Best Smartphone Housings for Snorkeling

If you want to use your smartphone while snorkeling to get some good pictures, and are looking for the best smartphone housings for snorkeling, there are really only two good options right now that we like. That may sound surprising, because Amazon has tons of options for waterproof cases for your phone that are cheap. And there are also a number of really expensive dive housings available. But you really don’t want to go cheap with your expensive phone, and all the important data and pictures you have on it. And there are good reasons relating to battery life, specific to snorkeling, to not get one of the higher end dive housings as well.

We think using your smartphone as a snorkeling camera is a good idea, and honestly it is becoming one of the few somewhat affordable options available, because smartphone sales have obliterated the compact camera market. Who needs a compact camera anymore, when the cameras on iPhones, Samsung Galaxy phones, and Google Pixel phones are so good? There are hardly any affordable compact cameras with available housings anymore.

Best smartphone housings for snorkeling, DIVEVOLK SeaTouch 4 Max

You Want an Underwater Smartphone Housing Made for Photography

First, don’t buy some cheap waterproof case for your phone, just because it costs less than the two already affordable options we suggest below. You don’t want to risk your expensive phone, and losing all of your trip information and pictures when it floods and destroys your phone. Snorkeling is hard on camera cases. You want something really well designed, with taking pictures as the purpose of the housing.

Avoid Bluetooth Connected Housings

Most of the more expensive housings made for divers, use Bluetooth to connect to your phone and to control it. Those housings have a built-in computer and their own battery, and they control your phone wirelessly using buttons on the housing. You also have to download and use their proprietary app to control the camera underwater.

There are two problems with this for a snorkeler.

First, the apps and housing buttons limit how you can control your camera settings. And some phone manufacturers have locked camera features that third party apps are not given access to. To get the best out of your smartphone while taking pictures snorkeling, you want full control of all the photography settings.

Second, having a computer in the housing, and using Bluetooth to control your phone, is a real battery drain. You may only get an hour of battery life on your phone. That may be fine for divers. But snorkelers are often in the water for much longer than an hour at a time, and may get back in the water many times in a day. The touchscreen option we recommend below, have no electronics in the housing, and control your camera using either the touch screen or the buttons on your phone, so your battery will last as long as it normally would when out taking pictures.

Why use a housing that has a built-in computer and sucks battery, and that provides less control of your camera, at a much higher price?

Our Favorite Two Smartphone Housings for Snorkeling

ProShot – For iPhones Only

Proshot iPhone smartphone housing
Our pick in this category.

For many years we have recommended the very affordable ProShot cases for iPhones. ProShot cases do require you to download their app. And with the app you will control the camera settings using the physical buttons on your iPhone. So battery life is good, and there is no computer in the housing.

They make specific housings for the different models of iPhone, or they also have a universal housing that fits all iPhones. That one allows touch screen functionality when out of the water, but still requires the use of your physical buttons when taking pictures underwater.

Read our complete review of the ProShot for iPhone here, and find a 20% off coupon for our readers.

DIVEVOLK – Full Touch Screen Underwater for Nearly All Smartphones

DiveVolk SeaTouch 4 Max housing.
Our pick in this category.

The DIVEVOLK SeaTouch 4 Max is a very high quality housing, that is both robust and simple to use, and still fairly affordable. It is unique in that it has a touch screen membrane that allows you to use your smartphone’s touch screen underwater, giving full control over your camera. So the housing does not have a built-in computer, and does not eat your phone battery through a Bluetooth connection. And no special app is required.

Another nice feature of this housing is that there are no buttons. And the opening for putting the phone is small, at the top. So this housing has about the least chance of leaking of any camera housing we have ever seen.

Door opening on the Divevolk housing.

This housing is also very easy to hold, thanks to nice hand grips.

Another really cool feature about being able to use your touch screen underwater is that you can use any other app on your phone. You might want to type a quick note underwater to note what you have seen, look at a fish ID guide, or try different photography apps or filters, check your direction with a compass, set a timer, and even make an emergency call at the surface.

You can also connect your phone with other devices and cameras, like a GoPro or other camera, to use your phone as a larger screen. You can even listen to music via wireless waterproof earbuds, although we don’t recommend it.

DIVEVOLK 6% Discount Using Links Below
Note that you will receive a 6% discount at checkout on DiveVolk’s website when you use the links below. We may also make a commission when you use these affiliate links, so thanks!

DIVEVOLK Models Explained
There are two versions of this housing, the DIVEVOLK SeaTouch 4 Max at $230 and the DIVEVOLK SeaTouch 4 Max Platinum at $500. The only real difference between these two is that standard version is plastic and the Platinum version is made from aluminum (not platinum). The Platinum version includes an accessory lens arm that bolts on, and a 1/4″ tripod mount on the bottom.

DiveVolk smartphone housing with accessory lens attachment.

Both versions work with nearly any smartphone, so long as you have the correct adapter tray. They come with a number of iPhone adapter trays for different iPhones. And they can also provide a tray for nearly any other smartphone, including most Samsung Galaxy smartphones, Google Pixel smartphones, and many other popular brands. They can even custom 3D-print a phone adapter for your specific phone if they don’t have yours in stock.

The accessory lens and filter attachments are affordable and would make a nice addition. The accessory lenses are all wet lenses, meaning you can easily change them in the water. The plastic model can also use the different lens and filter options. You just have to purchase the special clamp adapter arm. They also have lots of handle and lighting accessories available if you desire.

If you think you might want some of the accessories, they offer housing kits here.

DIVEVOLK Cons

There are some limitations to the DIVEVOLK housings. The touch screen is not as responsive as your phone is, but it is still very usable. On iPhones, you can’t use the cinematic mode or pro-res mode in your camera. On all smartphones, you must remove any screen protectors, to prevent damage to the internal membrane, and so that all touch functions work. The screws on the housing can be a bit hard on the fingers. Facial recognition does not work inside the housing.

You have to setup your phone so that you can turn it on with the screen, and set it to stay on when you want it to. Remember, once the phone is in the housing you will not have access to any physical buttons on it.

Finally, the quality of the pictures are only going to be good as the quality of your smartphone camera, and how well the computer or AI manages colors underwater. Additionally, like nearly all other lenses that use a flat port underwater, we have seen that the images tend to be rather soft and less focused the further away from the center you get. The Wide Angle adapter lens may help somewhat with this.

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