Review: Hitcase PRO and TrueLUX Lens Bundle for iPhone X

 Side view of Hitcase Pro for iPhone X showing mounting rail. Photo ©2018, Steven Sande

Side view of Hitcase Pro for iPhone X showing mounting rail. Photo ©2018, Steven Sande

It's been a while since the iPhone X hit the market; now there's finally a waterproof case and lens system for the high-end Apple smartphone that meets the high standards set by the device. Canadian design firm Hitcase has released the Hitcase PRO waterproof case for iPhone X ($99.99) and is about to release its TrueLUX Lens Bundle for iPhone X ($99.99). Today we're taking a look at both the case and lens kit.

Design

First, let's start with the Hitcase PRO waterproof case. This is more than just a simple plastic waterproof case; it's really part of a full system that lets you keep the iPhone X waterproof up to 33 feet, drop-proof up to 16 feet, and connects to a number of action camera mounts.

The case is made out of aluminum and includes two "covers" that snap onto the front of the phone. The first is called the Aqua Shield, and it's for true waterproofing of your iPhone X. A plastic screen cover snaps onto the front of the case, sealing your iPhone behind a rugged O-ring. If you decide that you just need to keep the iPhone X from the occasional splash rather than a full dunking, you can opt for the Air Shield, which is just a rubber bumper that snaps to the back of the case and keeps your iPhone X screen completely open to the air.

Hitcase includes some other goodies with the Hitcase PRO; extra port plugs so you can keep water out of those ports even after losing one, a micro cleaning cloth, a detailed quick start guide, and even a special pass-through "sticker" that ensures that your iPhone X can use wireless charging while it's in the Hitcase PRO.

 The (dusty) back of the Hitcase PRO with the Wide Lens mounted. Photo ©2018, Steven Sande

The (dusty) back of the Hitcase PRO with the Wide Lens mounted. Photo ©2018, Steven Sande

But the real feature of the Hitcase PRO is that it can be used with a bunch of accessories, not the least of which are the screw mounted lenses. The TrueLUX Wide Lens is $39.99 by itself and provides a 111° field of view in photo mode or a 83.6° field of view when shooting video. The TrueLUX iPhone Lens Bundle begins shipping in a week or so; it consists of the Wide lens, a SuperWide, and a Macro lens. All lenses come with two lens caps -- one for each side of the lens -- and microfiber pouch bags that are also useful for cleaning smudges off of the lenses.

The Macro lens has one feature you're not going to find elsewhere -- it's waterproof, and that means that taking those amazing closeups of sea creatures with your iPhone X is now a possibility. 

Function

The Hitcase PRO is easy to install and remove, and for a totally waterproof case that's saying a lot. The iPhone X sits snugly in the back of the case, and then either the Aqua or Air Shield is pushed into place forming an airtight seal. Like most waterproof cases, Hitcase recommends testing the PRO before putting your iPhone X inside it to ensure that there are no leaks.

I found the Aqua Shield to be a bit too much protection for my needs, but it does work well with most of the touch features of the iPhone X as well as Face ID. In some locations on the screen, I found I had to touch just a bit harder to have the touch register on the phone. That wasn't the case with the Air Shield, which of course exposes the iPhone's screen to the air.

This case is very solid and I have no doubts that it could protect an iPhone X in a 16 foot drop (nope, I didn't test it...). There's a rail on the lower right side of the case that works with any of the mounts that Hitcase makes: the TiltR Tripod Mount ($19.99), the ChestR Mount ($49.99, a chest mount for sports), the Mini SuckR Mount ($34.99, excellent for mounting on a flat surface), the TubulR Mount ($24.99, for mounting on bike handlebars), the full sized SuckR Mount (also $34.99), the MotoR Mount ($34.99, for motorcycle handlebars), and the StickR Mount ($24.99, perfect for mounting your iPhone X on a helmet). 

The one thing I really wanted to test, though, were the lenses. I have not been impressed with most of the iPhone accessory lenses I've tested over the years, as most of them cause distortion and vignetting in the corners of the photos. The first photo in the slideshow below is taken with the standard iPhone X lens, the second with the Wide Lens, the third with the SuperWide Lens, and the last with the Macro lens.

These are the first iPhone accessory lenses I've ever tested that do not cause vignetting in the corners of the images. Normally those corners will be noticeably darker than the center; that doesn't happen with these lenses. I did find the SuperWide Lens, which of course has quite a bit of barrel distortion due to the field of view, to be sharper than the Wide lens across the entire field of view. If you take a look at the pink flowers in the lower right side of the Wide lens photos, you'll notice some out of focus areas. The SuperWide was sharper, except in the extreme corners of the images.

The lack of vignetting is really quite remarkable; the focus issues outside of the center of the Wide lens image are somewhat par for the course with accessory lenses. If I was going to get just one of these lenses, I think I'd pick the SuperWide.

Conclusion

I was very impressed with both the Hitcase PRO and the lenses. I'm used to seeing distortion around the edges of some of these wide and super-wide angle lenses, so that doesn't bother me. It's the lack of vignetting that I find to be a standout feature of the TrueLUX lenses. If you do any outside active sports and need a case that's going to stand up to drops and the occasional dunking, spend the premium price and get the Hitcase PRO for iPhone X -- it's definitely worth it.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★

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