Seidio has proven to me that they are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to quality cell phone cases. I’ve owned a Seidio case for ALL of my Android devices (HTC Hero, HTC Evo, Samsung Epic, Samsung Droid Charge, Droid Razr, Nexus 7 (2012), Nexus 4 and now the Samsung Galaxy S4). All of these cases have been excellent and others have hands-down blown me away (such as their Active Case for the Nexus 7 - ) and now the OBEX Case for the S4!
To be clear, I’ve owned numerous other cases and products also along the years ranging from inexpensive TPU cases to other “industry leading” fan-favorites. Seidio has met and exceeded my needs and wants each and every case I’ve owned and has proven time and time again why they are good at what they do.
This case is EASILY an A+ Quality device that easily shows what sets Seidio apart from their competitors and shows what happens when ANY company puts their minds towards creating a great product!
For those who like specs, they can all be found at Seidio’s website (which basically says the following):
This product is not compatible with the Samsung Wireless (Inductive) Charging Cover or the Samsung GALAXY S4 ACTIVE.
Protecting your Samsung GALAXY S4 is not always easy, but Seidio’s OBEX® utilizes advanced technology that not only safeguards your device against drops, but also keeps external elements from damaging your device. This daily use case will protect you from water and accidental coffee spills, inclement weather including rain and snow, and from the dirt and grit of everyday activities.
We have simplified the design to ensure that your GALAXY S4 is protected at the highest level possible in the form of a slim and sleek case that is easy to install and devoid of any loose parts or covers. Our unique tunneling design enables true passage of sound, while the built-in screen protector promotes touch sensitivity and clarity. OBEX® will give you the ultimate protection – anytime, anywhere.
- Case meets the IP68 rating, signifying that it is both dust-tight and protected against complete, continuous submersion
- Critical points of entry are blocked by a two-stage protection system
- Anti-reflection glass protects the camera lens without interfering with photo quality
- Water proof membranes shield the microphones and speakers while maintaining with sound quality
- Exceeds the MIL-STD-810F standard and can survive drops from up to 6 feet
- Internal structure is designed to protect your Samsung GALAXY S4 in the event that it is dropped or compressed
- Combination of Polycarbonate (PC) and Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) materials provides protection from impact
- Raised edges on the case and the 4H hardness rated screen protector create a barrier from external elements
- Designed so your Samsung GALAXY S4 remains fully functional for daily use
- Easy installation of only two parts creates a unibody design and eliminates the worry of loose pieces after case assembly
- Soft rubber stoppers keep dust and liquids out of headphone and USB ports while still allowing easy access in dry conditions
- Case will not interfere with radio signals, Bluetooth, IR Blaster, or NFC (Near Field Communication)
Additionally, Seidio says that the OBEX case “exceeds the stringent requirements for both IP68 and MIL-STD-810F certifications.”
In other words, regarding IP68 certification, the OBEX case is the highest level of contact protection (rated 6 - Dust Tight) and the highest level of protection against liquid and moisture (rated 8 - Completed and continuous submersion in water for up to two meters for 30 minutes). As far as MIL-STD-810F certifications… it’s a 529 page document. I can’t even pretend that I’ve read it all or understand it. Needless to say, from what I have read, it appears to be pretty intense testing!
First Impressions and Installation
Honestly, no one cares what the packaging looks like as long as it’s not a ziplock bag (it’s not by the way). Packing was professional and well done. Included in the packaging I received a waterproof 3.5mm Male to 3.5mm Female Audio Adapter (which I have not tested), the OBEX case for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and a belt holster (optional).
I had no idea what to expect when I received the case. Would it be huge and bulky or reasonably sized? Would I hate it and send it back immediately or would I give it a fair shake-down? Initial impressions really didn’t sway my mind one way or another. It all had to come down to testing. Regardless though, this surely HAS to be better than running in the rain with my phone in a ziplock bag, right?
OBEX Case Impressions
The $1,000,000 question: Is it REALLY waterproof to the specs that they listed and will it keep my device dry? YES IT WILL!!!
