Concord Keystone Eco NautiCase
Concord Keystone, concordkeystone.com/
Access to buttons; rugged
Covers screen edges
US$50 + shipping
Concord Keystone’s US$50 Eco NautiCase is an IP54-certified case for the iPhone 4 and 4S. The IP54 designation indicates that the NautiCase protects against dust, allowing “limited ingress,” and it can protect against water spray from any direction. In short, it’s a rugged case that can protect your iPhone from the elements, but you oughtn’t drop your NautiCase-clad iPhone in the pool.
The case comes in plenty of colours (pink, white, purple, orange, black, and blue); I tested a blue one. Like its big brother, the MarineCase, the NautiCase cleverly employs a hinged design. The front and pack pieces of the case are hinged together at the bottom, with three clips—one on the top, and one on each side—that snap together to lock the case closed. You simply pry up on those clips to open the case.
Once the case is snapped shut, the NautiCase covers the entire phone. There’s a clear, plasticky screen cover, along openings—covered with that same plasticky material—for the cameras, flash, speakers, earpiece, and Apple logo.
The Eco NautiCase overlays its own buttons atop the iPhone’s Home, volume, and Sleep/Wake buttons. The volume buttons are easy to press through the case, although Home requires a bit more force than you’d need with a naked iPhone. The Sleep/Wake button requires a serious amount of oomph to depress successfully. Rubber flaps cover the phone’s dock-connector port and the Ring/Silent switch. (That they’re simply flaps is one reason the case isn’t fully waterproof.) The flap protecting the dock-connector port allows enough room to connect Apple’s USB-to-dock-connector cable—and possibly slightly bigger versions—without difficulty. However, even after peeling back the flap over the Ring/Silent switch, I was unable to toggle that switch—the opening is too narrow and deep for my otherwise delicate finger to reach.
Because of the thick, raised edges of the Eco Nauticase’s design, I found tapping around the periphery of my iPhone screen’s to be frustrating. Any actions that required taps along the screen’s edges—typing, dismissing Notification Center alerts, tapping back buttons—required far more finger precision than normal.
The case ships with a sturdy attachable belt clip that doubles as a fine stand for your iPhone in landscape orientation.
Your options are limited if you need to protect your iPhone from rain, snow, dust, and dirt. If you don’t need to remove and put on your case frequently, the even-more-element-resilient LifeProof case is a better option than the Eco Nauticase. (The LifeProof is rated for about 50 openings and closings before it loses its waterproof and dustproof qualities) If you’d like the luxury of being able to remove the case as often as you’d like, the NautiCase is a reasonable alternative although I like the aforementioned MarineCase a bit more unless you need to make phone calls in the elements.