My endless iPhone X case search continues, vol 2

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by Sill, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. Sill macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2014
    I thought about adding this post to the merged iPhone X case thread, but I don't want to hijack that. At least this way people who want to ignore my post won't have to scroll past it in that thread or the responses from people who are sick of reading about my requirements. My needs are overly restrictive, completely cover up the beautiful phone, don't make sense, I should give up on having a phone - I get it. Move along.

    For the rest of you who are interested in helping me find a case that meets my stringent requirements and perhaps get you to consider options that you hadn't considered before, please read on.

    Here we go...

    Requirements: dustproof, sweatproof, with an integrated screen protector that covers the ENTIRE display including the notch, and also it has to have a removable belt holster with a clip/stand. Bluetooth isn't allowed due to the possibility of electronic interference, but also security as well as anti-distraction policy, so the case will have to allow a quality mic and speaker experience.
    Environment: heat, dust/dirt, sweat, extreme activity.

    I started the search by looking at my gold standard, the Otterbox Defender. I've used these going back to my iPhone 4s. Wonderful cases that hit all the right notes at the time of purchase. Until the iPhone X came out. Now they no longer offer screen protectors. Maybe because they failed at the screen protector on my current 6s? After cleaning it, I found it no longer sealed to the display. There is a slight air gap. When I pulled the case off recently for a cleaning, I found grit marks all around the speaker cutout.
    So that'll be a no on the Defender X.

    I found the Ghostek Nautical - which is completely waterproof and dustproof, yet does not include a belt clip. After repeated emails to Ghostek customer "service", I received a barely intelligible response from someone who told me to order their Ghostek universal belt clip from Amazon - they don't even offer it on their own company site. Apparently because the thing is so ungainly its embarrassing. Seriously, it looks like half of a hockey puck.
    Another strike against Nautical is the case protects you from not just dust and water but also from call quality. The case makes it hard to hear conversations and to be heard. I could use my AirPods off duty, but not while I'm working.
    Therefore, Ghostek is out.

    Searching DDG for "iphone x case with belt clip" brought me to the Vena vArmor. I think it looks pretty good, in an extreme "deleted prop from Aliens" way. Belt clip is included. I like the raised edge on the surround. However, no integrated screen protector, so this thing isn't water and dust resistant. Getting a standalone screen protector doesn't seal the case body to the phone the way an integrated protector works.
    Vena is out.

    Further searches led me to the Duranium by Trianium. This one might do it. Shockproof, full body and face protection with an integrated screen protector. But the reviews are less than stellar. Some say the screen protector has an air gap, the clip is hard to use, and this thing doesn't stop dust from getting in and wrecking the phone body.
    Trianium aint it then.

    I then found the Zizo Bolt. This is a really interesting-looking case with fantastic drop protection. It has the belt clip I'm looking for, but oddly that clip doesn't kick out - instead, there is a separate kickstand built into the back of the case, so to use the case as a stand you have to pull it out of the belt clip. I never, ever take my Otterbox Defender-equipped iPhone 6s out of its belt clip. I always take the entire assembly off my belt when I take/make calls, or sit down to read something on a web site. The belt clip shell then protects the rear camera. I guess there are people who remove their phones from the clip when they use them, I'm not one of them.
    The Bolt doesn't have an integrated screen protector. Instead they include a "free" glass protector. Nice, but thats not going to prevent dust from getting around the case and into the phone body. Still, its a very cool looking case offered in a variety of colors. If I was in a slightly less demanding workspace, perhaps a saw mill or a football field, maybe I'd consider it. As things are for me now, this won't work.

