Product Test No. 28: Otterbox

Published in the June 2008 Issue June 2008

I've got a rather eclectic musical preference. There are a handful of friends who appreciate my taste for tunes and then the larger majority who would just as soon I leave my musical variety at the dock. The easy solution in most situations, of course, is my iPod, and there are few places I go without it. The water used to be one of those musically void locations until Otter Products introduced me to its waterproof iPod case. When they offered to ship one my way to test, I admit I was elated to finally have a solution to my tune issue.

Excited to test out this product, I packed it in my suitcase before heading out to the Ozarks in Missouri last October for our annual PDB Shootout. What better place than with my group of co-workers to test this water, crush and shock-proof product? With a little bit of luck, I was able to find some brave (sucker) soul to jump into the late-season water to see if Otter Products really stood up to its guarantee.

With its innovative click-wheel membrane, I was able to access my songs right through the case while keeping my beloved gadget dry. The included belt clip allows hands-free carrying and integrated headphone cable management. For more flexibility-which I imagine would come in handy while wakeboarding or waterskiing-the optional armband and waterproof headphones make for durable hands-free use.

The OtterBox iPod case created quite a stir among fellow staffers when we actually sent it below the surface to see if the waterproof case and earphones would really perform. Admittedly, I was a little sick to my stomach as I watched my favorite gadget get dunked, hoping that Otter Products knew what they were doing. But ultimately, I was both surprised and impressed that it both kept my iPod dry-even when completely submersed-and the waterproof earphones actually enabled underwater listening. Since the case is waterproof and drop resistant, it offers optimal protection for expensive iPods both on and off the water.

In trying to think of something I didn't like about this product, I guess I'd have to look at the price. For the whole setup with armband and earbuds, the cost is around $90, which is nearly what I paid for my iPod. However, the added protection is well worth it to ensure I won't need to buy another iPod until I'm ready because I know it will be well-protected.

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