OUTRIDE by Mophie – Action Case for iPhone
The OUTRIDE by Mophie is a shock- and waterproof enclosure for iphones. It protects your iphone from dirt, wind and weather, so that it can be used like an action camera – without putting the precious phone at risk. To perform like an action cam, the OUTRIDE has an integrated wide-angle lens. That lens rides on top of the actual iphone lens and transforms it into a 120 degree wide angle lens.
The OUTRIDE comes with a variety of accessories such as a handle bar clamp, a surf board mount, a helmet attachment and some replacement spare parts. We found the Mophie at the ISPO sports show in Munich and instantly liked it. So we decided to get one for our iphone 4/4S.
The Adaptors and the Binding
Before you start using the OUTRIDE you need to attach an adaptor to your helmet or your sports gear. It’s the same procedure as we know it from attaching action cameras. The adaptors are usually glued to the helmet, with a piece of thick double sided tape. When attached, the adaptors work like a binding and the actual camera or camera case can be mounted and unmounted at any time.
The OUTRIDE uses a slide-on and snap-in action for connecting the case to the adaptor. We like that solution and it makes a good impression. It slides on and off precisely and without any wiggle. The locking mechanism works fine and we never had the feeling we needed to worry about losing our iphone on the tracks. (For absolute safety you can always use a safety leash and attach it to the eyelet at the side of the case)
Regarding the adaptors, the OUTRIDE is giving you a variety of options. In the package we find:
– Two adaptors with sticky tape at the bottom for mounting to flat surfaces.
– Two adaptors with sticky tape at the bottom for mounting to curved surfaces like helmets.
– One adaptor with a tripod socket at the bottom – for screwing to tripods.
– One large round patch with sticky tape at the bottom for mounting to surf boards – or similar.
– One clamp for mounting to tubes such as handle bars, seat posts or other poles.
That’s a beautiful variety.. Although in reality, you may find yourself using only a few of them. In our case we used the handle bar clamp, the curved helmet adaptor and the tripod adaptor. Since we don’t surf we did not use the surf board patch at all.
For our tests we mounted the OUTRIDE adaptor to one of our freeride helmets. We chose the adaptor with the curved contour at the bottom. (The curvature is somehow generic and you need to find a spot on your helmet where the adaptor fits best. The thick adhesive tape then usually eliminates the remaining tolerances) We worked with other helmet cam mounts before and like expected, this one worked very well too.
The double sided tape at the bottom of the OUTRIDE adapter is very strong and reliable. However, we actually prefer special 3M patches which we think are one notch better. But that’s a personal preference only and not a problem. We always carry a set of spare 3M patches in our backpack and simply renew patches when needed.
Besides the freeride helmet we also tried mounting the OUTRIDE to one of our vented helmets. There’s no specific adaptor for vented helmets and regular adaptors can hardly be applied. The surfaces on vented helmets are either too narrow or too uneven for the adaptors. So we needed to get creative – with a knife, some plastic parts and a few cable ties…
At the time we didn’t have our tool box with us and we ended up with this solution. It’s not very pretty but it works quite well.
As we mentioned, the OUTRIDE does not come with a specific mounting option for vented helmets. It’s hard to say if such a mount or adaptor would actually be needed. Most action cams are mounted to freeride helmets anyway.
Some helmet cam manufacturers supply adaptors for vented helmets, but quite frankly we never got hands on one that actually convinced us. We keep going with our custom solution – which by the way also works very well with our Garmin action camera.
Some Outride We don’t want you get bored with too much details. So, see some video samples here. All filmed with an iphone4/4S.
The main hinge of the OUTRIDE feels rigid and enables a great angle of rotation. That’s very helpful and giving you great freedom for applying the helmet adaptor. No matter where you end up placing the adapter, the OUTRIDE case can still tilt into the right direction.
The hinge itself turns in small increments of approximately 6 degrees. It has some built-in serrated washers which don’t allow a smooth rotation but therefore prevent the hinge from unwanted or accidental shifting. Either caused by strong head wind, draft or heavy rattling while filming with the OUTRIDE. Or, when carrying it in the backpack in between some filming sessions.
