Review: LifeProof Frē for iPhone 5s – Smaller, Lighter, with Touch ID; $79

lifeproof fre waterproof case 5s side view

LifeProof has released their flagship product for the iPhone 5s, the Frē. Available in the standard 10 color selection, LifeProof has improved on their existing line in terms of size and weight of the case. They have also redesigned the home button to be completely functional with Apple’s new Touch ID functionality.

LifeProof’s engineers have done a great job reducing excess material on this case. Compared to the Frē for iPhone 5, they have removed 5mm from the height of the case, 2mm from the width of the case, and 0.5mm from the thickness. This combines to make a case that is 2g lighter than its predecessor. The net effect is a smaller, more low profile case that better grips the size of your phone. Equal protection with less bulk and weight is always a good thing.

lifeproof fre waterproof case 5s side profile

Compared to LifeProof’s Nuud line of cases, the Frē features a thin, clear protective cover over the screen of the phone. It is strongly sealed to the top piece of the case, so water does not get anywhere near the phone. This also provides scratch protection for the strong glass screen of the iPhone 5s, offering better protection for your investment. The trade off is you have a then screen to contend with between you and the phone, which which might reduce how the phone feels in your hand.

LifeProof Waterproof case for iPhone 5s Fre all colors

While initially available in black and white, the Fre for 5s is available in a wide arrange of colors, including black, white, cyan, flat earth, magenta, teal, yellow, olive, and red. These are the same colors that came out in waves after the Fre for iPhone 5 was released. It is unclear whether more colors or different options will debut for the 5s version.

It is important to note that this case is backward compatible with the iPhone 5 – either phone works in it.

lifeproof waterproof case for iphone 5s fre headphone charging microphone speaker ports

This case features everything you know and love about LifeProof cases, including all functions, buttons, 6.6ft of waterproofing, shockproofing, and in case charging capability. Waterproof headphone connection is available on this model using special headphones. Full use of both cameras (the rear protected by glass), multiple audio ports and speaker ports allow you to take speakerphone calls or listen to music. The LifeProof engineers have created a thin film over the Home button that allows for transmission of Touch ID for Apple’s new fingerprint identification.

Dimensions, Ratings and Technical Specifications

Company: LifeProof
Title: Frē
Phone: iPhone 5s
Release Date: November, 2013
Height: 5.4″ / 132.2mm
Width: 2.74″ / 69.6mm
Thickness: 0.49″ / 12.45mm
Weight: 0.96oz / 27.2g
Initial Price: $79
Colors: Black, white, cyan, flat earth, magenta, teal, yellow, olive, red
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


Overall, an outstanding case by LifeProof. The most impressive thing is how they reacted to the Touch ID curveball and could design and execute such a project under tough time constraints. LifeProof finds a way.