A Waterproof iPhone Case - - The Magellan ToughCase

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by bobob, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. bobob macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008
    Here's a new iPhone case that will make a lot of kayakers, skiers, hikers, outside workers, etc, etc, etc, very happy...

    The Magellan ToughCase is a waterproof (1 foot for 30 mins.) rugged iPhone case for outdoor use which also houses an additional 1840 mAh battery to double your iPhone use and a chipset to enhance the GPS reception. You can use the iPhone's touchscreen through the case

    Note that it is shown with the iPhone 3GS, and mentions it also fits the iPod Touch, but there is no mention of it's compatibility with the iPhone 4.

    It retails for $199.99 US.


    I'm an OtterBox fan, and I like the full waterproof feature of this case, but would have liked an option to buy one without the extra battery and GPS circuitry. Still, it's a step forward for outdoor electronics users, and another day closer to the iPhone itself being available in a waterproof model - - I'd love one with similar specs to the rugged digital cameras such as the Olympus Stylus Tough - - waterproof (33ft), shock proof (6.6ft drop), crushproof (220lbf), freezeproof (-14∘).

    (Edit: Here's a YouTube video from cnet that gives a first look at the Magellan ToughCase.)
  2. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
  3. bobob thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008
    Putting aside the fact that an 16 GB iPhone actually costs $599 (unsubsidized of course, as a fair comparison since no contract is needed to buy this case), it is indeed expensive because of the battery and enhanced GPS chipset. As I mentioned in my OP, it would have been nice to have the option of buying a simple version without those costly add-ons.

    Still, for anyone who needs to use their iPhone around the water, that $199 price is going to look pretty cheap after you drown your first couple of iPhones.

  4. FieldingMellish Suspended

    Jun 20, 2010
    A mere drop in the bucket for boat owners to buy.
  5. Aeroflux macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2009
    It's waterproof up to 1 meter (or 3.28 feet).

    This is exactly the type of accessory I've been waiting for and would be of great use in geocaching. Having the added accuracy of a GPS chip is essential and the extra battery time is more than welcome on a long hike. Now I don't need an extra GPS and I can preload topgraphical/satellite maps on the same device!

    Like FieldingMellish says, it's a drop in the bucket. I'll be using this on the river too.

    Now if only they would announce an iPhone 4 version.

    Edit: I sent a general query e-mail regarding the iPhone 4 and device compatibility, hopefully there are either plans for it or they've neglected to mention the iPhone 4 in the details.

    2nd edit: Got a response rather fast but it seems English is a second language to the assistant. The paragraph structure seems canned as well. At least it's something.

    "Thank you for contacting Magellan Technical Support. I apologize for the inconvenience that you are having. As I understand, you have an Iphone 4. You would like to know if the said device is already compatible with the Tough Case.

    Don't worry will be more than happy to help you with this concern.

    In line with this issue indeed, as of the moment the Iphone 4 is not yet readily compatible with the Tough Case. The said case is only designed and tested to work with the Iphone 3G version.

    We will have this concern of yours passed on to our product development team so that they maybe able to come up with a Tough Case version which would be compatible with the Iphone 4.

    We suggest you to check the website as well as your email on a regular basis as product enhancement and system updates shall be forwarded to these channels whenever they do become available.

    We hope that we were able to somehow address this concern and if you do need further assistance, do not hesitate to email us back so that we can further assist you. We will be awaiting your reply.

    Should you require further assistance about this or any other concerns with your Magellan unit please visit our website and review our extensive Self Help knowledgebase (www.magellangps.com)."
  6. bobob thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008

    ...though at least know that their product development team has been alerted to your concern, and we can see if they maybe able to come up with a solution to this iPhone 4 situation which seems to have taken them by complete surprise the week after their new product was released.

    But don't leave them hanging - - they will be awaiting your reply!

  7. egk69 macrumors 6502

    Dec 5, 2008
    only 1 meter?

    i guess it works if you drop it on the toilet or on the kitchen sink, even maybe a bucket, but i doubt a lot of boat owners use their boats on 1 meter deep waters :D

    Pretty much useless if you ask me...
  8. Brien macrumors 68030


    Aug 11, 2008
    I had a buddy with one for his 3GS. The thing barely fits in pockets. Hope you like cargo pants!
  9. bobob thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008
    Generally, most boaters I know are using their boats on the surface of the water. ;)

    Submersion to 1 meter for 30 minutes is a waterproofness standard measure called "IPX7". It applies to many ruggedized electronics items and designates those that are meant to protect items from accidental immersions such as being in your pocket when you fall overboard. In practice they can take depths of up to 10 feet briefly, but the designation is primarily to remind owners that it is not for use for scuba diving and such. In fact, that level of waterproofness really shines when you're in a driving rain storm and have to use your iPhone, a far more common scenario for waterproof case buyers than playing submarine commander.

    Another reason they need to offer the option of buying one without the extra battery - - size and weight would be drastically reduced - - though another advantage of the Magellan ToughCase is it's durability as seen at 1:50 in the YouTube Video in the OP.