When tilting the case during adjustment, the serrations create a ratcheting noise. In our first impression we thought the serrations would wear off easily. But as long as you don’t over-stress them or use too much force, they last very fine. (And just in case you ruin some of them, they added some extra as spare parts – that’s nice!)
The integrated lens of the OUTRIDE turns your iphone’s video lens into a 120 degree wide angle lens. The “lens on top of lens” concept works surprisingly well and giving your iphone the typical action cam viewing impression. We absolutely like it.
Maybe interesting to know: The viewing angle of the camera in “video mode” is completely different than the viewing angle in “photo” mode. The manufacturer says the viewing angle in video mode is 120 degree, in photo mode 170 degree. When we switched to “photo” mode, the photo was surrounded by a round shadow. Maybe there’s a way to avoid this, but we didn’t look further into it – we don’t need the OUTRIDE for taking pictures.
We received our OUTRIDE right before a holiday and literally unpacked it on the beach. Out of the box, the OUTRIDE made a good impression. Nevertheless, we didn’t want to soak an iphone right away. So we decided to take it into the water all empty, without loading it with the iphone.
In the water, it instantly proofed that it would keep all water out. It easily surpassed our diving up to maybe 5 meters dept, cliff dives and other splashing. Even when opening it up after some diving, no water would spill into the empty case. No hidden grooves or gaps with trapped water that may all of a sudden pour onto the iphone or into it’s openings.
We were quite excited and started using it with the iphone inside. Using it in the water we didn’t experience any thermic artifacts like fogged lenses, overheating or major optical distortion. Even the quality of sound under water is surprisingly good. (In the video you hear a strange sort of clicking noise. We were puzzled at first, but learned that this is apparently from thousands of miniature crabs living between the rocks…)
It’s been our holiday and we had great fun. At the end of the day we found the OUTRIDE is a great alternative to many action cameras.
Two different back cases:
The OUTRIDE comes with a waterproof front case and two different back cases you can choose from. The waterproof back case covers the entire back of the phone, including the touchscreen and the “home” button. The other back case encloses the edges of the phone, but leaves full access to the touchscreen and the “home” button.
The back cases are interchangeable and you can decide which one you want to use for your activity. While it’s pretty clear that the open back case still let’s you fully access the iphone’s functionality, we think we need to explain how you can use your iphone for filming when you don’t have access to your touchscreen.
Operating the enclosed iphone:
Yes, it works very well. Some of you may know that there are two ways of taking pictures with the iphone. You may either tab the red touchscreen button within your photo app, or you can press the physical volume button on the side of your iphone. Both options can take pictures or start/stop video recordings – depending wether your iphone is in photo- or in video mode.
As we mentioned before, the front case of the OUTRIDE has an integrated waterproof action button which can press the “+” volume button of the enclosed iphone. And that feature allows you to start and stop recording even when you don’t have access to the touchscreen of the phone.
This means you need to turn on your phone’s camera app before you close the waterproof case. Furthermore we recommend to turn off the automatic lock of your Iphone. Some of you may have it set to 1 or 2 minutes or so. If that’s the case, the phone may go into sleeping mode before you even get to start your first recording. So, it’s wise to turn “auto lock” to “never” (you can find that feature in “General Preferences”) before you use the waterproof back case.
Last but not least, we have two tips for you:
We recommend putting your iphone to “airplane” mode, so that no incoming calls can interfere with your filming session.
Watch the orientation of your iphone when pressing the “record-button”. The recording may start in “portrait” orientation instead of “landscape”.
The OUTRIDE app
Like many products nowadays the OUTRIDE comes with it’s own app. Or better say you can download the app from the app-store. We used the OUTRIDE quite a while without using the app. Everything worked well and we didn’t miss anything.
Only much later we loaded it and found you can upload movies, watch videos, create playlists, set favorites and so on. Over all nothing we really needed or wanted. But at the end of the day it’s your choice and you can to decide yourself. Fact is, the OUTRIDE perfectly works without it and that’s good!
Over all: We paid EUR 100.00 – We like that thing!
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