Incipio ATLAS

Last month I featured five cases to protect your iPhone at the beach. Seeing the article, Incipio noticed I selected their ATLAS case as one of the current beach worthy options and sent me one to play with more closely. After receiving the case in the mail a few weeks ago, I have been toting around the water, dust, and shock proof case on my iPhone 5. The case is proving quite useful.

This is the first of Incipio’s attempts to produce a waterproof case. However, even though new to the market, Incipio boasts a water damage warranty with the purchase of ATLAS. The company provides an easy product registration app to help you through the process. This confident move is an impressive customer service guarantee not all competitors are offering.

The fanciful, well-built packaging opens to reveal a solidly constructed case, complete with an installation guide to make sure everything is air tight…

Installation

I cannot remember ever testing a case that came with a set of installation instructions. First, pull the bottom compartment cover off, which exposes the headphone nub. From the top right tab, pry apart the case’s front and back sections, releasing all six tabs. This is going to take some extra effort and I often used something to help pry the pieces apart. Once inside, the ATLAS comes with a severely pesky sticker, warning you about proper usage. Peeling it off caused it to stick to the screen cover and I had to use rubbing alcohol and elbow grease to eliminate the residue.

ATLAS install sticker

After you clean your new case, check for debris both inside the case and on the iPhone. The fit is extremely tight and if you leave some dust inside, it is likely to scratch your iPhone. Use the included microfiber cloth to get any little pieces out before placing your phone. Sit the iPhone, bottom first, then slowly push the top inside the case. Make sure the mute switch and volume buttons are lining up. Snap all of the tabs closed, plug the headphone stopper and shove the bottom hinged piece in place. You are ready to go. This is obviously not a case you will want to take on and off repeatedly.

Performance

I was hesitant to trust Incipio by submerging my iPhone in the swimming pool, but it is not a real tested product without holding my breath and diving in. After working up the courage, I took my iPhone down the water slide at the local swimming pool and took the plunge. Check out my short ride below. For the true product video, view the official ATLAS video.

The waterproofing works excellently. I would hope so, considering the case is MIL-STD-810G and IP68 certified. These are fancy shorthand call signs for its military standard grade for immersion at 2 meters for 60 minutes, shock proof, and dust proof certification. If you want the gritty details, Incipio has a nice tech spec site, specifically pointing out the info.

This case is certainly sealed tight. I not only spent time on the water slide and in the lazy river, but also knocking around Sunny Slope Orchard getting dusty in the animal pens. No damage occurred during my foray around the farm. There are, however, a lot of nuances to the ATLAS.

Yes, you get all the dust and waterproofing you want, but there are small things that I found annoying. The external mute switch never works as easily as I hope. I can get the iPhone to toggle mute/volume, but it takes some pressure to get the internal component to flip the actual mute switch. Additionally, while accepting phone calls, I noticed the proximity sensor cannot detect when it is close to my face. Consequently, the screen remains illuminated and several times I ended up muting the call or typing numbers with my cheek.

Incipio ATLAS lineup

I do appreciate the headphone plug. The chassis bottom can be unhinged and the headphone plug can be flipped out. Then, replace the bottom and there is a headphone jack opening to accommodate small sized 3.5mm headphone jacks. Additionally, the ATLAS comes with a waterproof headphone accessory to pair with waterproof headphones. This combo allows you to swim laps without missing a beat.

Another advantage is the glass front, which is much better than the thin plastic fiber found on other waterproof cases. Consequently, screen taps are very accurate all over the iPhone screen. I did find myself pecking much harder on the bottom left and right corners, but, otherwise it was a breeze. The calls were fairly clear, but the sound must escape a waterproof membrane. Sound quality was slightly distorted, but not to the point I was upset at the outcome. The same goes for the bottom speakers, which are somewhat muffled.

