For better or worse, it seems as if virtually everyone, regardless of age, has become a card carrying member of today’s ultra-connected and technology-loving generation. No matter where we go it seems, we need and expect to have our super-capable smartphones and music players with us… on the airplane, in the car, at work or on the go. In most of these places it’s just a matter of a little bit of extra pocket space and a place to recharge; but at other times, things get a little more complicated… Whether it’s out by the pool, at the beach, hiking, skiing, snowboarding or out for a ride, we still need, want and expect our gear to come along–even as we face the constant worry that our favorite (and nearly irreplaceable) gadget might get wet, be dropped or damaged in any number of gruesome ways. Enter: The Eco Pod.
While its true a number of companies have offered a variety of viable, if imperfect solutions, the people over at Grace have introduced a new addition to their line of protective cases – the Grace Digital Audio Eco Pod – that promises serious protection for all major smart phones and music devices. So, with the safety of our – I mean, your – ‘precious’ phones and players in mind, we decided to take up the challenge and put the Grace Eco Pod to the test. Join us as we find out if the Eco Pod can live up to its promises.
Our first impression of the Eco Pod was a positive one. The bright orange and clear view plastic case appears extremely solid and is made of durable poly-carbonate. Featuring two robust hinges and two oversized latches to securely lock the case and completely seal the inside, the case is waterproof and rated to survive being submerged 1 meter for up to 30 minutes (though its worth noting that Grace Digital Audio does point out that the Eco Pod’s waterproofing is designed to protect electronic devices under normal conditions and is not intended for underwater use). In our testing, the case not only survived random water exposure (meant to simulate unexpected splashes or rain) and extended contact with sand and dirt, but even a brief plunge (all of which the Eco Pod handled with apparent ease), all the while successfully keeping its interior completely safe and dry.
The interior of the Eco Pod is equally well appointed – featuring a black, wear and slip resistant bedding, and two easy to adjust elastic bands used to hold your devices in place. Additionally, the Eco Pod also comes with a fixed and optimally located 3.5 mm audio cable that plugs into your phone or mp3 player’s audio jack, passing sound through to a waterproof audio port on the exterior of the case. Finally, the Eco Pod also provides a space for stashing a pair of earbuds and includes a handy column for winding the cable.
Recognizing that there might be a couple of other items you’d like to keep safe and dry while out and about, the people at Grace have gone a step further and made sure that the interior of the Eco Pod is spacious enough to also store essentials like credit cards, drivers licenses, cash, hotel room cards, and even some of the smaller point and shoot cameras (however, if this is an important feature to you, be sure to check for proper sizing before heading off on your adventure).
The Eco Pod comes with a set of waterproof earbuds that are intended to plug directly into the waterproof audio jack on the outside of the case. To our surprise, we found the included earbuds were not only particularly comfortable but also provided remarkably good sound – working well for both listening to music and taking phone calls, even as our gear remained unharmed inside the case. A simple, easy to use rubber knob located next to the audio jack allows you to adjust volume while on the go.
Given its rugged design and go-anywhere appeal, it’s fitting that the folks over at Grace Digital Audio have provided a number of options for carrying the case while in use. The first option is a robust integrated strap and carabiner combination, designed to allow the Eco Pod to be easily latched to the outside of a backpack, the accessory hooks of a tent, or other suitable anchor. Secondly, the case features a slot that allows it to be worn on a belt or web gear. Thirdly, that same slot can be used with a bike clamp (available separately from Grace Digital Audio), which allows you to connect the Eco Pod to the handlebars of either a road or mountain bike.
Following our testing, it’s clear that in addition to campers, cyclists and hikers, the Eco Pod is also likely to work especially well for skiers, snow boarders, boaters and a host of other outdoor enthusiasts as well.
Wrapping it Up
For adventurers and travelers looking to protect their phones, mp3 players, cameras and assorted other valuables, the Eco Pod is a really wonderful and reasonably priced option. We were especially impressed by its thoughtful design and overall quality, and couldn’t help noting that with the holidays just around the corner, it’s likely the perfect gift idea for virtually all of your favorite outdoorsman or woman… or even the casual vacationer. The Eco Pod from Grace Digital Audio not only delivers on its promise to store and protect your favorite smart phone or music devices, but does a whole lot more–and we couldn’t recommend it more highly.
The Eco Pod retails for $49.99 and can be purchased at GraceDigitalAudio.com.