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Technology Today  - August 2012
by Robert Sanborn

Catalyst Lifestyle

More traveling taking place this summer helps me to dig out more aps for my Smartphone which in my case is the Apple iPhone.  I have been using the Case Mate, www.case-mate.com iPhone cover since CES and have found it to be very good at protecting my iPhone as well as giving it a very nonstick surface so that when I put it on the dash of the car or anywhere else, it pretty much stays there. It is well put together and except for one little problem of using a credit card scanner, did just what I expected it to. The travel applications (apps) that I use where very helpful on the trip as I discovered where the Hampton Inns are along the way and the fact that there are very few Starbucks up in the northeast. Using the Maps application helped me find my way around and what I do like about it is that when you put in a place to go, you have the choice of walking or driving directions.  The Facebook app is a nice way to post photos of the travels and keep in touch and I tested the Skype app and that did a great job of letting me connect with some really far away family. What was even cooler with Skype was that it was easy for them to see what I was looking at by turning the phone around and they could still easily hear me talking to them.

The problem I have now is that I want to go to the Ocean and take some pictures with the phone but I am in a mild panic mode knowing how much damage the salt and sea can do to anything electronic. I am ok with my Otterbox cases for other things I take to the beach but I want to use the phone while there as well. Along comes Catalyst. http://www.catalystlifestyle.com/  Catalyst Lifestyle is a way to take your iPhone with you no matter the conditions and they have a pretty cool YouTube video to see for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO6_oeEYy4U&feature=player_embedded Catalyst Lifestyle



The Escape Capsule is a waterproof case for the iPhone created to protect the iPhone from the elements. Fully sealed with a visible O-ring, it will protect your phone and give you the ability to quickly inspect the fact that it is sealed and working properly.  After a day at the ocean or the swimming pool, just rinse it off with water and you are ready to go again. Every case they sell is measured to withstand a depth of 2 meters (six and a half feet) for 30 minutes, so don’t leave it too long at the bottom of the pool.

Under Water The Escape Capsule comes in a very compact and complete package but the installation instructions are online as while it may look pretty simple to assemble, if you want to ensure a waterproof connection, you do need to follow the instructions. You also need to read the instructions about the waterproof membranes that it uses for sound transfer as well. And speaking of reading, don’t be daunted by the depth of the instructions. If you are like most people that put a ton of information, photos, and contacts into your iPhone, you shouldn’t mind at all a little bit of extra time to ensure that your iPhone is safe from the elements.


Plan on about 20 minutes to read the instructions, test the assembly of the Escape Capsule, and another 30 minutes to make sure it works right (you do want to be sure it is waterproof don’t you?), and put it together ready for use. And actually, with the included case opening tool, opening the case up to charge your phone is quite easy, pop it open, pop it closed after charging and you are ready to go again for another day. You just need to remember to rinse off the case after a day at the beach or pool.


The instruction website is very detailed in how you set up your Catalyst Escape Capsule and you can register your unit and validate the warranty. I suspect many people will just ignore the warranty portion but it is worth reading and noting that you have to agree to five different sections of the warranty terms. They take their warranty very seriously and if you will use the Escape Capsule, you should too.
What next to do is to test it in real conditions. Questions to think about are the quality of the phone calls, the quality of the images from the camera, how well it does outside, and does it really protect my iPhone.

As for protecting the phone, it works great. The seals work like a charm and out outing on a sailboat went very well with a high degree of confidence during the times water splashed around us.  Making and receiving phone calls can be difficult because of the air pressure inside the case but as they suggest, pop the headphone connector off and you are good to go. It took me a couple of times before it worked just fine.  Having to take it apart to charge the iPhone turned out to be very easy and quickly done and if you just double check the O-ring, you can be assured it is well sealed. After several days of using the Escape Capsule, I can say I am very pleased with it. At the Beach


As I mentioned, I used it a ton so had to charge the phone each night but popping it out of the case was quite easy.  To clean the case, just use an alcohol swab to remove the prints on the membrane and clean up with a microfiber cloth. I used my with my iPhone taking a lot of pictures while traveling and for daylight photos, it worked great. I really couldn’t tell that I was taking pictures through the case.  The only glitch there would be the night time or with a flash as reflections between the lens and case do occur.
The Escape Capsule works great.  In and out of the boats, at the beach, and on the go, it was a terrific way to protect the camera. All I will need to do is to keep it clean, rinse it off after a day at the beach; an d when not using it, keep it in a clear zip sealed bag to make sure the O-ring stays clean and pliable. Available direct from Catalyst Lifestyle, http://www.catalystlifestyle.com/ for around $90. It is a solid and well-built case for protecting your iPhone and will stay with me in my travel bag for further adventures next time I head for the open water  The peace of mind alone is worth it.

Robert Sanborn

 

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