    So the search continues. If anyone here has any suggestions on a rugged, dustproof case that can withstand sweat, impacts and drops, I'd like to hear about it. TIA.
  2. saltd macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2010
    Lifeproof Fre and a third party belt clip from eBay ($20).
  3. illmatic41 macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2012
  4. Ta0jin macrumors 6502a


    Nov 9, 2011
    I have been on the search for the perfect case as well (amazon hates me for my many, many returns) and it always brings me back to the Apple leather case..
  5. Sill thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2014
    That Fre looks like a possibility. They don't show a pic of the individual pieces. Does the built in protector cover the notch?
    --- Post Merged, Apr 12, 2018 ---
    I doubt a leather case would last a week with me. I hope it works for you.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 12, 2018 ---
    Apparently that case doesn't allow easy access to certain switches, or at least thats what I got from the review.
  6. saltd, Apr 12, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018

    saltd macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2010
    Yes, the screen protector on the Fre covers the notch. It’s a totally waterproof case, so everything is covered. It’s worth noting that the screen protector makes the screen a bit less responsive and can give it a grainy look. Also, the buttons aren’t going to feel as responsive.

    Still, that’s the price you pay for total protection...I personally tried one, but decided I didn’t want to deal with those drawbacks. If you can, check one out in person.

    Customer service at Lifeproof is absolutely excellent, so if you have any issues with the case, they’ll help you out.
  7. jaymulli95 macrumors member


    Sep 10, 2016
  8. richxps macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2008
    Did you end up trying the life proof case ? I’m debating again if I should for some added protection, I dropped my phone 2 times in the Apple case yesterday and no damage but I’m not sure he next drop lol
  9. AE14 macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2013
    Philly Burbs
    I tried the fre for the X briefly. The screen was terrible, and I didnt like the addition of the lime green
  10. Sill, May 5, 2018
    Last edited: May 5, 2018

    Sill thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2014
    I had to get a new phone so I got the X and bought the Fre to go with it.

    This is a very light case- in fact the packaging weighed more than the case itself. The plastic has an ABS feel to it, which makes it seem cheap. It has an excellent drop rating, so hopefully its as good as my Otterbox for the 6S. The screen cover is, as AE mentioned, terrible. It doesn't seal precisely against the screen, especially at the bottom edge. The resulting screen slap when typing is distracting at best, aggravating at worst.

    The case seems to seal very well. It has a swing out door to protect the connector area, and everything else is covered up - speakers, mic, switches. Ringer switching takes a slight acclimation, as its actually a tiny lever and fulcrum that flips the actual ringer switch on one's behalf, and therefore works in reverse when in use.

    The sound quality is acceptable. Though I seemed to hear a bit of plastic buzzing when I received calls initially, that quickly faded. Voices come through clearly, and I haven't received any complaints regarding sound quality through my mic. Music plays quite loudly and with no apparent loss of fidelity, such as it is on any phone. Its easily as loud as my 6S/Otterbox is, though the latter has no weather seal.

    The appearance is slightly 90s era techy. There are odd bits of lime green plastic jutting out, which I imagine exist solely to frustrate people trying to draw the phone out of their pocket. I use a belt holder, so I don't care.

    I ordered the Encased belt holder/clip to go with the Fre. This is a very nicely done holder, with a very interesting rubberized finish. It feels like plastic upon first grip, but if its held for any length of time or the phone tries to slip through the fingers, it feels rubbery.

    The easel stand built into the Encased clip doesn't work like the Otterbox clips, where I would push in on the top of the clip and it would seat under a trigger shelf; pushing the trigger would release the clip from easel mode. The Encased clip must be pulled open against its spring, and a metal swing-out arm must be engaged. This seems a bit more awkward, but it avoids the wear and stress placed on Otterbox-style clips, and its also silent compared to the loud snap one hears when the Otterbox is released from easel mode. The arm also allows for multiple stand heights. Not much of a difference between the heights, but it does offer some flexibility.

    My one gripe with the Encased holder is that in easel mode, it doesn't stand evenly. There is more material holding the phone at the bottom compared to the top, enough that when laying in landscape mode, the phone has a noticeable lean and rock to it.

    In summary:

    pro: excellent weather seal, good sound quality

    con: looks and feels cheap, odd design, awful fit of the screen cover, ridiculous name (is it pronounced "Free" or "Fray"?)

    Its a very sturdy case, but easily double the cost of what it should be. I highly recommend the Encased holder/clip if you buy the Fre.

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