Joby SeaPal is a waterproof case for your smartphone
The Joby Seapal was officially unveiled in December 2023, but it was a very quiet launch. That’s probably because the unit hasn’t been available until now. It’s still out of stock in some regions, but it’s popping up at retailers.
It’s essentially an underwater housing for your smartphone. But it’s one designed specifically for shooting photos and videos underwater. It looks to offer a lot of versatility for underwater filmmakers.
Joby SeaPal – Your smartphone’s underwater pal
Many phones are coming with some degree of waterproofing these days, but you can’t always rely on it. Smartphone touchscreens also tend not to work too well underwater, either. In fact, they usually completely wig out even if you have just a drop of water on your fingertip.
That’s not the case (no pun intended) with the Joby SeaPal. This underwater case provides full touchscreen capabilities to your phone while protecting it from water ingress for long periods. It allows you a great view of your entire screen while protecting the lens.
You can even attach a handle to the bottom of it to provide easier one-handed operation. Or, perhaps equally as useful, attach lights to the top of it to help your phone see its way through the murky depths. It’s an interesting rig that lets you mimic some of the underwater action camera rigs we’ve seen since GoPro and Insta360 became waterproof.
If your smartphone is one of these…
The Joby SeaPal a one-size unit designed for use with multiple phones. While this makes any phone hypothetically compatible, size and design are going to play an important factor. If your phone’s too big, it won’t fit. If it’s too small, it won’t hold it. Perhaps your cameras aren’t in the corner of the phone, etc.
Joby does have a list of named compatible devices, but I suspect that anything reasonably close to these in size and camera position should work, but do some checking first to be sure.
- iPhone 15 / 15 Plus / 15 Pro / 15 Pro Max
- iPhone 14 / 14 Plus / 14 Pro / 14 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 / 13 Pro / 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 / 12 Pro / 12 Pro Max
- Samsung Galaxy S23 / S23+ / S23 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S22 / S22+ / S22 Ultra
Again, I expect it will work with other devices because there’s no actual connection to anything that I can see.
And there don’t appear to be any button pass-throughs for phones that have buttons in specific spots. There is a Bluetooth connection if you buy the optional grip accessory. The trigger on the grip lets you shoot a photo or start/stop recording video like a standard Bluetooth trigger.
So, it will probably work with other models, too, but do some Googling first if yours isn’t on the above list, just in case somebody else has experienced issues with it.
Not the first, won’t be the last
The Joby SeaPal isn’t the first underwater smartphone case aimed at photographers and filmmakers. In 2019, we had the Diveroid. After a successful Kickstarter, however, the company appears to have suddenly stop shipping out products or providing upates.
Before that, in 2018, we had the AquaTech AxisGo system. This proved to be quite a popular system and AquaTech is still going strong today. In fact, Joby teamed up with AquaTech to develop the SeaPal. Aquatech has a long history of making waterproof housings for cameras, so I expect the SeaPal should meet high standards.
If you want to go ultra-low-budget, however, you can always try recycling your kitchenware.
Price and Availability
The Joby SeaPal is available to buy now for $239.95. It has now started shipping and retailers have them in stock. They’re still showing “out of stock” on the Joby UK website yet, though. The Bluetooth grip handle is available for an additional $159.95.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.