December 18, 2011
Our iPhones and iPods may be really useful and gorgeous but they aren't the most durable devices. That can cause some issues for those iDevice owners who really enjoy music and take advantage of everything the outdoors has to offer. You've undoubtedly come across waterproof and shock proof iPhone cases before, however, not many like the Grace Digital Eco Extreme waterproof speaker case. Most "rugged," "all terrain," and waterproof cases do provide access to the 3.5mm port for headphone connectivity. Although, not all activities are best "plugged in" to your music. Even with situations that you could use earphones, such as lying by the pool or at the beach; what if you're hanging out with a group? To put it simply, the Eco Extreme frees you from wires and allows the music to be heard by everybody around you through the embedded medium sized full range speaker to that headphone jack. The Eco Extreme is a 7.5" x 4.5" x 2.5" rounded edge enclosure with that single 3" speaker and a volume knob on the front. Operation is extremely simple. Start the music via any app you want, connect the Eco Extreme's internal speaker cable to your iDevice's headphone jack, and seal everything up using the two easy release clips. Inside of the Eco Extreme you'll see the interior speaker vent and battery compartment on the left and a completely foam padded compartment with containment net on the right. The case can house any iPod, including iPod touch, iPhone or most other smartphones and media players. The Eco Extreme features: • 3” full range forward firing speaker - 3W power and 200Hz to 10KHz frequency response • Up to 30 hours of operating time using 3 AA batteries • IPX7 waterproof rating - Tested being submersed 1 meter in water for up to 30 min • Detachable carabiner • Rubber feet to stand the unit upright in the closed or open state • Plenty of room for your mobile device, cash, credit card, license, extra batteries, etc • Available in six colors - Jet Black, Lime Green, Lemon Zest, Orange Peel, Cobalt Blue, and Petal Pink. Now that you know what the Eco Extreme consists of, I'll move onto my experience overview. The waterproof feature absolutely works as expected. The case is intended to float atop the water and the only side effect if you splash it, dunk it, or otherwise get it fully wet can be muffled sound from getting water in the exterior speaker vent. If that happens, all it takes is a momentary flip to expel the tiny bit of water and correct the issue. The case's ruggedness is more to keep out elements such as sand and dirt than stand up to you playing soccer or kickball with it, as your device isn't "hugged" and can move about inside, but the Eco Extreme does provide enough shock absorption using the reasonably thick foam padding for common dropping and bumping circumstances associated with hiking, camping, hanging out at the beach, and so on. Last, but not least, the sound is good. It doesn't have chest pounding bass or screaming highs but the unit does have good overall sound reproduction. To change songs, you must open up the case and pull out your iDevice. It's not an overly tedious process but can be a pain if you don't typically listen to entire albums or Internet radio. The lack of external controls, besides volume, isn't really a problem for a casual listening audio accessory, however, it is definitely something to consider. You can purchase the Eco Extreme direct from Grace Digital or select retailers for $49.99 plus applicable shipping and/or taxes.