Initial waterproof test:
But… before we get that far, let’s cover some details.
For some unknown reason, Seidio decided to put the instruction manual for the device INSIDE of the case. So the only way to know how to open the case is to risk breaking your expensive new waterproof case in hopes of not damaging it (luckily I didn’t damage it), try to find directions online or ask Seidio for help. I did all three.
STOP!!! Before installing - Check these two links!!!
Here is some useful information I found on this: THIS VIDEO and the installation manual found HERE.
Those who are familiar with Seidio’s signature soft-touch texture on the case will NOT find it here. This case does not have the soft-touch that we know and love and is more of a generic plastic feel. The colored sides are a rubbery-plastic material that offers a grippy texture.
All ports are clearly accessible (once ports are opened), the power and volume buttons are crisp and responsive. All phone calls reported that voice was clear and understandable and sounded the same regardless of if the case was installed or not. Additionally, playing music through the phone while the case is installed sounds perfectly ok and does not appear to add any muffling regardless of if the phone is placed screen up or screen down!
The camera and flash feature anti-reflective glass coverings that do not interfere with camera or flash functionality!
The headphone jack is accessible by a rubber plug that plugs into the top of the phone and also is attached to the case. As mentioned, the device comes with a waterproof jack but for the number of times I’ve caught my headphone cable on something and yanked it out of the phone, I’m not sure if I would even consider using this in a water-prone situation.
The top and bottom clips were somewhat of a pain to pry open but having done them a few times now, they DO get easier to do and still hold firm. Long term use will prove more valuable for how well these hold up.
The screen is dimmer and less clear than with a glass screen protector or with a naked screen. Such is to be expected with a case/screen protector like this. As you know, you don’t purchase a case like this just so you can have the clearest screen possible. You purchase this case to keep your device as safe as possible in as many preventable situations (such as snorkeling) and unpreventable situations (such as sudden dust or rain storms) as possible.
Note: While the case DOES fit with a glass screen protector installed on the phone, the touch response is garbage. I would advise using the case with ONLY the screen protector built into the case. Additionally, for those that have the aluminum home buttons installed, they will need removed also to ensure proper “clicking” of the home button. I cannot comment on film screen protectors.
OBEX Holster Impressions
The holster for the OBEX case is pretty straightforward and similar to the holster for other devices. This is, without a doubt, a MUST HAVE for anyone looking for a belt holster. There are a few improvements and differences with this holster that I haven’t seen (or have been redesigned) in previous models.
The Holster can hold the OBEX case in a “screen in” or a “screen out” position. Both positions leave the headphone jack accessible. NEITHER position allows the charging port to be accessed (though I’m hoping that Seidio considers a redesign for this as I feel it is clearly an oversight).
The first and most notable difference is on the center of the holster where there is a sliding switch that slides to a locked/unlocked position. This is actually an excellent idea as it allows the holster to become a modular unit! This lock secures the physical belt clip to the holster unit. This allows not only broken clips to be replaced but also allows for expansion to products such as car mounts and other accessories. Judging by the instruction manual linked above, there appears to be products in the works for this. My ONLY suggestion/complaint on this is that a car mount is significantly more useful if you can charge the device while you are using it (such as GPS on long trips); not being able to charge the device while it’s hooked to the holster is something I feel needs to be addressed.
The second difference is the return of a locking, spring loaded latch to secure the OBEX case in the holster! Oh how I’ve missed this feature on my past few devices. For those who are familiar with the locking latch, this is a new and improved version that is much easier to work and is more secure. For those who are not familiar with the locking latch, this version has a textured plate that slides up to the top of the device to hold the latch in the locked position and slides down to toward the bottom of the device to allow the latch to spring open/closed when inserting or removing the device from the holster.
Other than the singular flaw with being able to charge the device while in the holster, it’s a PERFECT holster in my opinion!
There is no beating around the bush with this one. This is one EXPENSIVE case! But, those of us who aren’t on a carrier that offers the S4 Active and would like some kind of additional dust/water/drop protection now have a great option to chose from! It is, undoubtedly, well worth the money.
