I’ve had good luck with my iPhones since the very start. While I have had to have almost every one replaced at some point it has never been the result of physical damage. Yeah, I know, now that I wrote that my iPhone will get crushed within the next week. Still, since my iPhone comes with me everywhere, it makes sense to think about really protecting it. There are a lot of heavy-duty cases available for the iPhone already but most of them are pretty bulky. Take, for example, the Case-Mate Tank we reviewed ($41 through our NGD affiliate store)or the Speck MightyVault we also reviewed( ). They offer a good bit of protection but they are big, heavy and bulky. In other words, in addition to being a huge case both are a huge tradeoff.
What if you could have a highly protective case that wasn’t a tradeoff? What if you could have crush and bump protection in a case that is thin and light? And what if that case was not only crush and bump protective but was also WATER, SNOW and DUST protective. Yes, what if you could have a thin and light case that you could take swimming AND it wasn’t a huge bulky case? That’s what the LifeProof case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S claims to be.
I’ve been giving one a run for its money for the last month so lets take a look at it, including a video that starts with the LifeProof-recommended water-torture test.
The LifeProof Hype:
Experience the freedom to surf, sing in the shower, ski, snowboard, work on construction sites and have true mobile freedom anywhere you go! Your LifeProof™ everyday case for iPhone 4 or 4S is sleek, refined, convenient and unobtrusive.
Protection: Protects against every-day hazards—full IP-68 rating against water and dust, and designed to Military Specifications
High degree of shock and impact protection—tested to Military Specifications MIL-STD-810F-516.5 (2 meters/6.6ft drop on all surfaces and edges. 26 tests)
Fully sealed protection against minute dust particles
Includes bonus General User Headphone Adaptor and Keeper for headphone jack cover
Ability to swim and take underwater (2 meters/6.6ft depth). Optional Swimming Headphone Adapter allows use of waterproof headphones underwater
Mil-Spec protection that allows you to go anywhere, anytime, and do anything with carefree freedom
Beauty: Ultra-slim and adds only 1/16” (1.5mm) when measured from the center of the phone
Convenience: Weighs less than an ounce (28g). Unique combination of materials that will not stick to your pocket. Compatible with all iPhone 4′s and 4S’s (International, AT&T and Verizon).
Full Functionality: Double AR-coated optical glass lenses provide unprecedented crystal-clear photo and video quality. All phone features are operational while maintaining a high level of protection. Improves the bass and mid-frequency speaker response by utilizing the back of the case as a sub-woofer for a richer, fuller sound.
The Gear Diary Experience:
The case is everything they advertise and more. Seriously. It is thin and light. It is comfortable to hold and use. The screen is completely covered but there is very little loss of touch sensitivity. The thing is waterproof. W.A.T.E.R.P.R.O.O.F! Seriously. And while I did not take the case into the water with me when the iPhone was in it, I did follow their recommendation to first test the waterproof quality of the review sample. That’s where this video review picks up…
It really is hard to believe that a case can be waterproof, crushproof, snow and dustproof and still be as thin, light and good-looking as this but it is. It doesn’t LOOK like any heavy-duty case we have seen, yet it actually offers MORE protection than anything we’ve tried. Does it sound like I’m gushing? Good, because I am. The case deserves it.
As you can see from the back, the case even looks somewhat refined.
Yes, needing to use the headphone adapter is a bit of a drag. I can see the optional waterproof adapter being useful with, for example, the Monster iSport waterproof headphones we took for a swim ($99.99 through our NGD affiliate store) but for everyday use, the LifeProof case’s best friend is a pair of Bluetooth headphones like the Jabra Sports we reviewed ($86.99 affiliate link).
Another thing that is a bit of a drag is the dock connector which is quite recessed in the case. This is, of course, a necessary evil since the company needed to make a system that could keep the elements out but it means you have to seriously think about what cables you will use with the LifeProof case in advance. Some 3rd-party cables won’t fit. And think seriously about whether you want this case if you tend to dock your iPhone into a speaker system. Without a dock extender it isn’t happening. If, however, like me you use a Sonos system at home and a Bluetooth speaker like the AltecLansing InMotion Air we reviewed ($179.88 affiliate link) you will be set.
In short, the LifeProof case for the iPhone 4/4S is an amazing product. For some it may be overkill but, thanks to it being so light and thin, it can easily be a daily driver iPhone case. That’s a good thing because the company makes it rather clear that this is not a good case for someone who likes to change their iPhone protection on a regular basis. This is a “put it on and leave it on” case and, thanks to its design, that’s more than a bit doable.
What I Like: Thin, light and remarkably protective; Screen sees little touch-sensitivity lost when in the case; Waterproof!!; Some nice accessories on the way that work with the case
What Needs Improvement: Headphone and dock are recessed enough that some accessories will not work; This is a case to put on your iPhone and leave on and is therefore not for people who frequently change cases