Picking a case for your smartphone is kinda like picking shoes these days. There is a function to the form, and yet there is a plethora of aesthetic options out there that sometimes leads to the primary purpose of the object being diminished. Shoes protect the feet, period. Same goes for a phone case. It's purpose is to protect (or encase) your phone, protecting it from accidental and negligent damage. Then home come the majority of the phone cases on the store shelves are purely plastic carbon copies, merely cheaply made shells with pretty colors? They cover the back of the phone and the sides, but what if you drop it on it's screen? Toast. Or if it drops in the toilet, or you spill your coffee on it in the morning on the way to work?
If you're like me, I waited awhile to get a smartphone. Not until it was free under my carrier, but mostly as my professional life needed it as a tool. I chose not to pay a monthly insurance on my new phone, as I felt I'd be pretty careful with it. We all get complacent with things we use on a daily basis, and I've dropped and had near catastrophic splash downs too many times to count. After literally wearing a Magpul Field Case out, I decided to research a better replacement that would actually do what a phone cover should do, protect your phone from yourself, and the elements. What I found was the Lifeproof iPhone Case.
It didn't take me long to find the Lifeproof series of cases in my research. Not only were they waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, and snowproof, but they didn't make it look like I was smuggling a brick in my pants. The price was high, but with the claims of protection and color options available, I thought I would bite. Turns out I bit twice, as I could not make up my mind between orange and camo. Not to contradict myself about the whole color / accesorizing / superficial rant, but as a sportsman those two colors really appeased me. I ended up sticking with the orange, because I could honestly see myself losing the phone in the woods, in a pile of camo gear, or at the bottom of a creek or pond. Orange would be something I could spot and dive after, or not accidentally sit on. However the Realtree camo pattern really has the cool factor, and if I spent more time in the office and no time outdoors with my phone I would have totally gone with it. For now Firearms Insider Orange is how I roll.
The case comes in two parts, front and back. Installation is easy enough, you clean your phone and the inside of both cases really, really well. Like a father cleaning his gun on his daughter's prom night. Any dirt, specs, hair, etc. will prevent the O-ring from achieving a proper seal and you will be susceptible to water leaking in. But the two halves snap together with some force and feel really solid together, the seams should close tightly if you cleaned correctly. There's a threaded plug to keep water and crud out of your audio port, and the case comes with an adapter for headphones since the regular jacks wont fit without it, my advice is order two extra. Also, the case may not let your phone fit in a stereo dock, but that's a minor inconvenience that's pales to the security you get.
Lifeproof also makes cases for Samsung Galaxy, iPads, and the new iPhones. Yes the pricetag is a bit steep but the first time you drop or spill on your phone, it certainly paid for itself. Hard to beat that logic.
Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame: The hazards of everyday life are no match for LifeProof
Target Market: Smartphone users who recreate outdoors or drop their phones alot
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
- Polycarbonate Frame with shock absorbing elastomer
- Scratch resistant screen protector with anti-reflective lens over device's camera
- Only 10.8 mm thick
- Waterproof: Submersible up to 2 meters underwater
- Dirtproof: Sealed against dirt and debris, protects glass screen from abrasions
- Snowproof: Sealed against snow
- Shockproof: Designed to Military Specs and tested to 2 meter drop
- Includes gold plated headphone adaptor that also seals
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black, Blue, Orange, Pink, Green, White, Red, Realtree Camo, etc. Lots of Colors and patterns to choose from, and vinyl stickers also widely available for customization
What others are saying?: “Previously my daughter had an Otterbox (and it cracked). So I really had to question my daughter when she bought her case because of the cost. Less then a week after purchasing it she lost it in a snow bank. It was outside in the snow & rain for 5 days. Both my husband and I had our doubts but when it was found the phone worked just fine like nothing ever happened to it. I will now be purchasing a case for my phone soon! Thank you Lifeproof it is worth every penny!!!" review from Lifeproof Product Page
I need it now! Availability: Readily available at lifeproof.com
+-Waterproof seal was good out of the box, and instructions on care are thoroughi
+-Includes extended earphone adapter that doesn't hinder waterproof seal
+ Customer Service from Otter Box (parent company) was prompt and satisfactory
- -Price is high for materials / what you get
--Audio quality suffers slightly due to seal (to be expected)
- Most docks unable to interface with phone while case is installed
Score: 8.5 Great