Lifeproof for iPhone 4/4SReview

 

A while back we gave you a preview of an upcoming review of the Lifeproof waterproof case that was in the works. At first we thought the review might just write itself. Well the waiting is over because the Lifeproof review is FINALLY HERE!! (And No it didn’t write itself)


Waterproof phone cases are nothing new but with the ever increasing need to protect your expensive smart phone these products are starting to become far more popular. There are many different types of waterproof cases such as the bag style cases or hard, clamshell types such as the Aquabox. These cases do a great job at protecting your phone from water and the elements but the major downfall is that they are usually bulky and can’t really be used for day-to-day protection. That’s where the Lifeproof really shines. 

At first look the Lifeproof looks just like any ordinary clip-on case you would buy but what separates the Lifeproof from other cases is the wide range of protective design features. The case packs a number of features to combat intrusion of dust, dirt, grime, and of course water.  The clear front of the case doubles as a screen protector and to top it off, the Lifeproof features a fair amount of impact protection for good measure.

Included in the package is the case, headphone adapter, spare headphone plug (because you know you will end up losing at least one of them.)

Now on to the review…is it any good?

Protection

Just as any other high-quality cell phone case should, the Lifeproof does its job at protecting your expensive Smartphone. What separates this case from others in its category is how much protection you actually get. This case first and foremost protects your phone from drops and other impacts. The hard shelled, tight fitted polycarbonate frame gives the phone the support it needs for proper impact protection. After quite a few day-to-day bumps and drops, both the phone and case are still good as new.

Another great feature of the case design is that it also doubles as a screen protector so a separate one is not required. During testing we found that having a screen protector on the phone left air bubbles on the screen surface under the Lifeproof. This was easily remedied by removing the one on the phone and just using the Lifeproof for our screen protection.

By far the most important feature is the case’s performance in protecting your phone from water damage, as any self-respecting waterproof case should. Sure the phone was dunked in the sink to test its waterproof ability, but how often are you really going to be using your phone in the sink? During some real-life testing in the pool, hot tub, and shower the Lifeproof has yet to leak a drop of water.

*********IMPORTANT**********

One Extremely Important note about the waterproof protection is that the phone is only completely waterproof when the bottom dock connector is closed and the headphone plug is tightly screwed in. If either of these is not fully sealed, you will find yourself with a very expensive paperweight. Just be sure to check that these two are sealed before jumping in the pool and you won’t have any problems

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While the Lifeproof is waterproof, it should be noted that it does NOT float in its stock configuration (although a Lifejacket Float is available as an accessory.) Keep this in mind when you decide to take your phone out on the lake unless you feel like turning your boat trip to a SCUBA expedition. All-in-all, as far as the waterproofing is concerned, Lifeproof does the job.

Design/Build Quality

The quality of the product is exceptional.  With the price point of the Lifeproof being on the upper end of phone cases, this case is certainly worth the price. The materials used do not inspire fear of failure but I would not go throwing my phone at the ground because it is not indestructible. With other universal cases, most features don’t work correctly but since the case is designed specifically for the iPhone, it fits snugly inside and all of the buttons work perfectly.

If by chance you find that the front cover gets scratched or one of the gaskets need replacing, Lifeproof sells most of the parts individually on their website so as to avoid having to buy an entire Lifeproof.

Functionality

The Lifeproof is by far the most functional waterproof case we have tested. Since the case is specifically designed for the iPhone, all of the features of the case are designed to mimic the iPhone’s for seamless use. During testing we found that to be true for the most part. The touch screen is just as responsive with the case at it was without. A special lens on the back of the case help the camera take pictures that are just as good as the one taken without the case. Calls could be heard through the case on both the handset and speakerphone and the caller on the other line could hear the conversation clearly. The plug for the headphone jack can also be removed to allow you to plug in a pair of waterproof headphones if you feel like listening to some tunes while in the pool.

While the case is extremely functional, it still has a few minor hiccups. The silence switch was hard to toggle and sometimes had the phone in a mode other than intended. This was not really a huge deal for us seeing as we didn’t use that switch much anyways but keep that in mind if you use that feature regularly. Another thing we noticed was the sound quality of the speakers was slightly muffled but that is to be expected when you completely seal the phone. If you don’t plan on being in or around the water, we found that opening up the dock connector make a big difference in sound quality and volume.

Speaking of the dock connector, with the Lifeproof it isn’t truly a “dock” connector anymore. Sure the charging cable fits in the connector through the access door but the case doesn’t really allow the phone to be docked. If you do want to dock your phone, Lifeproof sells a dock extender connector which would allow the phone to be docked in your iHome or other docking station.

Accessories

One nice thing about the Lifeproof that separates it from other cases is the fact that it is completely customizable. Sure the case itself works great by itself but if you find yourself out on the boat or Jet Ski often, then you might want to look into a float or swim band to make sure the phone doesn’t make its way to the bottom of the pond.

A bike mount is also available.  It can be used on almost any tubular handlebars such as motorcycles, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles to keep the phone in view while on the road or trail. We’re in the process of testing out the bike mount so stay tuned for a more in-depth review to come.

Summary and Features

While more expensive than a bag-style waterproof case, the Lifeproof is capable of being used as an everyday case that also happens to be completely sealed from the elements. The best part about this case is its ability to provide the same levels of features and overall protection whether you are using it for extreme water sports or the day-to-day grind.

One major limitation of the Lifeproof is that it is only available for the iPhone (many Android users want a product like this for their device)

Main Features:

  • WATERPROOF up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) (IP-68 Certified)
  • DIRTPROOF- Protection for the jobsite, off-road adventures, and the beach
  • SHOCKPROOF up to 4 feet (1.2 meters)
  • SNOWPROOF

Manufacturer Specs:

Available for:

iPhone and iPad

(Sorry no Android support 🙁 )

Pros:

  • Reliably Waterproof
  • Wide range of accessories
  • Complete Protection- Impact Resistant, Screen Protection and Waterproofing
  • Durable and all buttons remain functional
  • Perfect for everyday use
  • Low profile- Not Bulky

Cons:

  • Limited to iPhone and iPad
  • Small parts to lose
  • Need to carry separate headphone adapter to listen to music while the phone is in the case
  • Priced on the higher end of cases

Price: $80 From Amazon

t3chniq’s final verdict: BUY! Probably the best all-around, everyday solution to keeping your iPhone protected from everything life throws at you