LifeProof iPhone Case

Manufacturer Description

Refined. Convenient. Unobtrusive.

LifeProof gives you the freedom to make your iPhone your constant companion – so get your case on and Let’s Go!

Features

  • Protection – full IP-68 rating against water and dust, and designed to Military Specifications
  • Waterproof seals on all ports and openings
  • Polycarbonate frame absorbs impacts
  • Shock-absorbing elastomeric liner-layer
  • Freedom – ability to swim and take to a depth of 2 meters (6.6 ft)
  • Convenience – weighs less than 29.8 g (1.05 oz) and a unique combination of materials will not stick to your pocket
  • Full Functionality – Double AR-coated optical glass lenses provide unprecedented crystal-clear photo and video quality
  • Scratch-resistant and waterproof screen protector
  • Beauty – Ultra-slim and adds only 1.5 mm (0.06 in) when measured from the center of the phone
  • Comes in 11 colors
  • Measured weight – 28 g (1.0 oz)
  • Dimensions – 129 mm tall x 66 mm wide x 13.3 mm deep (5.1 x 2.6 x 0.5 in)
  • Retail – $80

YMMV Review

When testing gear for YMMV Reviews, I put my phone through a lot. Whether it is getting up in the mountains or searching out some rain and mud to test some trail running gear. One thing that is always nice to have on me is my phone. One thing I have found to be a necessity is giving some protection on these days. This is where the LifeProof Case comes in. It is made to protect your phone form nearly everything. It the last couple Outdoor Retailer Shows I have seen these all over but never got my hands on one until recently.

Testing

Open Case - Click to See Larger

Open Case – Click to See Larger

I have an iPhone 4, so I got one that was made to fit my phone.  They offer several different sizes so this makes it easy. I used the case like you would use any other cell phone case. The only difference is that with this case, you do not have to worry as much about the elements. I will get into that.

Design ★★★½☆

Appearance (10%) ★★★½☆

Construction (40%) ★★★★☆

Materials (20%) ★★★½☆

Sustainability (10%) ☆☆☆☆☆

Weight (20%) ★★★☆☆

LifeProof makes its cases to protect your devices from water, dust, and hard knocks. LifeProof says there are four proofs:

  1. Water Proof – fully submergible down to 2 meters (6.6 feet) for up to one hour
  2. Dirt Proof – Totally sealed from minute dirt and dust particles
  3. Snow Proof – Fully enclosed to keep melting sleet, snow, and ice out
  4. Shock Proof – Designed to military specifications to survive a 2 meter (6.6 feet) drop

    Usable Buttons - Click to See Larger

    Usable Buttons – Click to See Larger

The case has been built to IP-68 protection standards for water and dust. The first characteristic number describes the protection from solid foreign objects. An enclosure with a characteristic number of 6 can withstand exposure to circulating talcum powder for eight hours with no dust ingress after that period. The second characteristic number describes the protection against water. An enclosure with a characteristic number of 8 exceeds all other water protection levels and is specified by the manufacturer. For LifeProof, number 8 signifies LifeProof cases will withstand immersion in water to a depth of 6.6 feet / 2 meters for one hour.

The case is also made to Military Standard 810F-516. MIL STD 810F is the standard that addresses a broad range of environmental conditions, with MIL STD 810F-516 being the section of the standard that is specific to functional drop. This standard requires that the item can physically and functionally withstand the relatively infrequent, non-repetitive shocks encountered in handling, transportation, and service environments. This may include an assessment of the overall material system integrity for safety purposes in any one or all of the handling, transportation, and service environments.

Jack Plug - Click to See Larger

Jack Plug – Click to See Larger

The case is two parts that snap together with your phone in the middle to protect it. It has a lens to allow you to take pictures and innovative openings to allow the microphone and speakers to be used. These keep water and dust out while still letting noise pass through. At the bottom, there is a flap that can be open to allow for charging and hooking into your computer. This flap when shut is sealed, keeping everything out. For the headphone port, there is a screw in plug that keeps the system sealed. Since the phone is in a thicker case, it makes it so regular headphone jacks might not fit as well. For this issue LifeProof has included their own sealed headphone extender. The case makes sure to allow use of all your iPhone’s features while protecting it. All buttons, switches, and even the touch screen are able to be used.

