The Hitcase Pro is a rugged, waterproof and shock-resistant case for iPhone 4/4S and 5 that’s designed to transform your smartphone into a wearable point-of-view sports camera.
If you already own an iPhone, buying a Hitcase Pro is cheaper than buying a well-reviewed dedicated action camera like the Drift HD or Sony’s Action Cam. It’ll only set you back $130, while GoPro’s HD Hero3, the current darling of the POV action cam world, costs $250. On the other hand, a new off-contract 16GB iPhone 5 will set you back $700.
The other advantage of smartphone over a GoPro is that with the help of a few iOS Apps, you can view, edit and share (provided you’ve got a cellular or Wi-Fi connection) the video you’ve captured without first having to transfer it to a computer. After using the Hitcase Pro for a week on hikes, multiple bike rides and a dunk in the ocean, my iPhone 5 was still in one piece, and I managed to get some great photos and video. Given that these two functions are the Hitcase Pro’s raison d’être, I feel comfortable recommending it.
If you’re also comfortable with leaving the safety of your expensive smartphone in the hands of an aftermarket accessory, then read on.
The first thing you notice about the Hitcase Pro is its size. The iPhone 5 iteration of the case is just about half an inch thick, five and a half inches long and three inches wide–that’s enough girth to transform your svelte smartphone into an unpocketable behemoth. The Hitcase Pro’s size is further increased by the presence of a wide angle lens that’s fused to the case’s exterior.
My only real beef with the case is that it’s wide angle lens can’t be removed. It looks awkward, even if you’ll likely be glad it’s there, as the lens is designed to expand your iPhone’s effective field of view up to 170 degrees. So you’ll be able to capture more of the world around you. That said, some people may be unimpressed by the distortion the lens creates. Having the option to switch it out with other lenses would have been a nice touch.
The Hitcase Pro is constructed from ABS/Polycarbonate plastic, and has a soft-touch finish, making it easy to get a grip on, even while wet. You can secure your iPhone inside of the case by snapping its three heavy-duty hinges shut. Doing so provides a tight seal for the Hitcase Pro’s internal rubber gasket, making it dust-proof and waterproof up to a depth of 10 meters.
Once inside, the iPhone’s power button, Home button, volume controls, headphone port and display are all still accessible, and entirely useable. However, you may find that the iPhone’s audio quality will suffer while the handset’s in the case: I found phone calls were harder to hear, even with the volume turned all the way up. But muffled sound is a small price to pay for the knowledge that your smartphone will still be in one piece after a day in the great outdoors.
The Hitcase Pro comes with a detachable GoPro-compatible Tripod mount and helmet mount that attaches to the case with a sliding rail system. In addition to these mounts, the case’s rail system can also be used to attach the Hitcase Pro to an optional suction cup mount (perfect for attaching to the dashboard of a car) or a chest rig, both of which cost $50. For the adventurous, I’d recommend investing in the chest rig: no matter how tough the Hitcase Pro looks, you’re still going to look like a goof with an object the size of a smartphone attached to your helmet.
Final Verdict: If you’re comfortable with the thought of putting your iPhone in harm’s way, the Hitcase Pro is a great alternative to buying a dedicated action cam.