Incipio ATLAS

Conclusion

If you are looking for a waterproof case, it seems like a simple decision. Out of several major case making competitors, Incipio is one of the only company offering the water damage warranty. The company is really putting its foot down when it comes to trusting their product. With this type of guarantee the $89.99 price tag is not as daunting. On Amazon, you can find versions beginning at $65 which is a very reasonable price for leaving your worries behind.

Now, even at $65, I would hope to forego having to clean my case before I even use it. Next time I hope Incipio uses a static cling or paper insert instead of an actual sticker. Also, the mute switch issue gets annoying pretty quickly.

But, back to waterproofing. This is a device made for a specific purpose, to keep you from ruining your iPhone. If water, dust, and drops are a frequent cause of headache, make the investment and leave your worries behind. It is the season to accidentally get pushed into the pool. Even after the iPhone 5C is released, it is still an expensive mistake.

[iDownloadBlog review disclaimer statement]

  • Guy

    The girl is sexy. Has to be said.

    • B088Y

      No it doesn’t.

      • James Branham

        Well she is sexy. LOL.

      • seyss

        gay

      • leart za jmi

        You know things about gays, congratulations

      • bllackghost

        i have some bad new for you!

    • Bob

      She looks like any other girl, she doesn’t have any striking features. You probably haven’t ejaculated into a female for a long period of time, hence why you find it important to comment on her “sexy” looks.

      • Jailbreak Nation

        Uh oh we have badass over here.

      • Yunsar

        lol he deleted the comment what did he say?

      • Jackson Grong

        Something like “haha, looser, you probably never see pus..”.
        He’s the typical forever alone guy trying to find joy by sonding badass…

      • Bob

        It was actually nothing like at all.

        I actually didn’t use any of those words. Chinese whispers. Epic fail.

      • Bob

        I didn’t delete the comment, I never delete comments, it was most probs deleted by a mod.

        I basically said the girl imo didn’t have any striking features and that the OP was most likely just sexually frustrated, hence his attraction. Didn’t think it was too controversial.

  • James Branham

    Life proof cases offer a warranty as well. One year repair/replacement from damage.

    • JimGresham

      Good to know. Didn’t see that when I was writing another article.

      • James Branham

        the case also does not distort hearing on calls and actually amplifies the speakers to a certain degree. Definitely worth checking out.

      • Tyler

        Really? When I bought mine I wanted to see how it fit in the case and he put it in there or whatever and then he made me take it back out of the case just to purchase it cause they could be held liable cause HE put it in the case and not me. Also didn’t say anything about a warranty either

      • Tyler

        NVM I got my case a while back, the water damage warranty is something relatively new.

  • Sandeep

    Nice case but price should b low

  • Anonymous

    DO NOT BUY THIS CASE. I have had one and you can’t here phone calls it sucks he a life proof.

    • Tsavo Walker

      “he a life proof”

      Lol what!?

      • Anonymous

        I ment get a life proof

  • Rupinder S

    If you ever need to peel a sticker that leaves residue, just use a blow dryer and blow over it for 1-3 minutes & it’ll peel right off (:

  • Jamie John Roberts

    “This confident move is an impressive customer service guarantee not all competitors are not offering.” – Double negative 😛

  • QuarterSwede

    I’m heading to Hawaii on vacation next week and going diving. I researched a ton of cases for my iPhone 5 and went with one of the cheapest, DryCase, for a few reasons.
    1. When I upgrade to the iPhone 6 in 2014 even if the shape is different it will still fit.
    2. No other sub $300 case can be used underwater past 10-20ft or for as long. The DryCase will stay sealed to crush depth most likely. One was lost in a lake for 1 month and the phone still worked when it was found.
    3. You pump the air out so you know if it’s leaking before you get it wet.
    4. It’s a lot cheaper than the competition. The case I got fits a GS4 and was $29.

    • Interesting, the DryCase, though it is more suited for when your activities are centered around water: swimming, kayaking, canoe’ing, etc.

      For normal day to day(non-holiday/city/etc), a bag-style solution isn’t as useful: can’t just put it in the pocket.

