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Video Review: Is a Ziploc Bag as Good as a Waterproof Case for Your Gadget?

We subjected an iPhone to a dunk test in our science pool (read: fish tank) to see if you need to splash out on a pricey waterproof case or if a Ziploc bag will do.
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The beach. Water parks. The toilet. These are all places where your beloved iPhone can find itself taking a nasty, warranty-voiding bath. Several items on the market purport to keep your gadgets dry in these situations, but how well do they really work? And do you have to spend a lot to get acceptable water protection?

To find out, we put expensive gadgets into a cheap-o Waterproof Pouch from Meritline, a slightly less cheap-o DRY-PAK Waterproof Pouch ($14.99 with $3.99 s&h, a low by $6), an OtterBox 2000 Hard Case ($14.99 with free shipping, a low by $3), and a Ziploc Bag (free in most kitchen drawers). Then we submerged them in water for varying lengths of time. Each gadget bag took a 10-minute, 30-minute, 1-hour, and overnight dip in our science pool (read: fish tank) to see if they had what it takes to keep the evil water at bay.

So what were our results? Like we'd ever tell you! We'd show you, though! Watch the above video for all the answers.


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Jeff Somogyi is the DealNews Media Editor. Since working here he's written deals, features, promotional and newsletter copy, blog posts, as well as scripts for our videos. Follow him on Google+, Twitter at @sommerjam or his blog.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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11 comments
andybaird
Cute review, but it fails to address one very important point. It's fine to protect your phone from a casual dunking, but what about taking pictures?

I can tell you from experience that pictures taken through a Ziploc bag or one of the pouch-type cases look like something from a $10 toy camera: smeary, blurry abominations. And if you have to take your phone out of a bag or pouch to take a picture, the chances of it getting wet are a lot greater.

It takes a hard plastic or glass window to get really sharp images. I'm guessing the Otterbox has one. Personally, I use a $30 iContact hard case, and I’ve taken photos and video that look as good as if I'd used no case at all.

Finally, if you're still tempted to go the Ziploc route, remember: those bags are *thin*! The first time you use one, it'll be waterproof. But after your bagged phone has been in and out of your pocket, purse or backpack a few times, that Ziploc bag is going to have folds, wrinkles, and—almost inevitably—micro-leaks.
Califas
Every so often I like a little music while taking a shower and a ziplock bag is thin enough to still provide sound however strong enough where steam does not ruin or the "wet sensors" in the iPhone that void the warranty.
HeyTiger
It would be awesome if there was a way to keep track of comments on dealnews. It's mighty hard to build a correspondence, much less a community, if one never knows whether someone else has responded to their comment.
historygeek1989
I highly recommend the ziplock bag. I have used that to keep my phone safe around different water sources for years and it keeps it safe. And you can't beat the price. Also, the plastic is thin enough that you can use the phone with the bag over it. When it starts to look crappy, just grab a new bag.

If you were worried about it falling out of a boat, put one of those stress balls in the bag with it. That should offer enough flotation.
dealnews-Somogyi
@HeyTiger
It was a straight-up Ziploc - no double-seal or freezer-safe what-nots!
dealnews-Lindsay
@zeram1 We were being cheeky, naturally
dealnews-Louis
Audio works for me too. Also, that Otterbox looks massive!
HeyTiger
Not all ziplock bags are created equal. Can you specify the bag you used? The double zipper ones are far superior in most all ways.
zeram1
Ziplock bag "free"? Yeah, if you're a live at (parent's) home slacker, who didn't have to buy them in the first place!
dealnews-Lindsay
@usthadh007 Hmm... I'm hearing sound. Maybe it's your speakers?
usthadh007
I can see the video but I can't hear anything..?!
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