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Lifeproof iPhone 4/4S Case - a 2 Month Review

Discussion in 'Electronic Devices' started by DrChimRichalds, Mar 24, 2012.

    DrChimRichalds Loaded Pockets

    Hello all,

    I figured I would take some time to write a review on, in my opinion, the iPhone case to end all iPhone cases: The Lifeproof. The Lifeproof case is advertised as being completely waterpoof, snow proof, dirt/dust proof, and shock proof. It is.

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    I waltzed into Best Buy one evening in the first week of February and after reading up on the Lifeproof case, decided to bite the bullet and buy one since my Otterbox Defender wasn't cutting the mustard. The case retails for $79.99, so I was hesitant on spending that kind of money for a phone case, but I'm a firm believer in you get what you pay for, so I made up my mind fairly quickly.

    Before you can even place your iPhone in the Lifeproof case, you have to perform an involved series of tests. Lifeproof includes a link to a webpage that shows very clear and detailed instructions (and videos!) on all the steps you need to take. These steps included testing for water-tightness, a gasket inspection, and how to assemble and disassemble the case properly. If your Lifeproof case passes all the tests, you're ready to insert your iPhone.

    Lifeproof specifically (and almost sternly) instructs that your iphone must be absolutely and completely clean of any debris and fingerprints or else it may compromise the case's watertightness abilities. Included with the case is a microfiber cloth for cleaning the screen of both the case and your phone, which is handy to carry around. Once you have completely cleaned the phone (and I mean clean enough for the phone to be in an Apple advertisement), it can be inserted in the Lifeproof case.

    The case is split into two halves. The back half of the case features the gasket which creates the watertight seal when connected with the front half. It's the yellow piece you see in the first picture below.

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    Using the case:
    I've had this case on my iPhone for the past two months and I really enjoy it. Unlike the bulky Otterbox Defender, the Lifeproof case is slim, smooth, and can easily be taken out of a pocket. In fact, the Lifeproof case only adds 1/16th on an inch to the overall width of the iPhone. Taking my iPhone out of the pocket of my jeans with this case is almost a night and day difference compared to when I had to battle the Otterbox's rubberized cover to come out of my pocket.

    The way the case is designed actually improves the sound quality of the external speakers. The speakers are louder and the bass is a bit richer. Lifeproof actually mentions this feature in their instructions.

    The biggest problem I had with iPhone cases (or any smartphone cases, rather) is dust. Lifeproof says this case is dust proof and let me tell you, it surely is. Whenever I take the phone out of the case, it looks exactly the same as it did when I put it in the case. I'm talking not ONE speck of dust. Dust is the thing that will ruin a screen's integrity. I don't have to worry about that with this case.

    The phone is 100% covered with this case, which includes all the buttons and ports and also the front and rear iSight cameras. The cameras being protected is very important to me. I've found that barely any iPhone cases on the market today protect the camera, which is one of the most susceptible parts on the phone to being damaged. The best part? Even with the cameras being covered by the case your picture quality isn't affected!
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    Waterproofness:
    Being an avid outdoorsmen- always fishing and kayaking, the Waterproof feature of this cover got my attention very quickly. I figured it was only a matter of time until I dropped my very expensive smartphone into the drink. When using this case, I don't have to worry about water or any other type of moisture seeping inside to damage the phone. I have answered a call or two while in the shower, texted with sopping wet hands while doing the dishes, dropped the phone on the pavent while it was raining, and I've even spilled a soda on it. Let me say it again. WATERPROOF! This case is rated to be water-tight up to just over 6 feet. I could take it snorkeling if I wanted to! And, in fact, some of the videos on Lifeproof's website show this phone recording video while scuba diving on a coral reef!


    Pros/Cons

    Life every iPhone case, you're going to have your advantages and disadvantages. I'll discuss some that I have noticed.

    Pros:
    -100% Waterproof up to just over 6 feet. This includes snow, rain, hurricane, whatever.
    -Dustproof! Military-spec protection against dust and micron-sized contaminants that can scratch your screen.
    -Shockproof! This phone can take it quite well if you drop it onto a hard surface.
    -Ultra-slim design! Like I mentioned before, the case only adds 10.8mm of thickness to your iPhone.
    -Won't stick to your pocket! You can actually remove your phone from your jeans pocket with this case. I couldn't believe it either!
    -Your phone is completely covered in this case. No exposed parts of the phone.
    -In-depth written and video instructions and tutorials (and torture tests!) can be found on Lifeproof's website. They also have a detailed FAQ section which answered a few of my questions.
    -An adapter is included with the case so you can use headphones while still keeping the case watertight. The adapter even includes a keeper for the headphone jack screw cap. Picture below.
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    -Customer service is phenomenal. I dropped my iPhone on some concrete stairs with this case and surprisingly the front half of the case actually had damage- a small tear. Knowing this compromised the case's watertightness, I contacted customer service and they sent me a new front-half Lifeproof case for free. The exchange of emails was friendly and punctual, and the Lifeproof associate who was handling my claim wasn't anything short of professional. I received my replacement in three days. A picture of the damage is below.
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    Cons:
    -Price. The $79.99 price tag isn't for everyone. If you think you can find it cheaper online, you're more than likely going to be wrong. A majority of these cases on eBay I've found are actually MORE expensive than the MSRP.
    -Rainbow spots/"Water" spots on the screen cover. I've noticed that with use of this case the part that covers the screen will stick to the phone, which causes "Rainbow" spots. It almost looks like there's water stuck in between the phone and the screen cover. While this isn't the biggest deal, it can be annoying.
    -Audio from incoming calls is higher pitched. Again, this isn't a big deal to me but it could be annoying for someone else. May take some getting used to, but calls do still transmit clearly...they're just a little higher pitched.
    -Case is only rated to be taken apart 50 times. If you're the type who constantly takes your phone in and out of its case then this case probably isn't for you.

