The fanciful, well-built packaging opens to reveal a solidly constructed case, complete with an installation guide to make sure everything is air tight…
I cannot remember ever testing a case that came with a set of installation instructions. First, pull the bottom compartment cover off, which exposes the headphone nub. From the top right tab, pry apart the case’s front and back sections, releasing all six tabs. This is going to take some extra effort and I often used something to help pry the pieces apart. Once inside, the ATLAS comes with a severely pesky sticker, warning you about proper usage. Peeling it off caused it to stick to the screen cover and I had to use rubbing alcohol and elbow grease to eliminate the residue.
The waterproofing works excellently. I would hope so, considering the case is MIL-STD-810G and IP68 certified. These are fancy shorthand call signs for its military standard grade for immersion at 2 meters for 60 minutes, shock proof, and dust proof certification. If you want the gritty details, Incipio has a nice tech spec site, specifically pointing out the info.
Yes, you get all the dust and waterproofing you want, but there are small things that I found annoying. The external mute switch never works as easily as I hope. I can get the iPhone to toggle mute/volume, but it takes some pressure to get the internal component to flip the actual mute switch. Additionally, while accepting phone calls, I noticed the proximity sensor cannot detect when it is close to my face. Consequently, the screen remains illuminated and several times I ended up muting the call or typing numbers with my cheek.
Another advantage is the glass front, which is much better than the thin plastic fiber found on other waterproof cases. Consequently, screen taps are very accurate all over the iPhone screen. I did find myself pecking much harder on the bottom left and right corners, but, otherwise it was a breeze. The calls were fairly clear, but the sound must escape a waterproof membrane. Sound quality was slightly distorted, but not to the point I was upset at the outcome. The same goes for the bottom speakers, which are somewhat muffled.
Now, even at $65, I would hope to forego having to clean my case before I even use it. Next time I hope Incipio uses a static cling or paper insert instead of an actual sticker. Also, the mute switch issue gets annoying pretty quickly.
But, back to waterproofing. This is a device made for a specific purpose, to keep you from ruining your iPhone. If water, dust, and drops are a frequent cause of headache, make the investment and leave your worries behind. It is the season to accidentally get pushed into the pool. Even after the iPhone 5C is released, it is still an expensive mistake.