Otterbox uniVERSE Case System and Photography Modules

Hands On Review

I recently wrote on some exciting news from the great folks at Otterbox. They have developed a case system that is perfect for not just the every day smart phone carrier, but for the ever growing population of mobile photographers who use an iPhone - specifically the new iPhone 6 and up.  At the time of the article, I was more interested in the concept of the system and the modules. Otterbox partnered up with the likes of Olloclip, SanDisk, PolarPro, Nite Ize and other great smart phone accessory dealers to come up with a single system, a universal system.

Otterbox is well known for its protection of smart phones and is far ahead the leader in cases that protect our investments. As I have stated in my previous article, I am a proud owner of Otterbox cases. I trust the craftsmanship and if my word is not enough, Otterbox offers us a lifetime warranty. Awesome, right!!!

After hearing about the uniVERSE system and knowing the names that have partnered up with Otterbox, I reached out to them to get my hands on the system and some of the modules.  The fine folks over at Otterbox did not disappoint and for the most part neither did their partners. 

They all quickly got me the accessories after learning that I was going to Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks for a week. It would be a great place to test their products from a protection stand point, a recreational standpoint, and a photographical standpoint.

Needless to say, I was very excited to test this system.

It is good to note that I also received the PolarPro Beat Pulsar Bluetooth Speaker ($59.99), PolarPro Trailblazer ($34.99),  and the PolarPro Stash Wallet ($19.99). These products were great and I recommend that if you want to get accessories that are outside of the mobile photography modules that you should purchase these. In general, the PolarPro products were all great.

of 07

The Otterbox uniVERSE Case

Otterbox uniVERSE Case System.

 As you can see in the picture, I received the black case. There is a white case available but I am glad that the black case is what came in the mail.

It is a pretty simple and standard looking case.  There is nothing fancy about it. It is made of a synthetic rubber interior and a polycarbonate exterior. The interior helps in shock absorption and the exterior protects from scratches and other aesthetic blemishes. There is a rubber bevel for the front of the smart phone that helps protect the actual screen of your iPhone. 

On the back of the case is where you slide in the modules.  Most of the modules are placed here.

The case does not add too much additional weight that any other case may add.  It is a slim case. It is not a flashy case as it should not be. It is to protect your investment and I felt truly confident that it would do that.

How do I know this? I did drop the phone a few times. A couple times on concrete and on trails of gravel. 

The iPhone 6 Series (I have the 6S) is not an easy phone to keep from dropping - well at least for me. It's a slippery phone because it is larger than its predecessors and this lends to the importance of getting a case to protect it. 

The case did great. I do wish that it had more of a matte finish or a finish that lends to an easier grip. The polycarbonate case is still a bit slippery.

I give it a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

You can purchase the case for $49.95 USD here.

of 07

Olloclip 4 in 1 Lens Kit

Otterbox uniVERSE X Olloclip 4 in 1 Lens Kit.

 As a mobile photographer, I totally think that anyone who shoots with their mobile phone needs to have a lens kit for their smart phone.  Olloclip has been the most purchased lens kits for smart phones. The reason being is that Olloclip is the most trusted brand because of the quality of lenses, the ease of use, and the great customer service.

I have been using Olloclip lenses since I started in mobile photography and so I was not surprised at all with the quality of the images that I was able to capture with this module. 

The lens kit comes with the Fisheye, Wide Angle, Macro 10x, and Macro 15x. The clip easily attaches to the Otterbox case but not through the slide mechanism. The lens kit attaches over the iPhone lens and it falls right into place. There was not much fiddling for me to get it right over the iPhone lens at all. Once the Olloclip is attached to your case you can then use both front and rear facing cameras.  The only time you will need to switch the clip is if you wanted to switch the type of view you were trying to capture.

Again the Olloclip is a well known and trusted name in mobile photography. This kit did not disappoint.

I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.

You can purchase the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens module for $79.99 here.

of 07

PolarPro Trippler Tripod

Otterbox uniVERSE X PolarPro Trippler Tripod.

 Along with the Otterbox case, and the Olloclip 4-in-1 kit, the other most used module for this system during my time out at Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, was the Trippler Tripod from the fine folks at PolarPro.

The tripod is an addition to the modules for the uniVERSE system by adding the case attachment for the slide area. The Trippler is a 4-in-1 where you can use it as a stand, a pole grip, a GoPro tripod, and a smart phone tripod.

