While I was working on the HP iPAQ hw6515 review, I managed to my hands on the OtterBox 1910 case that fits the HP smartphone. If you’ve never heard of Otter Box, their specialty is making rugged, waterproof, and dustproof cases for many portable electronics out there. The OtterBox 1910 is an impressive accessory and performed well in our tests.
The case meets IP67 and MIL SPEC 810F for dust, water, and drop protection. I did look up what IP67 means – the “6” means the device is “dust tight” and the “7” means that the device can be submerged up to 1 meter deep. The MIL SPEC 810F is described in a several hundred page PDF that details how many drops, from what height, over what material a device needs to survive to get the rating.
When you first open the box, you’ll be shocked at the size, but I would guess that if you’re looking for a rugged case, you probably already know what to expect. The bulk of the case is a nice thick, yellow plastic. There is a soft clear plastic panel that covers the Touchscreen (and lets it still be operational). Two buckles on the sides keep the case closed and tight.
Otter Box has designed this case to make sure that all the features of the smartphone are available. The holes for the speaker and microphone are covered by a W.L. Gore membrane so they’re actually still usable (although a bit muffled). There are also ports for the charging jack, the headphone jack, and for the SD slot (but not the mini-SD slot — this may have been too hard to implement). A clear window on the back allows you to use the camera while the phone is in the case.
A rubber “sleeve” on the back of the device will hold your stylus while the device is inside the case. A keyboard on the front of the case passes through to the device keyboard to provide operation of all the keys on the keyboard (but of course you can’t use the thumbstick for directional navigation — you can only depress it).
The only button that can’t be accessed is the power button. There may be a design decision for this, but it doesn’t work well if you lock the keys while the power is off since there is no way to turn on the device.
It’s very easy to insert the device into the case. Just fit it into the rubber “braces” and buckle it in. The membrane over the screen still transmitted my stylus taps correctly with just a bit more pressure than usual.
It is difficult to hear some of the ringtones on the device at higher volumes and it will be also hard to feel a vibrating ring. During a call, it is still easy to hear the speaker although it’s a bit muffled. This was to be expected. You can’t expect to get a waterproof, dustproof device and hear the speaker exactly as clear as you can without the case. The person on the other end of the call can also still hear you in that same level of muffling as the speaker.
I also put this case underwater in the bath tub to see if it really did stay dry. Since I wasn’t ready to put the working iPAQ in the case to begin with, I folded up some paper towel, put it inside the case, and submerged it. After I came up with a dry paper towel, I decided to go ahead and try the $650 hw6515 in the OtterBox. I held the case underwater and had a moment of terror when a few bubbles came out of the speaker port, but luckily, everything was still bone dry.
Post-immersion – still works! [larger]
The Otterbox 1910 is an excellent choice if you need a rugged case for the HP iPAQ 6500 devices. It performed very well in underwater tests and the device is completely usable while inside the case. At a price of around $130, it’s not a trivial accessory, but if you need something like this in your line of work (or play), it’s a small price to pay to protect a $650 investment.
To get one, you can order directly from Otter Box.
- Device completely usable
- Muffled speaker and microphone
- No power button passthrough