I was passing by the pool of my apartment building and saw a girl reach onto the edge where her phone lay. She did some texting and then put it back down, only to watch it slip and fall into the water. It looked like it was in a case, but I bet that it wasn't waterproof. And I doubly bet that her phone was now toast. If your phone doesn't hold a charge until the end of the day, you should also read our guide to the sleek iPhone incase hardshell (with quickchange bottom).\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s times like this, not just being caught outside in a thunderstorm, that an excellent waterproof iPhone 5 case can make all the difference. It got me to thinking about the reason that you don\u2019t see all those many reviews of waterproofed smartphone cases: what if it doesn\u2019t work and it\u2019s your iPhone that was inside the case that has been destroyed? That thought kept going through my head as I looked at Ballistic\u2019s iPhone 5 HYDRA Series Case. At the basic level, it\u2019s designed to seal an iPhone inside of it but still allow it to be used. But at the more important level, its job is to keep out the water that is enveloping the case so that the phone inside stays completely and totally dry.\r\n\r\nSo I decided I\u2019d try it out first with an iPhone that didn\u2019t work -- one that was dead, defunct. Ballistic suggests you practice using the case by submerging it in water without a phone to make sure you get how to use it. That\u2019s a common sense approach, but I\u2019ll go one better by holding it under a faucet so I can watch whether the removable paper tag that\u2019s inside gets waterlogged or not.\r\n\r\nSo the first thing is to separate the iPhone 5 Ballistic HYDRA Series Case into its three parts: removing the 7 latches (2 each top\/bottom, 2 side, 1 edge) releases the front frame. The screen cover can now be pulled off the back. The iPhone would then be slid inside and the screen cover returned -- it has a series of o-rings circling the edges which must be pushed down hard to create a seal. This also removes air which helps to keep the iPhone in position inside. The o-rings are colored red to make it easier to see how you\u2019re doing. With this done, the front frame is then put back on, starting at the top 2 tabs and ending at the bottom where the plug that covers up the headphone jack is located (you can pull this up to use headphones, but the case now is no longer waterproof). It took me a little over 6 minutes to do this, counting from the initial disassembly.\r\n\r\nI turned on the faucet and held the case beneath the stream for over a minute. After drying it off and disassembling it, I could see that the tag inside was completely dry as was the inside of the case. Good.\r\n\r\nI then reassembled the Phone 5 Ballistic HYDRA Series Case again; only this time with my iPhone inside. I noticed that the case itself is not that much bigger and certainly barely heavier than other plain-Jane protective cases. I also had no difficulty in using the various controls, the Home button or in the touch screen responding to my finger taps.\r\n\r\nBut now for the tests. I replaced my iPhone with the dead one. Ballistic makes two claims about the HYDRA that are easy to substantiate: the first being that it will protect a phone\u2019s screen from a drop of up to 8 feet. So I stood away from the pool area and held the case even with my eyes -- that would be about almost 6 feet high. I then dropped it onto the tiled floor. It made a sickening \u201cthumping\u201d sound, but when I retrieved it neither the case itself or the phone inside had any damage (i.e., a broken screen for example). The second claim is that the case can handle being submerged in up to 7 feet of water for 30 minutes. So I attached the belt clip to the back of the HYDRA and clipped it to my trunks. I then sat in the water at the shallow end so that the case was underwater, timed 10 minutes and then got out of the water. Drying off the case, I opened it and inspected the phone which, as had been the case with the tag and the faucet, was dry.\r\n\r\nBottom line: The iPhone 5 Ballistic HYDRA Series Case protects the iPhone inside of it from getting soaked, while also providing a reasonable amount of drop protection. Whether it\u2019s from rain, falling into a pool or creek, if your iPhone needs to stay dry, $79 will buy that for you.