It's a small tripod that can extend from the base.There are three legs at the base that are sturdy, real sturdy actually. I used it from the floor of a boat using a remote shutter for my iPhone and even my Fuji camera. The images (you can see them on my Instagram) did not show any distortions despite the movement of waves crashing the boat. Just for clarification, I did not use the tripod while the boat was moving. That would just be irresponsible, even for me.

The Trippler is compact enough to keep in a backpack or just to carry along. I handheld it on some trail hikes because I wanted the quick set up for some landscape shots without wasting time for setup. I absolutely loved the size and was very happy with the quick and easy access to setting up for my shots.

I give it a 5 out of 5 stars.

You can purchase the PolarPro Trippler for $49.99 USD here.

of 07

SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive (128 GB)

Otterbox uniVERSE X SanDisk iExpand Flash Drive.

Because I was taking so many images during my vacation, I had to find a place to store and keep my images. Along with the cloud, I also back up to my desktop. Well because I did not carry my desktop all over Montana and Wyoming AND data signals and Wifi are really hard to come by in the country (even when it was available, the signals were not strong at all) I really used the SanDisk module - A LOT! 

The SanDisk drive connects via the iPhone's lightening port and you access everything through the SanDisk iXpand Drive App. Through the app you can connect to your social media, keep stats on your files, see how much space you have on both your iPhone and your flash drive. 

A feature that I used a lot within the app is the auto backup. It was a quick, easy, and a "set and forget" feature. Another feature is saving files from other apps to your iXpand drive.  You can batch save up to 50 files at a time once you activate the file sharing function.

The one function I hope that gets updated is to add other types of files to save onto the drive. I am not sure if I missed it or not, but for the life of me I could not find a way to save music or voice recordings to the drive. I really hope that this comes with the next update.

I give it a 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

You can purchase the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive for 32 GB $59.99 USD / 64 GB $79.99 USD / 128 GB $119.99 USD here.

of 07

PolarPro PowerPack

Otterbox uniVERSE X PolarPro PowerPack.

 Another great PolarPro module is the PowerPack. While shooting with your iPhone, you should always have extra juice as shooting can zap the power in your phone pretty quickly. 

Just in general, an extra charger is a must have. Throw in the fact that this is a module that works seamlessly with the uniVERSE case system and its another must purchase. 

The PowerPack blends with the case and only adds a bit of bulk to you iPhone. It really is not a significant bulk addition. It is a very slim module. 

A fully charged PowerPack gives you a full charge for a 6 Series and a 75% charge for the 6+ Series iPhone.

The module has a power button and also charge indicators to let you know how much juice is left in the module.

I give the PowerPack a 4 !/2 out of 5 stars.

You can purchase the PolarPro PowerPack for $49.99 here

of 07

Nite Ize Steelie Vent Mount Kit

Otterbox uniVERSE X Nite Ize Steelie Vent Kit.

I don't own a vent kit or mount for my smart phone. When I first received the system and the modules I was really excited to try my first mount kit. I thought I could use it to help turn my iPhone into a "GoPro" within the vehicle. I could do timelapses of our drive with the main camera and maybe some Car-aoke videos of the family on our road trip.

My wife was actually laughing at me because of my sheer giddiness for the module. Handsfree and visible when I need it to be for GPS or Music or Bluetooth or whatever. I was really excited.  I would not get a chance to actually try the module until we started on our trip to Montana and got onto I-5. I was excited for the powerful magnet and idea that you can change where the phone was pointing and all that.

From my house to I-5 there were some turns that did keep the phone from staying balanced on the mount.  I thought to myself, "Self - just wait until you get on the straight away!" 

Well unfortunately, that did not help and I was not even out of King County (literally an hour of driving out of Seattle) and I just took the vent kit down and threw it in the glove box.

The picture does not support me for this review, but trust me it does not stay in that position. I was parked when I took that picture.

It did not work at all and I was very disappointed. In fact it is the only module that i thought would work with no issues and it became the one that I would not want at all.

For the sake of uniformity: I give the mount kit a 0 out of 5 stars.

If you wanted to try and purchase the kit against my recommendation you can do so for $39.99 here

of 07

My Final Thoughts

Grand Tetons captured with the Olloclip and Otterbox uniVERSE system.

So my initial thoughts on the system were well supported through my hands on with it. I absolutely loved it. The ease of changing out the modules and the purpose of each module (minus the vent mount) made this system a must have for any and all iPhone owners, especially for mobile photographers. 

Lens kit: Check

Extra storage: Check

Extra Juice: Check

Stability: Check

Safety and Protection: Check

I highly recommend getting this system - now!