Geek Review: Oceanic+ Dive Housing For iPhone – Geek Culture

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In the world of photography, the adage “the best camera is the one you have with you” resonates profoundly, especially with the evolution of smartphones, and it now even extends to under the sea. Apple’s iPhone has transitioned from a mere communication device to a powerful photographic tool and its blend of portability and advanced camera technology blurs the lines between professional-grade photography and casual snapshot. And when combined with the Oceanic+ Dive Housing case, the set further unlocks the potential of underwater photography, harnessing the familiar prowess of your iPhone.

oceanic+ dive housing

If the Oceanic+ name sounds familiar, that’s because this housing is made by the same folks behind the app that transforms your Apple Watch Ultra into a dive computer. Priced at US$489.95, the Oceanic+ Dive Housing case weighs 975g and is designed for both recreational divers and passionate underwater photography enthusiasts. For those venturing into underwater photography and seeking to begin without subjecting their high-end mirrorless cameras to potential damage in deep waters, the Oceanic+ Dive Housing Case fits several iPhone models, from the iPhone 11 range to the latest iPhone 15 line-up and also turns the phone into a versatile dive computer, seamlessly integrating with the capabilities of your Apple Watch Ultra or Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Inside the thermoformed travel case, users find the dive housing, a wrist lanyard for added security, and a spares kit for pre-diving or post-diving maintenance. The kit includes desiccant packets, o-ring grease, an o-ring tool, and rubber pads.

The Oceanic Dive Housing is surprisingly sturdy and weighty, and boasts a tough, impact-resistant glass-fiber reinforced techno-polymer construction specifically engineered for underwater use. Its right side sports a mineral optical-grade lens secured by 12 screws for optimal camera performance underwater.

oceanic+ dive housing

On the left side lie essential functions: a tactile shutter button, four navigation buttons, a twist-lock, and a durable over-molded handle with a rubberized grip suitable for bare-handed or gloved use. Operational up to depths of 60 meters/196 feet, well surpassing Advanced Open Water Divers’ limits of 30 meters/100 feet, the housing includes a wrist leash, a ⅜-inch thread mount adapter for dive lights or tripods, and a pressure valve with an automatic vacuum pump, seal check, and integrated leak detector. These safety features ensure a tight seal and prevent water from entering the housing, bolstering user confidence in their iPhone’s security underwater.

The Dive Housing not only serves as a durable and reliable housing for your iPhone but also functions as a cutting-edge dive computer. It comes equipped with integrated Depth and Temperature Sensors, providing essential dive information at your fingertips. The device is powered by a long-lasting battery, boasting an impressive 100 hours of runtime, and requires only a swift 45-minute recharge time.

For optimal utilization of the Dive Housing’s advanced features, users are required to activate the Oceanic+ app, available on the iOS App Store. To unlock the housing and access the full range of applications tailored for scuba divers, a subscription to the Oceanic+ paid subscription service is essential. This subscription ensures that divers can tap into the device’s complete potential, enhancing their underwater experience.

oceanic+ dive housing

Regrettably, the price of the Dive Housing does not include a subscription to the Oceanic+ app, which is available on a freemium basis or under a paid premium subscription. The app plays a crucial role in unlocking the housing’s full potential, offering a range of features designed to enhance the scuba diving experience.

With the premium subscription, users gain access to the location planner, a dive planner, and specialized color-correcting filters that elevate the quality of dive media. An exciting addition is the scuba diving mode, allowing your iPhone to function as a dive computer when securely enclosed within the Oceanic+ underwater housing.

However, for those opting for the basic, free app plan, the Dive Housing remains fully usable and operates in “gauge mode.” This mode provides essential information such as depth and time, which may be sufficient for some users. Additionally, if you have a primary dive computer on hand, the basic app plan can still be useful as a secondary source of information during your underwater adventures.

oceanic+ dive housing

We ventured to test the Oceanic+ Dive Housing Case and the iPhone 15 during a four-day dive at the Similan Islands, Phuket, in the Andaman Sea. The app setup process was straightforward, thanks to the pre-dive checklist ensuring the housing and phone were adequately charged, connected, and set to airplane mode for optimal functionality. Once the iPhone was placed inside, the automatic vacuum pump initiated the sealing process, preparing the case for underwater use.

oceanic+ dive housing

Whether leaping off a boat or executing a back roll from a dinghy, the housing conveniently slots into a Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) pocket or securely attaches to your D-rings using double-ended bolt snap hooks.

Venturing into underwater photography exposes a myriad of unique challenges distinct from traditional photography. Movement takes on a new rhythm, and capturing the perfect shot becomes an intricate dance—fish don’t comply with your wishes. Achieving neutral buoyancy and positioning for the ideal shot demands extra time and precision. Moreover, the constraints of light and colour distortion intensify with depth, often countered by diving camera setups complemented with dive lights or underwater strobes. These third-party accessories, combined with the Dive housing’s ⅜-inch thread mount adapter, hold promise for future setups. 

Doubling as a dive computer, it employs the Bühlmann ZHL-16C algorithm with gradient factors, providing crucial real-time safety warnings underwater, such as ascent rate and low no-deco time. Users can tailor conservative settings before a dive based on their preferences, enhancing their underwater experience.

However, not all aspects were flawless as while the dive housing excelled, it’s the Oceanic App that raised some concerns.

A notable issue arises from the app’s reliance on GPS/Cellular connectivity during initial setup, proving problematic in dive sites without cellular or Wi-Fi networks. This dependence renders the app temporarily unusable in such areas, disrupting its functionality. We’ve discovered a workaround: open the app once in an area with cellular data, keep it running in the background, and avoid closing or restarting the phone to maintain its functionality. Additionally, occasional lags occur during photo capture using RAW+HEIF image format and 4K video recording at 60fps underwater. There were also instances where orienting the phone to portrait mode distorted the preview screen, affecting the overall user experience. We’ve also observed the phone experiencing overheating and freezing issues while using the app.

oceanic+ dive housing

Ultimately, the Oceanic+ Dive Housing Case presents itself as a compelling tool for underwater photography enthusiasts and recreational divers, transforming the iPhone into a versatile and functional dive companion. Its innovative approach alleviates concerns associated with risking high-end cameras in aquatic environments, providing a viable solution for capturing underwater moments with ease.

While the housing case impresses with its seamless assembly and integration, the associated app reveals limitations, particularly in areas with poor network connectivity- or lack thereof. Despite these setbacks, the device’s ability to streamline post-dive processes and facilitate effortless image access and sharing adds significant value to the overall experience.

Although the Oceanic+ Dive Housing boasts unmatched functionality, its premium price, coupled with an additional subscription fee, might dissuade some potential users. Furthermore, the app’s ongoing bug issues indicate the need for further refinement to ensure a smoother user experience.

The Oceanic+ Dive Housing is priced at US$489.95.



The Oceanic+ Dive Housing Case works well under pressure but flounders due to its app’s reliance on connectivity and persistent bugs, slightly dampening its full potential.

  • Aesthetics – 8/10

  • Build Quality – 9/10

  • Performance – 7/10

  • Value – 7/10

  • Geek Satisfaction – 7/10

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