I love my iPhone 4s and use it everyday. It has become one of the most important productivity tools in my arsenal and I would be lost without it. I’m always looking for ways to keep the little guy safe and happy so I jumped on the LifeProof case as soon as it became available.
What is the LifeProof case?
This is a thin case the company claims is waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof. The fact is, I put the case through months of real world use before I wrote this review. I wanted to make sure I gave my readers the most accurate review possible.
Installing the case
First thing first, the product ships without a manual. There is an information insert that asks you to visit their website for installation instructions. The website is straight forward and provides installation, un-installation and maintenance information in text and video format.
The product comes in 2 pieces (a front and a back piece) that you slowly and carefully snap together. You want to make sure that each of the mini latches in the case lock properly otherwise your case would not be waterproof. You also want to make sure your phone is very clean. I even washed my hands a couple of times and conducted the installation on a dust and lint free surface.
Assembly is very simple and consists of aligning the 2 pieces together and slowly pressing the towards each other. Do it slowly and carefully to make sure each piece snaps in and that you don’t flex the plastic case too much.
If you ever need to take the case apart, follow the instructions on their site. Now here is my first issue. My last case was the Otterbox defender because I tend to switch cases, depending on my day. My 2 main cases are the Otterbox defender (when I need the extra protection) and a Mophie Juicepack Air (when I need battery power). With the LifeProof case, done are the days of swapping cases, their product was built to be installed once and rarely removed. Keep this in mind.
The dock port door
The Lifeproof case has a mini hinged door that closes to keep dust and water out. It looks dinky and cheap but the company states that it has been tested for 10 000 cycles so you should be good for a while.
The original iPhone charging cable will fit through the opening but that’s about it. With this case installed, I wasn’t able to use any of my accessories that dock the iphone. Even the dock SendStation dock extender didn’t fit. This was my second issue with the case. I wish they had made the dock connector door just a little bigger.
To protect the device, they have a screw in (with an o ring) headphone plug protector. They include a general use headphone adaptor which screws into the headphone port and allows you to hook up you own headphone but again, this is just one more accessory I had to drag with me.
I tested the headphone jack with my Etymotic, Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 and Senheiser headphones and none of them can be plugged in without this adaptor. The Apple stock headphone do fit (but who really uses those $0.99 crappy earphones)..
Other phone features
All of your devices features are accessible with the case installed. Most work surprisingly well but….
I had issues with the silent rocker. Many times when the phone was in my pocket, it was automatically switching the phone to silent. My wife had the same issue a couple of times when the phone was in her purse. My guess is that the silent rocker is a little bigger with the case on which is making it more likely to switch modes unintentionally.
The company claims the case is waterproof to 6.6 feet and that it can survive a similar fall onto flat concrete. The case was also designed to operate in the -40 - 140 degree Fahrenheit range (which covers Apple’s recommended operating temperature of 32 – 95 degrees).
I love the concept of the case and the fact that it offers great protection but considering the caveats I discovered, I am not likely to recommend this case (unless you really need extreme protection and are therefore willing to live with the shortfalls).