LifeProof iPhone Case: Protecting Against Water, Dirt, Snow and Shock

by June 4, 2012 06/4/12
LifeProof iPhone Case

When I first heard about the LifeProof case, I was hesitant to believe the hype surrounding it, but anxious to try one out for myself. I’d been wanting something that protected my iPhone from not just the daily abuse and pocket lint, but insured my investment against tragedies like I’m about to explain.

Around a year ago I was checking email first thing in the morning, standing over the toilet, when my still asleep fingers dropped my iPhone into the water like a depth charge. I then did what any self-respecting individual would do when they drop a four hundred dollar electronic device into the toilet. I grabbed it as fast as I could, gave it a quick rinse and tried to do what I could to dry it out.

Get rid of that scowl, you know you’d do the same thing! While it did function for a few weeks afterwards, I vowed to protect my replacement phone a little better and also not to take my iPhone anywhere near the toilet. I’ve since found the LifeProof case and have great things to say about it, so let’s get right into the review.

LifeProof iPhone Case

The LifeProof case is made of a tough polycarbonate frame and shock absorbing elastomer for a high degree of shock and impact protection. A benefit (or a downside) to the polycarbonate is that it doesn’t grip. This means that it slides in and out of a pocket easily, but definitely moves around on the dash of a vehicle.

Utilizing a clamshell like design, the two halves of the case snap together between a thin rubber gasket, which keeps the case sealed and the water, dirt and debris out. I’ve noticed in the time that I’ve had my LifeProof case, the bottom is starting to bow out on either side. Particularly around the notch cutout that allows you to get a finger in to start breaking the seal to open the case up. I’m hoping that this doesn’t start to effect the waterproofness of the case, but it hasn’t so far.

LifeProof iPhone Case
LifeProof iPhone Case
LifeProof iPhone Case
LifeProof iPhone Case

 Speaking of which, as you’ll see in the video review above, I’ve taken my iPhone swimming at the bottom of an 8 ft. pool to further test the waterproofness. LifeProof states that you can swim and take it underwater up to 2m (6.6 ft.) and I even recorded video underwater as well. I was able to utilize all the functionality of the iPhone while underwater, including pushing buttons and even recording sound.

I’ve also tested the ruggedness of the case by dropping it on concrete from waist height a few times and it came out unscathed. The lens over the iPhone’s camera is actually double AR coated glass to ensure your photos aren’t degraded. The screen protector is mostly scratch resistant as well and allows you to utilize multitouch gestures easily.

LifeProof iPhone Case
LifeProof iPhone Case
LifeProof iPhone Case

I have had some issues with the screen though. There’s an oil-slick looking formation that can show up through repeated use, but I’ve noticed that if you squeeze the sides of the case it disappears. I’ve also accidentally depressed the button on the iPhone while it’s in my pocket. This occurs while crouching over and activates the voice control on an iPhone 4 and Siri on an iPhone 4s. I found that if I put my iPhone in my front pocket with the screen facing out this issue doesn’t seem to occur much at all. I believe it stems from the button being raised on the screen protector.

LifeProof iPhone Case
LifeProof iPhone Case

A few last things to note on the LifeProof case are the headphone adapter and the fit of the charger. The included headphone adapter is necessary to install if you use headphones, as a standard headphone jack won’t reach the depth needed on the LifeProof case to plug in. It’s understandable that the adapter is needed, but a pain sometimes when you want to plug in headphones. A nice feature of the adapter is that there’s a spare headphone jack cover clipped on to it, which is good if you happen to lose the one you unscrewed to plug in headphones.

LifeProof iPhone Case
LifeProof iPhone Case
LifeProof iPhone Case
LifeProof iPhone Case

Standard iPhone chargers will fit though the charger port cover, so there’s no reason to take the case off to charge. A caveat to this is that the old style iPhone charger cables are a tough fit, these are the kind with the locking tabs that require a press to the sides to release it. You also won’t be able to use any kind of dock with the LifeProof case. I’ve also noticed the sound is better if you flip open the charger port, but pretty good overall even if it’s closed. It’s kind of neat to listen to music underwater too.

Some accessories that LifeProof now offers are the swimming headphone adapter to mate with H2O waterproof headphones for a completely waterproof listening experience. You can also pick up an armband or belt clip to keep your case on you while swimming.

