An IP68 rated OEM solution to preventing water damage for the HTC One M9.
Some of us are milking the Uh-Oh protection that was promised with the purchase of our HTC One M9, but I'm all about testing the options when it comes to cases and covers. HTC has crafted their own Active Waterproof Case for the M9 featuring 2 polycarbonate pieces that snap around the phone, sealing it safely inside from water, dirt, and other debris. Although its design is somewhat rugged, it manages to stay slim compared to many other cases for the HTC One M9 we've had our hands on.
The front shell packs a built-in screen protector that's certainly thick enough to shield against common abrasions, and provides accurate touchscreen use while protected. HTC was smart to design the case around the front stereo speakers as well, using a miniature screen behind the shell to keep water from getting in.
The front and back cameras are also protected using an anti-reflective clear plastic that keeps photos crisp and clear (as possible). There's an O-ring inside the front of the case and some additional waterproof membranes on the bottom shell that most certainly play a part in its waterproof construction.
Covering up the auxiliary and charging ports is a rubber seal that fits into a matching clear plastic. While this addition does a good job at keeping out the elements, it also limits what chargers and audio cables you can use with the Active Waterproof Case on — depending on the thickness of the plug. Since HTC doesn't include a 3.5mm extension, that may be something to consider prior to purchasing.
Let's talk about the grip that this case provides, because it's that good. Despite the fact that the case is 90% clear plastic, the rubber coated edges do a great job of enhancing your hold on the M9 — wet or dry. The side buttons are covered with rubber buttons that make for an easier press, too. There wasn't a single time that I had to question my grip around the phone with the Active Waterproof Case on, so hats off to HTC there. The clear plastic on the back is truly identical to that we've seen on the HTC Clear Hard Shell Case. It's not super-scratch resistant, but it also doesn't show off those imperfections and fingerprints too badly.
Included with the HTC Active Waterproof Case is a sheet of water testing paper that you're encouraged to use before actually putting your M9 inside. Once it's sealed inside, proceed with your waterproof test, and check it if comes out with green edges. If so, you've either not sealed the case properly or you're the lucky winner of a manufacturer defect. I had no issue with mine, but good on HTC for providing some quality control here.
After numerous water tests, it's clear that the HTC Active Waterproof Case for the M9 does its job of keeping the phone dry. It's designed to handle pretty much anything you throw at it, and doesn't bulk up the device too badly. Obviously this wouldn't be the day-to-day case for most people, unless your occupation calls for a cover of this protection level. Bottom line: If you're after waterproof, this is a valid OEM option.