    -This isn't really a con, but more of a fact. This case ISN'T indestructible. I have damaged the case already, so a degree of care still needs to be acknowledged. While this case is undoubtedly rugged and able to take a hit or two, it still has its limits.


    I hope this review helps out a lot of individuals who are on the fence as to which iPhone case to buy. I am incredibly happy with this case and knowing my very expensive smart phone is protected from nearly every element "Life" can throw at it gives me a great peace of mind. Not to mention knowing Lifeproof has great customer service to back me up in case I ever have a problem. Thanks for reading!

    Lifeproof Website
    Lifeproof Videos/Torture Tests

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    Rogerschrisj Loaded Pockets

    Nice review. I love this case. It's too bad they don't male it for anything other than the Iphone. I'm not an Iphone fan but this case almost makes me want one.
    • +1 Supporter

    cougar337 Loaded Pockets

    This review was extremely helpful. I went and picked one up tonight :D
    • +4 Supporter

    grayman Loaded Pockets

    So no belt clip/holster correct? That's the one thing keeping me in an Otterbox.
    • +1 Supporter

    cougar337 Loaded Pockets

    Oisterdude Empty Pockets

    this case failed on me after 2 months. when i was wadefishing, the whole case was filled with water. i couldnt off the phone and my phone basically got fried and corroded. first 2 months was ok relatively reliable. i will do basic checks each time i used the case in a water prone environment. apparently my trust was misplaced with this case.

    geordienemisis Loaded Pockets

    Neat review, I have the griffin Survivour which is pretty good but this one has just ticked all the boxes for me so I may invest in one thanks for the review its helped make my mind up cheers.

    Viper715 Loaded Pockets

    I stopped using this case when everyone complained that they could not hear me during conversations. My choice became stop using the case or stop using the phone for phone calls. So I went back to my old, big, rubberized but reliable case the defender. I did follow the instructions about blowing in the microphone port to desperate a stuck membrane. It would help for a few minutes but then back to to the "what, I can't hear. You sound muffled" and I was done. Other than that it was the best case I've ever used; light, thin, waterproof, perfect except my phone didn't work as a phone. On that note anyone want to buy a slightly used life proof at a discounted price?

    DrChimRichalds Loaded Pockets

    I've noticed this is a common problem based off what I've seen on Lifeproof's FAQ page. I've never had this problem with both of the cases I've had. Hopefully it never arises. Sorry you had some bad luck with yours.

    DJG Loaded Pockets

    The headphone jack adapter shorts out very quickly, it is cheap and doesn't work very well. This really annoyed me until I figured out a way to alter my skullcandy earbuds to eliminate the need for the adapter. I have had the case for about 7-8 months and use it in water regularly. I have gone underwater with it multiple times and have dropped more times than I can count for at least chest to ground distance and it has held up fine. The only other problem I have encountered is that the bottom clasp that seals the charging port comes open easily because I damaged it somehow. I just have to be careful to make sure it stays closed. Not a problem in the manufacturing but one that I caused. The accessories are expensive as well but other than that it is a great case.

    I can't take a picture of headphones plugged in since I am using the phone as a camera. It fits fine and all I did was cut off some of the rubber on the end of the jack.

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    • In Omnia Paratus

    Shur Loaded Pockets

    I've been using mine for 6-8 months now and havent had any trouble with it.
    The requirement of the headphone adaptor has been a :censored: occasionally but a reasonable trade off for the water proof-ness.

    I've run into someone else with the same case and he'd had the belt clip actually damage the front cover of his case. Even while completely clean you could always see the honeycomb pattern from the plastic.

    steel_6 Loaded Pockets

    This thread made me go out and pick up a Lifeproof to give it another shot, this time on my iPhone 5. I keep telling myself I've got 30 days to return it if I'm not satisfied. So far I did the prep water test and it came out fine, put the phone in the case, and fielded a couple calls and texts. On the call, the other participant didn't say anything about me sounding different or distorted, so I guess that part is ok. It does take a little extra oomph to press 'Space' when texting though, which could get annoying after a while. I'm hoping the case kind of wears in, and gets a little tighter to the phone so that'll be easier. I do think I noticed a buzzing in my ear while I was on the call, not sure exactly if it was the case or what, but I haven't had that happen before without the Lifeproof. I bought one to kind of serve as an insurance plan. I know it's not infallible but it's a better alternative than just hoping it'll be ok and nothing will happen. I live a pretty active lifestyle between my civilian life and military life. I coach lacrosse in the spring, so I spend a lot of time out in the elements. In the summers I work at a summer camp up in Maine that's right on a lake, and also lead trips in Maine's backcountry wilderness. I kayak a lot as well and am looking to purchase my own and go a lot more this year, so I really do want something that will take a beating and keep on ticking. My first complaint (besides the clear cover having a little bit of offset from the glass) is the way that the case makes the phone taller - I'm a small handed guy so it's a little awkward, but I may be able to get past that.

    (Edited for clarification)

    e2dwml Loaded Pockets

    When the new iPhone 5 came out I jumped on the preorder list for the new Life proof fré. At first it was great. Then the annoying buzzing and humming started in my ear while talking on the phone. I also noticed that the phone became unresponsive when trying to end a call. I literally had to wait for the other party to hang up because I couldn't. I also noticed my games weren't as responsive to touch either. Finally it got annoying and I googled to see if anyone else was having this problem and low and behold I wasn't the only one. I sent an email to Life proof and aparently they are aware of this issue because they are sending me a replacement even after the 30 days. Still waiting on the replacement so I'll update after I try it out.