During my recent trip to Hawaii I was able to try out the new Incipio Atlas ID iPhone 5s case. What interested me in this case over some others on the market is not only the simple and clean style and design, but the fact that you can still use your phone through the scratch resistant tempered glass in addition to the fully functional Intelligent Touch ID fingerprint interface.

The case is easy to install by just sliding the phone into the case and then snapping it shut making sure that all seals are clamped down. I would recommend always double checking each seal along with the bottom housing that snaps down and also the rubber headphone jack cover. The case is just as easy to take off, but follow the instructions as you don’t want to force the phone out otherwise it can break not only the case, but the phone. Incipio also provides a short video to showcase the install and removal of the case on their website and YouTube page.

The Atlas ID is lightweight weight weighing only 2.06 oz, where others in the market are extremely heavier. The case itself is thin and only adds a little bit of additional width and length to the iPhone 5s.

I decided to first try out the case on a stand-up paddle board adventure in Waikiki. I prefer real world testings of these products and cross my fingers that they work as advertised. Luckily, the case is waterproof (for up to 30 minutes at about 6 feet deep) and I was able to take some shots while paddleboarding.

With the case dry the touchscreen interface of the iPhone 5s works fine, not as sensitive as without, but that can be expected. The middle of the screen with the case on is the most responsive and the edges a little less responsive, but it did work for me. I found out that the case when wet and with wet fingers is very hard to use to slide and to use the Touch ID to unlock the case. A great way around this would be to go into your phone settings and turn off the passcode and also the auto lock screen then keep the camera app open. I also found that using the secondary button found on the side of the iPhone 5 worked better to take photos. Warning this may drain your battery pretty quickly, but the ability to take awesome photos is a small price to pay. While the case takes a little time to dry to be able to fully use it, it did protect it very well and I felt safe placing the phone in my boardshorts zippered pocket and swimming around.

The photos with the case came out great. Not as sharp as without the case, but very good for being a wet case. Samples below.

Underwater photos come out pretty clear as well. I don’t suggest this in the ocean as it won’t float if you do drop it in the water. Think of the case more of an insurance policy. Below is a photo taken from inside a water fountain.

The case also helps save the phone from dust and shock. I didn’t test it out by dropping the phone, but I did find great use using the phone while at the beach. Sand and dust can ruin electronics so this case definitely came in handy on this trip (I cleaned and wiped the case down before re-installing the phone after the below photo was taken.)

I can think of many scenarios where the Incipio Atlas ID can come in handy including vacations, outdoor activities (surfing, snowboarding, white water rafting, fishing, etc) or just when you need ultra-protection. This case will come in handy poolside, water parks or even provide entertainment for kids in the bath. I haven’t tried it yet, but I guess I could finally make calls or check emails while in the shower.

My phone is usually glued to my hand throughout the day so having the confidence that I can be next to water is great. A few years back I was pushed into a pool in Vegas (bachelor party shenanigans) and needless to say my phone died and I could of really used this case (insurance didn’t cover it). It also can provide many creative options to take photos or video with your phone when a GoPro or similar isn’t available plus its more compact and lightweight (GoPro’s in pockets are not fun). At $89.99 the case is a good value to protect your prized smart phone and give peace of mind. It also comes with a 1-year limited warranty as a bonus. The Atlas case is available for other phones and even a couple tablets. For more info go to Incipio.com.