Seidio sells the OBEX case on their website for $79.95 in black (with red or grey stripe) or white (pink or grey stripe) at the date of this review. SEIDIO | OBEX for Samsung Galaxy S4
Great review as usual by Kelmar! You beat me to it
Since I don't want to duplicate the main info already posted in the original review, let me add some of my own comments and a lots of more pictures
First of all, this is probably one of the most anticipated S4 cases. Period! I remember drooling over OBEX S3 case in hopes they will release it for Note 2, but it never happened due to s-pen compatibility issues. Now, being able to test this case with S4 makes me very sad because I no longer have my Verizon S4 review phone and have to use a display model of S4. Let me just tell you - this is the first case that actually makes me want to buy the phone just so I can use it with OBEX. A lot of you who are familiar with my work in both XDA and AF know that I have reviewed a ton of cases, and I can tell you this one is a pure quality crafted to withstand anything from water to impact or dust or snow. It doesn't just meets but actually exceeds both IPX68 rating and MIL-STD-810F test, all independently tested by NAC. This is not just a vendor claim, they can actually confirm that with independent test results.
I wasn't able to test it with a working phone, but I can tell you I was very impressed with a built-in 4H rated screen protector and the clarity of the image. Don't want to mention names *cough* otterbox *cough*, but other companies should take notes how it supposed to be done. I also done some research looking through a number of other review videos talking about how impressive S4 speaker sounds under the water while submerged. You can clearly see a lot of work went into design of that protective sound membrane.
For my water test, I used pool test strips since those will change color once in contact with moisture. In my last picture I actually showed how those colors look if moisture gets inside on that test strip. The case strayed dry without any problem.
Furthermore, I also would like to mention how lightweight the case is. Weighting only 2 ounces (56 grams) its featherlight and with overall dimension of 6" x 3 1/3 " x 1/2 " (150mm x 80 mm x 13 mm) it hardly adds any bulk, For something that offers such an amazing protection, hardly adding any bulk or increasing the weight is very impressive.
Also, the holster is very similar in design to CONVERT holster, and with OBEX S4 case you can actually place the phone facing out thus tilt it on a surface to use like a kickstand. That comes very useful.
The only comment I have is because you can't use wireless charging, you will have to open and close micro-usb port quite often which can add to some wear/tear but with everything covered under warranty - you should have piece of mind. Another comment is that back of the case is a bit on a slippery side, although when you place it on a flat surface you have 2 rubber bumps at each end that create friction with a surface to prevent it from sliding. The rubber material on the side of the case will give you an additional grip, although I would prefer to have back of the case less slippery. But then you can also argue that case is drop and water resistant, so what the heck!
Here are the pictures:
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I got my S4 Obex case in yesterday as well. I agree with the opinions of the reviewers above. This is my 3rd Seidio case and I recommend it over Otterbox any day.
I bought it because I got only a few drops of water on my Rezound and it was trashed. I want peace of mind when I am doing field work. Next time I'm walking across a stream balancing on moss-covered rocks, I won't be as anxious about staying upright.
My complaints so far are minor, and keep in mind I've been using it for less than 24 hrs.
- The back is slippery. Seidio should have caught this and should have anticipated it being the #1 complaint. I handed it to my boss to look at and for just a moment you could see it nearly slip out of his hands. Good thing there's drop protection! I might consider adding some grip tape to the back if I can find any that doesn't look trashy.
- The holster is solid, but the grip I use to unclip it (forefinger + thumb) also means I want to put my thumb right where there is corner protection from the holster. This means that I'm going to have to figure out a way to securely grip the phone when I take it out, and commit it to muscle memory.
- The bottom of the holster has large corner protection pieces, but this limits the angle that you can insert the phone before inserting it the rest of the way into the holster. This isn't bad per se, but it's a noticeable difference from all the other holsters I've used.
- I really wish they had offered the black/gray colors initially. The red is a bit distracting when worn in a holster.
Like I said, these complains are MINOR, IMO. I still highly recommend it.
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