In all I have to say I’m very impressed with the LifeProof case for my iPhone and wouldn’t hesitate recommending them with the caveats I’ve listed above. The LifeProof case for iPhone retails on their Website for 79.99, but you can pick one up here on Amazon for around $57.

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AM_TAC
AM_TAC

Just scooped one of these up with my iPhone5 yesterday. So far I'm impressed with the case. Take a little getting used to but feels rugged and secure without the over bulkyness.

Devin
Devin

Where would I get a replacement if i lost the covers to the top and bottom of the LifeProof iPhone Case?

Taylor McNamee
Taylor McNamee

I bought one of these right before hurricane Issac hit to protect my 4s. It worked great. Definately protected my phone from water. However, I never dropped it. When I got back from hurricane relief, I sold the thing to a co-worker for an easy $40. I tested the case, and appropriately installed it for him. He dropped it the next day on a vinyl surface with wood flooring underneath, seriously shattering the screen. I took a look at it the next day. It seemed to me that it was still correctly installed. I don't know if he took off the case (he said he didn't) or altered it in anyway. Lifeproof will only ONLY cover the cost of replacing a defective Lifeproof case if your phone is damaged in any way. Which is great, but why would you put your broken, newly repaired phone right back in a Lifeproof case after it's "Shock Proof" Claims have failed you? The incident has simply reminded me to take every "quality/proof" claim with a grain of salt. I bought into the Lifeproof hype, and it nearly burned me. I wouldn't wish the same on anyone.

Bottom line, it seems to work for some and not for others.

"Caveat emptor".

Taylor McNamee
Taylor McNamee

I bought one of these right before hurricane Issac hit to protect my 4s. It worked great. Definately protected my phone from water. However, I never dropped it. When I got back from hurricane relief, I sold the thing to a co-worker for an easy $40. I tested the case, and appropriately installed it for him. He dropped it the next day on a vinyl surface with wood flooring underneath, seriously shattering the screen. I took a look at it the next day. It seemed to me that it was still correctly installed. I don't know if he took off the case (he said he didn't) or altered it in anyway. Lifeproof will only ONLY cover the cost of replacing a defective Lifeproof case if your phone is damaged in any way. Which is great, but why would you put your broken, newly repaired phone right back in a Lifeproof case after it's "Shock Proof" Claims have failed you? The incident has simply reminded me to take every "quality/proof" claim with a grain of salt. I bought into the Lifeproof hype, and it nearly burned me. I wouldn't wish the same on anyone. Bottom line, it seems to work for some and not for others. "Caveat emptor".

Hammer0
Hammer0

I use Lifeproof and I don't have any problems. I dropped it on the ground many times on bike and snowboard, and it is still working 100% in mud, rain and snow. I don't know how it works in deep water, but filming girls in swimming pool – no problem.

For compering and calculating prices (with transport, taxes…) I found this useful page: http://lifeproofcases.bike-park-slovenia.com/where-can-i-buy-lifeproof-case/ .

Some of you guys have problems, but for me, it is working as I expected.

Hammer0
Hammer0

I use Lifeproof and I don't have any problems. I dropped it on the ground many times on bike and snowboard, and it is still working 100% in mud, rain and snow. I don't know how it works in deep water, but filming girls in swimming pool – no problem. For compering and calculating prices (with transport, taxes…) I found this useful page: http://lifeproofcases.bike-park-slovenia.com/where-can-i-buy-lifeproof-case/ . Some of you guys have problems, but for me, it is working as I expected.

Lien
Lien

Does it work? I might get one soon when I get me iPhone 4S my first time get iPhone 4S this year. Bc I never have one yet.. So, how much cost for the case? I least $2.99 to $ 10.99?

S
S

I just bought a Lifeproof case, and noticed that the plastic on the inside of the case is quite sharp. Any chance of it scratching the front, back, or sides of the phone?

Datajockeys
Datajockeys

I am a big fan of the Otterbox Defender series. If you are going to be around water, get a Pelican case as a temporary safe haven. To replace the iPhone 5 64Gb will cost over $800! ..so don't be cheap with the protection.

Mary Collins
Mary Collins

Hi! I am just about to get my new iPhone 4 and I kinda have a history of dropping and breaking iPods and phones. I get that the case protects against water, dirt, snow and shock, but does it protect my phone for when I drop it like my Otterbox does?

