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There are many waterproof zipper cases you can put the iPhone in, but the OtterBox Fre Series case might be the best way to protect the phone without losing functionality.
Technically, the iPhone 14 Pro is already water resistant. Take it in the pool a few feet deep for a few minutes and you should be fine. Of course, there’s always the risk that an internal seal has been broken somewhere along the way or bad luck befalls you.
Although hermetically sealed, the OtterBox Fre Series case designed for iPhone 14 Pro maintains MagSafe compatibility and allows access to volume buttons and mute switch. It does all of this without adding much bulk to the iPhone and without compromising the overall feel.
Preparing the iPhone and Otterbox Fre case
Out of the box, OtterBox recommends testing the waterproof seal of the Fre Series case. You can do this by filling a sink with water and placing something over it to keep the case submerged for about 30 minutes. If the inside is free of water after testing, it should be ready to use on your iPhone.
We did and it passed that first test keeping the water out. There were a few drops of water around because it’s hard not to open the case without touching everywhere around.
But there didn’t seem to be any leaks, just droplets from our hands.
Using an iPhone 14 Pro underwater
The OtterBox Fre Series case isn’t just for waterproofing the iPhone 14 Pro. While OtterBox claims the case is waterproof for one hour to two meters – an IP 68 rating – it also acts as a typical case to protect it from drops and scratches.
OtterBox claims that its Drop+ testing exceeds the military standard (MIL-STD-810G 516.6) which tests a device for dropping a total of 26 times from different angles. We haven’t dropped our personal iPhone multiple times to test this feature, so we’ll have to believe the company on that aspect.
We dunked our iPhone 14 Pro, sealed in the OtterBox Fre Series case, in a pool several times to see how it performed in and around water. First, the case kept the water out and our phone dry.
All functions worked great out of the water. The case is MagSafe compatible, so it sticks to magnetic accessories and charges as expected. There are even speaker grilles that allow calls or music to be heard normally. Underwater, functionality is more limited.
We struggled to press and hold the on-screen shutter button in the camera app. In fact, we couldn’t use it once despite many attempts.
To take a photo, we ended up using the physical volume up button. Starting a video above water and then placing it below also worked.
We also tried using the camera app on the Apple Watch, but that was difficult to accomplish while holding the phone at the same time.
Should you buy the OtterBox Fre Series case?
Compared to simpler, more generic waterproofing options, this OtterBox Fre Series case is much more premium in every way. At $99, it’s a costly investment, but the cost may be easier to swallow if you frequently use your phone near water.
Due to some of the limitations of using it underwater, we might be hesitant to purchase this case for one-time use. Handling the touchscreen underwater is simply not possible because of the liquid, not because the case doesn’t work well enough. And because of its relatively slim profile, it’s also a great option when heading to the beach or vacationing somewhere around the water.
OtterBox Fre Series – Benefits
- Less bulky than generic dry bags
- Protects against drops and other damage
OtterBox Fre Series – Disadvantages
- Difficult to put on and take off quickly
- Limited use of the touchscreen underwater
Rating: 4 out of 5
While this case isn’t the most convenient to quickly put on and take off, it does manage to keep your iPhone 14 Pro dry when you take it underwater. If you don’t need this feature, the cost is a bit high, but if it’s the feature you’re looking for, it works great.
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