I’ve tested my fair share of waterproof protection cases for the iPhone 5. Some I’ve loved, some I’ve liked, and some you guys never heard about because they didn’t make the cut. That being said, I have never seen one quite like this Snow Lizard SLXtreme 5. This product is aptly named as it’s extreme in every fashion.
This Snow Lizard has everything except the kitchen sink, but I’m still checking to make sure it doesn’t. It’s Mil Spec 810G. The same kind of ruggedness certification as Panasonic’s Toughbook and Toughpad, which have served with Military Units and Police Departments around the world. You can drop it from 2 meters, but I think that may be conservative. It’s IP-68 compliant for a 6-foot depth for half an hour. The case itself is GIGANTIC taking the 124x59x8mm iPhone and putting it into an enclosure 151x71x25. It’s fully riveted and has watertight, sealed hatches for phone entry and access to the ports on the bottom. It’s drop proof, waterproof, and dust proof. Hell, it might even be nuclear bomb proof. What’s more, it’s designed for both the 5 and 5S in terms of the front and rear camera holes. Though TouchID is out of the question. This thing is built like a tank.
So what kind of trade-offs does it make in terms of usability? Not much actually, besides the considerable bulk. First off, it’s dead simple to slide in and out of. You open up the clamp for the top, open it up, and slide it on in. Then when you’re done, you slide it on out. Controls are all usable except for the Ring/Silent switch which is covered by a hinge for the top. The on/off, volume up/down, and home button covers all have a great feel to them. The cameras are fully functional, with it giving the rear a generous cutout that didn’t interfere at all with photos that I took. You even get headphone access through the adapter. You’ll need it because this case really does nasty things to the sound quality. Lastly, the integrated screen protector is excellent and the iPhone was normally usable without any extra effort. The lone exception is with Command Center. You have the deep recess, which makes you have to change the way you interact with the bottom of the screen.
What really makes this unique is the integrated 2550mAh battery back. That’s considerably larger than the roughly 1500mAh battery in the iPhone and where some of the bulk comes from. But wait, there’s more. They decided to stick a solar panel on the back just for the hell of it. It’ll give you 10 minutes of talk time for every hour of sunshine. It’s not much, but if you’re in a survival situation and you’ve exhausted the considerably battery reserves, it could be the difference between life and death. Charging uses MicroUSB through a locked hatch at the bottom. If that’s not extreme enough, it’s even got a carabiner mount, though it blocks the hatch door when one is attached. If I was going backpacking or someplace even more extreme, and could only bring one case, this would be the one.
How It Stands Up
This is were the product is extraordinary. First off, it is absolutely waterproof. It came through the long term submergence test with flying colors. Exterior was soaked, interior was bone dry. The drop test, you’re not going to believe this. The standard test I use is a 2 meter drop onto solid concrete. If you’re going to test it, test it at the edge of its rating and on a surface with no give. I have tested several other cases this way and while the dummy iPhone inside came out fine, the case would always have nicks and scuffing. After dropping it at several different angles, I can’t seem to find any. It still looks brand new after half a dozen drops onto sold concrete. Its as tough as it looks and maybe even more so. I’ve never said this before, but I’m absolutely floored.
So how much do you pay for all this capability? Well, it’s not cheap, but it’s about what you’d pay for both a battery case and a waterproof protection case. Snow Lizard sells it for $149.99. You’ll get 4 options for your colors: White, Yellow, Orange, and Hunter Camo. Given the case’s attributes, I think they fit.
If you’re looking for a case to replace your OtterBox or LifeProof, this isn’t it. It’s simply too big to be your everyday case. It’s quite frankly overkill on price and features. If you’re into adventure sports or other extreme use cases, it’s the case for you. It’ll keep you protected and powered all day and easily lets your phone go when you don’t need it. Putting it simply, the SLXtreme 5 lives up to its name as the most extreme case for the iPhone 5 out there.
- Waterproof and almost indestructible
- Integrated 2500 mAh battery
- Integrated solar panel
- Easy to operate and retains most functionality.
- Extremely bulky. May not fit in pocket.
- Covers up ring/vibrate switch
- Poor sound in case.