Incipio Atlas review: a waterproof case backed by a warranty

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…


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.


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


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.

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