

First off, you should know that the purpose of an OBEX case is to be able to withstand continuous submersion in water and protect your phone from taking a nasty fall. In this area, the OBEX shines. While I have not dropped an iPhone 5 in the case in water, I have submerged the case for days with tissue paper inside, and it emerged completely dry.

The case adds some bulk and a couple of rubber parts that sit around the charging port and keep water from entering the iPhone. The camera has a glass window, but doesn’t seem to interfere with the taking of pictures, and there’s also a viewing port for the logo, which I would think would weaken the structural integrity of the case, but it does look cool.

The OBEX Combo also comes with a belt clip, which I generally do not like when they come from Seidio, but this one seemed pretty nice for a fashion crime.

Floating OBEX in Tupperware

One thing to note about this case: You’re going to need to devote a little bit of time and energy into it. If you want to guarantee it will keep water out, you’ll need to do a test before using it. In my case, I wadded up a bunch of Kleenex, shoved them into the case, and submerged it for two days.

I’m going to advise against using Kleenex to anyone else, though – the micro-tissue dust was on the camera lens after I got done – so perhaps just wad up some paper and check it for drops afterward. This will keep you from having to clean the inside of the screen and the camera port if you’re picky like I am.

This is also not a case you just slap on and go out on the town with. It takes a little bit of prep to get the iPhone into the case – not a lot mind you, but you will want to clean the screen or you’ll be looking at perfectly encased fingerprints, and the closing of the case case takes a minute to ensure you’re not pulling the silicone seal off.

After it’s on and sealed, it’s probably good for most things the average user will throw at it. Rain, dropping it in a sink, drops from waist level. It also functions very well transferring touches from the front glass to the iPhone glass. Every now and then, you’ll notice it’s not perfect at transferring touch, and then you’ll remember you can drop it into a bucket and probably be fine.

One of the issues you might encounter is the slightly raised home button on the front can lead to you tapping it while typing if you’re not normally conscious of not touching it. I’m not sure if there’s anything that could be done about that, but it’s something to consider.

What I particularly found impressive about this case was that it survived a FedEx incident that left the box looking as though a 300 pound linebacker had stepped on it. The outer package of the box was 75% of the size it should have been, and the internal packing was crushed completely.

The picture of the contents here doesn’t convey very well the damage that this package sustained in shipping – I had to wipe portions of the packaging off of the case. I guess that means it got crushed and then wet and then the cardboard failed. That, or a hard fast impact – I’m not really sure. The damage was decent, and the fact that the case had no issues impressed me.

The case interferes with some chargers or accessories due to the protective bottom part. I don’t think there’s a good solution in a reasonable-sized case option out there for this, but I thought I would mention it.

If you want to protect the investment in your iPhone, this case will do it. I’m not sure how well it will protect against drops and throwing it against a wall as I’m not set up with that sort of budget to test these things, but it claims to exceed the MIL-STD-810G test. That test measures drops from four feet. Unfortunately the wording there could simply mean they dropped it at five feet and it failed, but I’m assuming based on the feel and track history it means they expect it to survive a four-foot drop.

The Seidio OBEX Combo for the iPhone 5 is available from Seidio Online for $89.95 and comes in black or white. If you don’t care for the belt clip, the non-combo version is available for $10 less.