LifeProof makes a variety of different accessories that can be used with the case. These include accessories such as a float cases, bike adapters, arm bands, suction cup mounts, belt clip, and even a rolling dolly for moving video. While I have not tried most of the accessories, I did test the case with the bike mount on my commutes.

Looking into the actual materials used in making the case, I was not able to find much information. This leads me to believe that the materials are most likely not from sustainable sources. Most companies like to highlight that.

Audio Cable - Click to See Larger

Audio Cable – Click to See Larger

Fit ★★★☆☆

Device Fit (50%) ★★★½☆

Overall Size (50%) ★★½☆☆

I have an iPhone 4, so I of course tested the appropriate case. It does take a bit of work to get the phone in the case and sealed, but this is for good reason. You want it to be tight, and it certainly is. The only thing that I noticed about the cases is that they are only for Apple devices. Currently, they do not have any for any other Smartphones, which is disappointing figuring how much I am seeing out there these days. On the other hand, they do also make iPad cases, which is pretty cool. I do not have an iPad, but if I did I am sure I would like to take it on some trips and having a case like this would be a must.

My biggest problem I have with cases in general is the added bulk they add. I already think the iPhone 4 is big, and the newer Samsung’s and iPhone 5 are just too big for my taste. I cannot say that the case is not small but for all the protection, it is not as big as one would expect. I personally find most cases not necessary for my everyday use, but for certain circumstances they are almost required. When getting out in the elements, those are the times I like to have a good case for my phone, even if it is a bit big. =) That was also the issue I had when using the case on the bike. The mount worked well, but it was a really large to be used as a bike computer. I will add that it was stable and effective. Good enough for commuting but I do not think I would use it on any of my other bikes.

Phone Inside - Click to See Larger

Phone Inside – Click to See Larger

Performance ★★★★☆

Clarity (20%) ★★★☆☆

Durability (20%) ★★★½☆

Ease of Use (10%) ★★★☆☆

Protection (20%) ★★★★½

Water Resistance (30%) ★★★★½

So I may have dogged on the size of the case a little bit, but I can’t say much negative about the performance of the case. I have to admit now that I was not brave enough to drop my phone on concrete or submerge it in water. I am going to just have to trust that it would survive. I have seen some demonstrations in their booth, and that was enough for me. That being said the case has held up well through all my use. I am not terribly hard on my phone, maybe I should have let my mom test it, now she is tough on phones. The included headphone extension works well, but it is one more thing to not lose. The same goes for the plug if you choose to pull it out. I could see those being lost rather easily. If you do want to use your headphones and keep the system sealed there is no real way around it. LifeProof does give you an extra one, which is cool.

Using my phone while in the case was fairly good. Of course, it will be a little impaired due to the case. I was impressed with the speakers and microphone as they worked really well. What was a little lackluster was using the touch screen. While it worked, it was not as easy as it normally is. Pictures turned out well and overall for all the protection that the case offers the phone really can do everything it normally can, which is important.

Bike Attachment - Click to See Larger

Bike Attachment – Click to See Larger

Overall ★★★☆☆

Overall, the LifeProof iPhone case does exactly what they say it will do. It protects your phone really well while still letting you use it. For me, I felt like the case made my phone larger than I like it to be. This is not to be a knock on the case, just my preference. I do think that for certain adventures, it is worth having the protection and for those trips, I really liked having the case. At $80, dollars retail the case is not cheaper but much less than a new phone. If you are hard on your phone or just are out in the elements a lot the LifeProof case for the iPhone is a great option. They also make many different accessories for a wide variety of uses. I used it with the bike attachment for commuting but there are many other options. If you need a case, check it out, as always, Your Mileage May Vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Waterproof
  • Allows for full use of your phone
  • Drop protection
  • Extra port plug included
  • Cheaper than a new phone

Cons

  • Touch screen is a bit tougher to use
  • Only for Apple products right now – but I have heard that they are releasing a Samsung Case any day now!

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About the author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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