    However, if that type of durability isn't needed, and simple waterproofness is your goal, there's always the much cheaper Aquapac bags that have been around for all types of portable electronics for years now. The Aquapac Mini Waterproof Phone Case 104 is submersible to 15 feet and costs only $30. Additionally it floats, so even if it's dropped overboard, it won't sink past the 15 feet and can be scooped back up out of the water.


    Magellan is clearly focused on promoting their GPS business with their ToughCase, and for many boaters and other outdoor iPhone users the enhanced GPS and battery life are an asset. When you look at the cost of the TomTom Car Kit with the enhanced GPS circuitry( $99) or the Mophie Juice Pack Air Case with an additional battery built in ($79), the $199 cost of the ToughCase doesn't seem so out of line. But it is still a specialized product., so as I noted above, hopefully it is just the first of many waterproof cases designed specifically for the iPhone.
  10. bobob thread starter macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2008
    For the sake of completeness, I have found some more alternatives for those looking to keep their iPhones dry in a wet environment.

    First, here's a couple more soft pouch type waterproof "cases", like the AquaPac mentioned above:

    Dry Pak DP-46 Cell Phone Case - - retails for $13.99


    DryCASE Waterproof Phone, Camera and Music Player Case - - retails for $39.99


    ...and also, I found another hard case similar to the Magellan ToughCase, but without the costly and bulky extra battery (although it claims to have room for one) and GPS circuitry:

    PocketSolutions Waterproof Case - - retails for $49.95


    ...then finally, for a cheap, quick, and risky alternative - - there's always our old friend the Ziploc bag - - retails for 20¢:


    (YMMV ;) )
  11. kendoka macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2010
    iphone4 compatibility for Tough Case

    This product is ALMOST compatble with the iPhone 4. Because of the positioning of the external controls on the Tough Case, the power switch and the volume down button cannot be worked with the iPhone in the case. I had a chance to briefly test the case with my iPhone 4, and those were the only incompatibilities I saw. The phone does fit it the case, but is snug. But I assume it is meant the be snug for the iPhone 3 as well. I could see how the internal surfaces of those two controls could be modified to work, but I would rather wait to have Magellan come up with a iPhone 4 version. Otherwise, the iPhone 4 seemed to work in the case. But mine was only a brief examination.

    It seems a shame. Magellan came out with this product in June, just before the new iPhone was released. Apple shares pre-release product info with so few partners, it is not surprising Magellan has this problem. But I would question the product management decision to release only for the 3 and 3gs just before the new phone was due.
  12. MarkT2011 macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2011
    Magellan ToughCase and iPod Touch 4th Gen

    I just spent a few hours trying to get the Magellan ToughCase working with an iPod Touch 4th Gen. Here's the results:

    The plastic sleeve looks like it might fit, but I think it holds the connector too far from the cradle. The sleeve's sleep switch extender is definitely on the wrong side for the iPod 4th Gen.

    The sleeve blocks the rear camera, and the ToughCase itself blocks the forward facing camera.

    Without the sleeve, the iPod fits the connector and the GPS and headphone connector both work. But the iPod rattles around in the case and you have to hold it upside down for the touchscreen to lie against the ToughCase membrane and work.

    I took a wad of Duck Brand mounting putty, stuck it inside the ToughCase (between the manufacturer's label and the on/off switch), and covered it with a piece of cellophane to keep it from sticking to the iPod. This allows the GPS, USB connector, headphones, waterproof case, home button, and touchscreen to work. The volume adjust buttons and the sleep button don't contact the iPod, and the forward facing camera is covered. I might refine the putty position if I find that side-to-side or up-down motion is a problem, but right now it isn't.

    I suspect that a redesigned sleeve would solve everything except the forward facing camera, which could only be fixed with a new window in the case. It would be nice if Magellan could ship the sleeve on its own, and cool if there were an online model that could be downloaded and manufactured with a 3D printer. Until then, putty will do!
  13. silentoak macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2011
    I can declare that I am using the Magellan tough case with my IPhone 4 and it works like a charm, except for the on/off button, but that's quickly sorted.

    Great product, thanks for the tip.
  14. Subwaymac macrumors regular


    Apr 1, 2009
  15. jasvncnt macrumors 6502


    Jan 20, 2011
    New Jersey
    You didn't like your Magellan ToughCase? What was it you didn't like about it?
  16. waterson1986 macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    Anything for ipad 2?
  17. ratzzo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2011

    Ah Magellan.. They don't teach nearly enough about the importance of his travel!

    Let the thread continue :)
  18. jbossert macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2012
    Any update ?

    i was wondering, 1 year later, if an iPod touch 4th gen works and is convenient to be used in that case ? (i don't need the camera, headphones, i really want to use my iPod touch as a hiking GPS)

    Is that app compatible : http://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/topographic-maps-canada/id392857820?mt=8 ?

    Do you guys know a better product that would fit iPod 4th out of the box (i need GPS + case, extra battery as an option, but really it a plus !)

  19. LittleGwen macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2012
    ...then finally, for a cheap, quick, and risky alternative - - there's always our old friend the Ziploc bag - - retails for 20¢:


    (YMMV ;) )[/QUOTE]

    ahahahahahaha! That's the choice for me! No need spending $200 on a bulky case that I won't be able to fit anywhere when I got this in my kitchen! :D

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