Having an iPad, you get used to its convenience for just about everything you do. From reading books to using the tablet to navigating via Google Earth.
We've been doing lots of Photography Tours
on the water lately, and while on the boat, we've found that the iPad is a great tool to bring along. There have been numerous times that one of the guests on the boat has a camera I might not be familiar with, and if we need to download the manual quickly to see how to set a custom function, the iPad allows us to do this in a hurry.
Chart Plotters or Waterproof GPS used for navigation on the water are outrageously expensive and something that needs to permanently mounted on the boat. Using the iPad's large, full color screen as a GPS really helps keep us on track and know where the navigational channels are. Our problem was very simple, the tablet is a delicate piece of computer hardware and like most electronic devices, they don't like water, especially salt water. We needed to find something that would allow us to use the iPad while in adverse weather yet keep it safe from the elements. In steps Aquapac.
We've used the Aquapac Waterproof Camera Case
in the past while paddling and bringing our cameras on the water, so I checked out their website to see if they had anything that might help us keep our iPad with us in any environment.
We ordered our waterproof case and I'm thinking because this product was just announced, we received it within a few days time. I'm guessing once folks know this product exists, there is going to be a shortage of them.
I've always liked how the Aquapac products have a very unique feel to them. The plastic feels very soft and malleable, yet is very strong. The locking latches lock with a solid feel to them that lets you know they're locked. There is no guessing if your device is going to be safe or not. The hard plastic piece that welds the soft plastic together feels very secure and has tabs molded in that allows you to connect a supplied shoulder strap for ease of carrying your device. (I'll elaborate on this in more detail later in the review) The case comes with a 5 year warranty on it too!
The clear screen that lays over the touch screen of the iPad is a special type of plastic that allows your fingers sensitivity to flow right through seamlessly. We were worried that the iPad might become cumbersome while on the boat and the weather is nasty. If you have to press really hard to get the device to recognize your commands, it means you have to relearn the device. This isn't the case at all with the Aquapac waterproof cover.
The slightest touch is recognized and the iPad works just like it would when out of the case.
There is even a plug that you connect to the iPad as you slide it in the case that allows you to connect the device to headphones or auxiliary speakers. Very well thought out!
The waterproof earphone jack
We normally keep our iPad in one of the leather covers that puts the tablet to sleep when you close the cover. The iPad fit snugly inside the Aquapac Waterproof Case with the leather cover on, but if you choose to use it this way, it cancels out the use of the camera on the tablet. I'm only mentioning this incase you were carrying your tablet in one of the leather covers and wanted to use the Aquapac cover at the same time. It does work, but it works much better if you take that leather cover off first.
With the leather cover removed, the iPad slides easily into the Aquapac waterproof case. The backside of the Aquapac sleeve is a textured material, but there is a clear piece right where the camera is located on the iPad. This allows you to still take photos when in the case, even underwater!
Speaking of underwater, Aquapac gives the waterproof cover a rating of IPX8, the highest rating available, which means is "Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure - The case is suitable for immersion for at least 30 minutes to a depth of 15 feet/5 metres" - Here is a Link
to what the IPX Rating means.Real World Usage
After fitting the case and using it around the house and work for a few days, we were eager to bring it out on the boat and see how it worked in a real world environment. Living in Florida and it being early spring, we didn't have to wait long to find an early morning where the weather was perfect for what this case is made for.
Heavy fog that covered everything in a wet dew was what we were dealing with. The iPad sitting safely in the Aquapac Waterproof Cover was slung around the Captain's shoulder. We've found that in our last few times of testing, it just works so easy keeping the case slung around the shoulder and available at a moments notice.
Aquapac iPad Case Slung on the Shoulder of the boat Captain
If you need to take a look at the screen, you simply slide the shoulder strap around and check your surroundings. When sitting on the boat, you can lay the iPad on your lap to navigate the shallows and avoid the oyster beds and sandbars that lie hidden underneath the water waiting to stop you in your tracks..
On our Photography Tours, we use a high thrust electric trolling motor once we get close to the large flocks of birds to keep the noise down. Our area of Cedar Key Florida is known for its shallow water, hidden sand bars and boat trashing oyster beds. You'd be amazed how well Google Earth does to use as a navigational tool to guide you through the maze of hidden traps while operating the boat.
If you need to stand up, you simply let the iPad hang at your side. If you need to remove the shoulder strap to set the waterproof case down, the shoulder strap has quick release clips to allow fast and easy removal. The entire case is very well thought out and put together.
The case came with a few Desiccant Sachets that you should keep inside the enclosure. Living in Florida, it's almost always humid. We noticed that when we slid the iPad into the case, the clear plastic fogged up almost instantly. I'm sure the iPad itself had heat built up inside the tablet and with the waterproof enclosure being 100% sealed, the heat had no where to go.
Shows the thickness of the entire case with the iPad inside along with the leather case we had it wrapped around. The Red Arrow points to where the Desiccant Sachet is placed.
We opened the case back up, and slid one of the supplied Desiccant Sachets into the enclosure and tucked it down where the cord piece has its little extra piece of material. This kept the sachet inside the case without it interfering with the use of the tablet. Aquapac has a link off their website where you can order more Desiccant Sachets incase you live somewhere humid like we do.
All in all, we're extremely happy with this waterproof case. It does exactly what its supposed to do...allow us to use our iPad no matter what the weather is throwing at us. Neither of us have attempted to submerge the entire case yet just to see if it works, but knowing that Aquapac rates it as submersible, it gives you a serious sense of security knowing if it was to fall overboard, or stay on the deck of the boat in a downpour, we're not really worried.
For more information about Aquapac's Products, check out their website at http://usstore.aquapac.net