Raied
Raied

I purchased this case with my new iPhone. Did everything as per instructional video and did the water test for two hours. Installed the phone and never opened it till yesterday. After a day on the beach, where I used the phone to take some videos and pictures returned to the hotel and discovered that the phone is not working. Carefully opened the case and discovered that there were some moisture inside and the phone is dead.

I think the case is nice but it is not waterproof as advertised.

It can handle a light splash of water or wet hands. But not more than that.

Raied
Raied

I purchased this case with my new iPhone. Did everything as per instructional video and did the water test for two hours. Installed the phone and never opened it till yesterday. After a day on the beach, where I used the phone to take some videos and pictures returned to the hotel and discovered that the phone is not working. Carefully opened the case and discovered that there were some moisture inside and the phone is dead. I think the case is nice but it is not waterproof as advertised. It can handle a light splash of water or wet hands. But not more than that.

pete shrock
pete shrock

Wish i had been paying more attention to ITS and I would have found out about this case a little sooner. Looking forward to getting the swimmer adapter and underwater earbuds to make laps more enjoyable

Andy Jacobs
Andy Jacobs

Oh, and I forgot to ask, does this mean you've ditched your Magpul Executive case?

Andy Jacobs
Andy Jacobs

Bryan, thanks--great review and pics as always. I'm seriously considering investing in one of these because I will be spending a lot of time around the pool this summer.

One thing that I keep reading about these cases is that people on the other end your phone conversation have a difficult time hearing you. Have you found this to be true?

Andy Jacobs
Andy Jacobs

Bryan, thanks--great review and pics as always. I'm seriously considering investing in one of these because I will be spending a lot of time around the pool this summer. One thing that I keep reading about these cases is that people on the other end your phone conversation have a difficult time hearing you. Have you found this to be true?

Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown

my brother has one of these. went out to whitesands and actualy droped it in the sand, and if any of you have been out to whitesands you know it's almost powderlike and would probably destroy any electronics that it gets into.

Frankie
Frankie

Great article. I actually use this case and have for several months. My Iphone has taken several falls since then and has survived with no damage.

Mufasa
Mufasa

Actually, lifeproof has their own holsters, I have one and they are far nicer than the Otterbox Defender holsters:

http://www.lifeproof.com/shop/accessories/mounts/

On a separate note, I hate that headphone adapter, I think it is a terrible design decision. However, if you use the original Apple earphones, they fit in just fine without the adapters.

Mufasa
Mufasa

Actually, lifeproof has their own holsters, I have one and they are far nicer than the Otterbox Defender holsters: http://www.lifeproof.com/shop/accessories/mounts/ On a separate note, I hate that headphone adapter, I think it is a terrible design decision. However, if you use the original Apple earphones, they fit in just fine without the adapters.

Jeff Chan
Jeff Chan

Hey Brian,

First of all, a great review. I was actually looking at this case shortly after I got my iPhone. I want to point out a couple things though that may help the community:

I tweeted a response regarding using baby powder on the screen protector. You can see what I'm talking about here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im7vvblnzoY

For those that want a holster for this case, BLADE-TECH makes one now, as seen here: http://www.blade-tech.com/iPhone-Holster-for-iphone-4-pr-1353.html

I'm using the Go Ballistic Hard Core case: http://www.goballisticcase.com/products/iphone-4-4s-ballistic-hc-series-case - The screen cover doesnt affect the typing at all; but it isn't waterproof..

Thanks for the review!

Jeff Chan
Jeff Chan

Hey Brian, First of all, a great review. I was actually looking at this case shortly after I got my iPhone. I want to point out a couple things though that may help the community: I tweeted a response regarding using baby powder on the screen protector. You can see what I'm talking about here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im7vvblnzoY For those that want a holster for this case, BLADE-TECH makes one now, as seen here: http://www.blade-tech.com/iPhone-Holster-for-iphone-4-pr-1353.html I'm using the Go Ballistic Hard Core case: http://www.goballisticcase.com/products/iphone-4-4s-ballistic-hc-series-case - The screen cover doesnt affect the typing at all; but it isn't waterproof.. Thanks for the review!

Chris
Chris

Would that work with the Otterbox Defender belt clip?

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Thanks for sharing your feedback, just make sure you do the waterproof test without your phone first to ensure there's no leaks.

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