      But I like the DryCase’s option for earphones/etc. Great for when you are kayaking for sure!

  • GaugePrower

    How does this case stack up against OtterBox Armor? Aside from the obvious size difference in Atlas’ favor? How’s the audio quality from the microphone when recording video? The armor didn’t seem to distort as much in other reviews i’ve seen, but in the water-slide video above I didn’t hear any talking so it was hard to judge…

    • JimGresham

      I have only seen the OtterBox Armor at CES. The biggest difference I noticed was the crush proof box, which could prevent around 4,000 lbs of pressure. I did not have the chance to use it at the show to determine call or audio quality.

      For the ATLAS, no one I spoke to on the phone complained of distortion, but as you can tell from the video, the sound was very muffled. That is because the video microphone is on the back of the iPhone, which is completely covered by the case.

      • Black750Li

        I have both. The sound is far better with the Armor, but the case is just too big and bulky for normal use. In the end, I’m not using either one of them. I keep defaulting back to my trusty Otterbox Defender. Don’t need waterproof, and the Defender protects well, the sound isn’t messed up, and its not tremendous. Just wish I didn’t have to replace it every few months because the silicone was deformed and stretched out.

  • Jeanie

    DON’T GET THEM FOR THE REASON FOR WARRANTY!!!! Had a terrible experience with the warranty representative. They claimed based on the model # on the back of the phone, it was not possible that it was an 32G iPhone 5, and
    therefore they cannot replace with such. Even though all they have to look at is the settings, and we have the receipt from AT&T!!

  • Kerry Macdonald

    Have just been emailing Incipio as I live in Australia and wanted to purchase the Incipio Atlas ID case for my son’s iPhone 5S. Incipio has advised me that it will be a couple of months before I can do so BUT the 1 Year Limited Warranty DOES NOT apply to devices (i am assuming that means iPhones) internationally ie outside the US. So one of the key features of this case is useless for anyone living outside the States. Wonder how many people realise this?

  • disqus_YBOM5TYkUA

    I used Lifeproof for over a year until the plastic screen protector came unglued from the front. I recently bought Incipio Atlas for iphone 5s hoping it would be superior. The sound is better through speaker. However, there is a SERIOUS, potentially dangerous design flaw: the touch screen does NOT work in cold weather – it’s impossible to slide it open, or up, or use the camera. You will NOT be able to answer calls, texts, etc. I spend a lot of time mountain biking year round and have tried it repeatedly in the cold that has been here in New England this Winter. Furthermore, my fingers are sometimes so cold that even if I wanted to prize the case open to use the phone I might not be able to get it open to use it without the case – if I were to be injured it would be useless. That aside, I can’t respond to calls and texts if I want when it’s cold outside. I do keep the phone in my jacket pocket, or in the outer pocket of my hydration pack – I suppose if one could keep it right against the skin maybe that would work, but that’s not feasible for me.
    As well, even at normal room temperatures the touch screen is not as sensitive to touch as Lifeproof, and it requires considerable pressure, esp. near the bottom – really makes using the phone not fun. I have tried taking it out of the case and pressing it firmly against the inside of the front, etc, and reassembling, and it doesn’t help.The slide up bar at the bottom, which allows access to Bluetooth and other functions without turning the phone on, doesn’t work at all in any conditions. I am returning it and will probably have to buy another Lifeproof, even though I’m sure the Lifeproof doesn’t have the shock protection that the Atlas has, esp. for the screen, but Lifeproof at least still allows the touch screen to function at cold temperatures. And the Atlas Incipio mute switch is indeed funky and does not work correctly and easily. Lifeproof’s speaker functioning is unbelievably bad, though, and their suggestion to “blow” through the speaker opening doesn’t really help. I *wish* there was a thin, weather- and shockproof case that really works, but doubt there is.

  • really??

    i got this case for mi iphone 5s. it works great , but the mic is almost completely muffled. no one can hear me on calls unless i use the headset