Review: LifeProof Frē for iPhone 5c. Clear, Covered, Waterproof: $79

LifeProof waterproof case iphone 5c clear backs

LifeProof has released their Frē waterproof case for the new iPhone 5c. Continuing their theme of clarity and color, the case is available in only two color options – black and white – with clear backs. This allows for the brilliant colors of the iPhone 5c to show through, making this case more minimalist and expressive as it relates to the phone.

Unlike the Nüüd for iPhone 5c and its screenless technology, the Frē utilizes a thin protective cover over the phone’s screen. Besides being a better seal to keep out water, this keeps your phone clean and prevents scratching on your investment. That is a main difference between the Frē and Nüüd cases – covered vs. open face. The other difference is the price: the Frē is cheaper by about $10; you can find them initially on sale for $79.

lifeproof fre for iphone 5c side profile ringer switch volume

The Frē case continues design principles originally seen in the original iPhone 5 case. The case consists of two halves that snap together to house your phone. In doing so, they compress an o-ring seal that keeps water out of this entry into the case. A thin screen covers the front of the phone that is ultrasonically welded around the interior perimeter. Otherwise, the only area water can enter are the ports. The microphones and speaker ports are one way waterproof. The headphone jack functions as a screw with an oring at its base, which compresses and seals when the screw is tightened. Access is allowed for the small Apple charger so the phone can charge in its case. A small latch at the bottom of the case allows for this, and it seals against a gasket when closed.

LifeProof waterproof nuud case iphone 5c yellow

The Frē for iPhone 5c allows for full control of your phone while it is in the case. This includes access to the power, home, volume buttons and ringer switch to toggle vibrate/ringer function. Waterproof headphone usage is allowed using a special adapter that seals against the headphone input. Full control of both cameras (one protected by glass) and multiple speaker / microphone vents allow for full speakerphone and music playback function. The case is extremely small and lightweight and is best in class for this degree of waterproofing.

Dimensions, Ratings and Technical Specifications

Company: LifeProof
Title: Frē
Phone: iPhone 5c
Release Date: November, 2013
Height: 5.46″ / 138.7mm
Width: 2.67″ / 67.8mm
Thickness: 0.55″ / 14mm
Weight: 1.2oz / 35g
Initial Price: $79
Colors: Black with clear back, white with clear back
Depth Rating: 6.6 ft, 60 minutes
Drop Test: 6.6 feet
Dust Proof: IP-68 rating
Crush Proof: n/a
Use Headphones: Yes
Waterproof w/ Headphones: Yes, with adapter
Charging Port: Yes
Home Button: Yes
Power Button: Yes
Volume Buttons: Yes
Ringer Switch: Yes
Camera: Yes
Flash: Yes
Front Camera: Yes
Front Sensors: Yes
Microphone Ports: 3
Speaker Ports: 2
Materials: Plastic, soft overmold
Closure System: Snap Fit, o-ring, plastic latch
Screen Protector: Yes
Touch ID: Yes


Like the Nüüd for iPhone 5c, this case is only available in black and white colors with clear backing. This allows for the pastel colors of the 5c to show through, with the LifeProof case contrasting against it nicely. It will be interesting to see if LifeProof releases further color variations on this case in the future.