I had debated getting a “waterproof to 3.1m” Olympus point and shoot when I was preparing for what turned out to be an Epic European backpacking trip back in 2008. Given different drivers at the time, I decided the $55 premium for waterproofing would be better put toward beer and other such end-of-collage trip variable expenses and in stead I elected to get the non-waterproof version of the camera. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that on the FIRST night in Europe we were caught in a brutal downpour. Despite best our efforts of running from the cover of awning to awning in Munich. By the time we got back to our hostel from the beer hall, we were water logged. The camera never turned on again. It didn’t take more than 30 mins the next day to cement my regret as I ended up buying the same camera at a %15 euro premium (also non waterproof).
Ever since I’ve never been able to argue the need for a waterproof camera, Especially given how my wife and I love all things water: the ocean, swimming, snorkeling, sailing, beach, water fights, etc. It turns out all the things we enjoy on vacation are also the best camera killers (i.e. sand and water).. We have a drawer full of dead/vacation killed point and shoot cameras.
So despite learning my lesson repeatedly and despite the fact that I’ve always wanted a “waterproof” camera, I really hate the idea of hauling around multiples of anything just because their single function devices such as a normal camera and a water proof camera.
In preparation for our upcoming trip to Hawaii, I again scanned all the available tech offerings. Funnily enough, the first listing I came across was the very highly rated updated model of the Olympus point and shoot that I decided against 8 years ago. I looked over the specs and after some brief thought, added it to my cart on amazon.ca. But just before checking out, I reviewed the specs again, it bothered me. The camera’s specs were more than a generation behind the camera built into my iPhone 6. I was more than a little bugged by this. I started thinking, there had to be a case that would work for my phone.
I searched endlessly, framed by the thought that it had to be a hard case like something my pro photog friends have for their DSLRs. Sure, there was, but phone cases for $150-$500? I might as well just get the olympus and treat it as a disposable.
I had just about given up and was about to go back to the checkout of the Olympus point and shoot when I saw that section at the bottom of an amazon item page that says “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought..” and there I saw the FRiEQ universal smart phone case.
For $25, it was a waterproof phone case to (certified waterproof to 100ft), sandproof and floating! The waterproof depth certification was 3x anything I’d even seen for more than 5x the cost in a hard case. It seemed to be a little too good to be true, but for $25, a 5 star rating with solid reviews, and with amazon prime, I felt it was worth it, and well if it was crap I could return it no hassle.
Now I’ll admit, the first time we brought it to the pool, I was nervous. I had tested it in the bathroom sink without my phone in it first and it had worked brilliantly, but now I was standing on the side of the pool about to test it to 10ft with my phone in it. With my Son and wife in the pool, I jumped in; no leaks. I let it go from the bottom of the pool and it buoyed straight up to just beneath the surface. I mean, this thing is little more than an ultra durable plastic bag with some float material and a waterproof clamp to seal it all in, but it’s awesome, and the touch screen works through the case underwater!
I don’t often do reviews and even more rarely endorse products, but this little FRiEQ waterproof case is pretty awesome, cheap, floats, and fits pretty much every modern smarthone. Converts any phone into a beach proof, sand proof, water proof, kidproof, fully useable camera/tech piece of gear. Completely love it and can’t wait to use it on our next trip. Stay tuned for some photos!