I was blown away earlier this month when I went snorkeling and used my 4th generation iPod touch as my underwater camera. I expected the LifeProof case I put on would keep it dry, and it did. What I didn’t expect was how amazing the video I shot with it underwater would be. I mean, take a look at this footage shot underwater with an iPod touch!!
And if that is the quality you can get with a last generation iPod touch, then just imagine how amazing the images and videos would be if taken with an iPhone 5! Fortunately LifeProof has released a version of their amazing case for the latest and greatest iPhone. Better still, this case trumps the original design on pretty much every level. Let’s take a closer look.
The company is clearly proud of what they have been able to engineer into the new case. As they put it:
LifeProof, one better. The same yet different. In every way.
Everything you expect from LifeProof—sleek style, full device function, uncompromising design, and of course, the Four Proofs—is built into the iPhone 5 case. And, so much more. We made this one slimmer, sleeker, lighter, louder and stronger than any before.
This LifeProof frē case is thinner and lighter than the original case. As the same time it is also stronger. They even thought to include a vanity window that lets the Apple logo chine through. As an aside, I cannot help but wonder why they wold add another potential failure point into the case just to let the logo show. But hey, what do I know?
The case comes with three main parts. There is the back plate, the front plate, and the 3.5mm headphone jack adapter that lets you maintain a waterproof seal even when headphones are attached. And because the plug that covers the 3.5mm port on the iPhone is so very small, they supply an extra plug right on the headphone adapter cable.
The company water-tests each and every case. That’s important since the LifeProof frē is actually waterproof rather than merely being water-resistant. Still, as much as I trust the company it is worth taking the time to do the initial watertight testing they describe in the included material. It is a bit of a pain, but is worth the time to make sure everything is sealed.
Once you have made sure the seals are all intact you can put your iPhone inside. To do so simple remove the 3.5mm plug from the bottom (if you don’t, you will find it gets in the way of fully and easily inserting the iPhone and make sure all skins and screen protectors have been removed from your iPhone. (This part was a bummer since it meant removing the SGP GLAS.t screen protector, but it was a small price to pay…)
When everything is properly place, it is time to seal the case up. Take the bcd plate, place it on the front portion and slowly and carefully press the two together. (Note: this is one time when it really does pay to read and follow the direction as precisely as possible. After all it is YOUR iPhone that is at risk if you don’t.)
Once the iPhone is safely sealed inside the case you access the Lightning Adapter port by flipping this small cover down.
The change in dock connectors between the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 means this cover can be significantly smaller on the frē than it was on previous LifeProof cases.
It is rather amazing to me that the phone can be completely sealed inside, yet the sound flows into and from the iPhone with seemingly no degradation. I have read that some early versions suffered from some audio issues, but that has been remedied.
In fact, the company makes clear they put a great deal of time and effort into making sure the audio was as good as possible.
The LifeProof team has gotten a bit cocky with regard to their faith in the protective qualities of the LifeProof case. Thing is… they’ve got the goods to back up the claim! The LifeProof case offers remarkable protection without looking and feeling like you are carrying your iPhone in a brick.
They claim it is drop proof. And they mean it! For example, a year ago I was reviewing the LifeProof case for the iPhone 4S. In preparation for CES, I was in a T-Mobile store getting a SIM card for my MiFi. The clerk looked at my iPhone and asked, “Is that one of those LifeProof cases I’ve been hearing about?”
Much to her shock, I threw my iPhone across the store and, while it was still in mid-air, I replied, “I sure hope so!” I sold my iPhone 4S prior to the release of the iPhone 5; it was in pristine condition.
They claim it is watertight, and my iPod touch and my iPhone 4S spent time in water and lived to tell the tale.
And that was the old case. The iPhone 5 LifeProof frē case is even tougher than the original design while also being thinner and lighter. It is so much tinned and lighter in fact, that you won’t mind using it as your daily iPhone case. Seriously, it is that comfortable to hold and, although all the buttons are hidden beneath a protective layer, you don’t lose any sense of control over your phone. The same goes for the screen.
Unlike the Nuud case for the iPad which, amazingly, leaves the screen exposed even as the case protects the tablet from drops AND water, the LifeProof frē case covers the screen to make the phone waterproof. I have not, however, experienced even the slightest bit of degradation in the touch experience. It is weird. And surprising. And until you actually hold and use an iPhone in a LifeProof case, you can’t fully appreciate the engineering they worked into this case.
If it sounds like I am gushing about the LifeProof frē, it is because I am. Seriously, this case is an amazing piece of engineering, and it is the best case out there if you are looking for serious protection for your iPhone 5. A case that doesn’t add too much weight or bulk but turns your iPhone into an underwater camcorder? How freaking awesome is that??
I’m a fan. Get one, and you will be too! You can learn more and order yours here, on the LifeProof website.
What I Like: Thinner and lighter than ever; Lives up to its promise of protection; A relatively inexpensive “insurance policy” for your iPhone if you are prone to dropping it
What Needs Improvement: I’m anxious to see the release of the various color options for the LifeProof frē. They are on the way, but right now your choices are black or white/gray
Side note: My iPod touch did so well snorkeling in Aruba that I lent it to my friend Ross. At this very moment it is being used to record underwater video off the coast of Belize. How cool is that??
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample