LifeProof water/shock/dustproof case for iPhone 4/4s $80, www.lifeproof.com
The Good: Makes your iPhone nearly invincible without rendering it useless.
The Bad: Tight ports make plugging in headphones a bit complicated.
The Ugly: Almost losing my iPhone in the ocean during the video below.
Like it or not, iPhones have become a staple piece of gear for many outdoor adventurers. Whether you want to take photos or video or track your mileage, you’ve got to admit they’re pretty dang handy. Problem is, it doesn’t take much to ruin that expensive bit of glass and plastic – a cracked screen, a dunk in the ocean, and you’re done. While there are plenty of tough, waterproof cases out there, they usually double the iPhone’s size or render it nearly useless. LifeProof purports its cases to be just that – waterproof, shockproof, childproof, you name it. We decided to have our occasional photographer (and huge gear snob) Brett Faulknor put LifeProof to the test. Here’s what he came up with.
I’ve tested it in the following ways: in a glass of ice water in a restaurant (a real crowd pleaser), listening to music in the shower (phone on the built-in soap holder), taking photos and video in two different swimming pools (above and below water), mountain and road biking with it on their bike mount accessory, dropping it from up to head high on grass, gravel, cement, asphalt, and ‘letting’ my toddler throw it around. It’s fallen out of my car (when I’ve forgotten it was on my lap and quickly stepped out of the vehicle) and fallen in that awkward space between my car seat and the center console. I even let the Pacific ocean manhandle it on the shore for a bit.
Throughout all the testing, no water has ever gotten into the case.; there was never even any condensation on the inside. Impressive seeing the charge port has a snap open/close cover. Over the four months I have tested the case on a daily use, I’ve only had to take the phone out of the case one time to clean out little dust particles that have worked their way inside. It held up great on the bike mount, too. Speaking of which, LifeProof has excellent accessories, most notably the armband with the quick-release trigger (for the occasional photo op), and the GoPro mount, which lets you mount the case on any GoPro fixture.
The most impressive part of all this is that it’s easy to pretend there’s no case on it at all. My iPhone still fits in my front pocket comfortably. Touch use of the phone screen is uninterrupted. The audio is dampened a bit in the high ends (but the bass tones are boosted). A little more effort is require to use headphones as you have to unscrew the headphone jack port. I don’t carry it with me, but they have a waterproof headphone port adapter that has a place to easily store the headphone port screw, so I’m stuck trying to find a place to put it where I won’t lose it (good thing it comes with a spare).
My wife has also been using the Lifeproof iPhone case and constantly recommends it to her mom friends with the ‘kid proof’ seal of approval. Her underwater videos of our son, North, swimming in the pool are a hit with friends and family.
Bottom line: anyone who’s ever dropped their phone, gotten it wet, any adventurous/active type, or anyone who obsesses about keeping their iphone safe and scratch-free should consider the $80 price tag well worth the investment.
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Author: Trek Tech Staff