Review – LifeProof Waterproof iPhone 4/4s Case

UPDATE: The LifeProof case is now available in 11 different colors.

Lifeproof waterproof case

Lifeproof designed what is perhaps the first everyday, fully-functional, waterproof iPhone case. You can carry this case around all day, with little inconvenience, and be fully protected from water. A young company based in San Diego, CA, LifeProof is dedicated to the design of all-environment protection of smartphones and tablets. To this end, they have done a fine job in protecting the iPhone 4/4s with their waterproof, all-weather case.

Full Control

Lifeproof markets their cases as water, dust, snow, and shock proof. Together, these combine to handle almost anything you can throw at them. Their case allows for full control of the iPhone’s home button, on/off button, volume pads, and vibrate control. The charging port can be accessed while the phone is in the case via a waterproof latch that closes with a secure friction fit. You can use the headphone jack while the phone is encased by removing a small plug (don’t lose it!) and inserting an adapter. This adapter is required due to size limitations of the case, but is not an inconvenience.

Waterproofing

Assembly is fairly simple with a snap-lock design, with a small o-ring serving as a water barrier. Taking the case apart can be a challenge, but becomes easy once you learn to pry the corner. A thin plastic shield protects the screen from the elements. Some users have complained of air bubbles, but these can be removed by ‘depressurizing’ the case (opening one of the ports) and pushing air through the case. In our testing, this was not an issue and the touch screen functioned fine.

Small waterproof screens cover the audio ports and microphones, ensuring that sound passes through but water does not. In our tests, call clarity was strong and there was little problem hearing the caller. Speaker phone volume was clear and did not distract from the call.

Both cameras are accessible by ultra-clear windows that allow you to take perfect pictures or video, even in the water. The microphone and speakers allow sound to pass via a waterproof membrane that allows for sound transmission. These are located on the bottom speaker grills as well as on the main speaker and microphone above the screen.
LifeProof waterproof case white

Small Form Factor

Besides being one of the most protective cases available, Lifeproof is also one of the smallest. The case is incredibly slim and does not add noticeable bulk to the iPhone. It is small enough to comfortably fit in your pocket/purse without much notice. It has a soft overmolded exterior that does not catch on the lining of your pocket, making it easy to take in and out of bags and pockets.

For a comparison of sizing, here are measurements (inches) of the iPhone 4s and LifeProof case:

  • Height – 4.50″ / 5.08″
  • Width – 2.31″ / 2.60″
  • Depth – 0.37″ / 0.42″

These measurements show how minimal the LifeProof is, one of its main advantages. The location of the charging port and speakers at the bottom add to the length of the case, which explains the difference when comparing the heights listed above. If anything, the LifeProof case makes your iPhone slightly longer.

Specifications – 2 Meters

The LifeProof case is rated IP-68 from water and dust, and thus can be taken underwater to a depth of 6.6 feet (2 meters). Our tests did not go beyond this depth as it would void the manufacturer warranty. It has passed a military drop test of 6.6 feet (2 meters) on all edges, 26 times each. While lightweight, the case is strong and buffers your phone from impact. The case is very lightweight at under an ounce (28g) so it will not weigh you down. Incredible protection for such a small device.

Warranty

LifeProof offers a 90 day warranty from date of purchase on materials and workmanship. You can easily extend this warranty to 1 year by reading the materials and affirming on the LifeProof website. Note that if you drown your phone, LifeProof will never replace your phone. Due to the potential for user error, the user assumes all risk for their phone. Additionally, certain drops and other user error can invalidate the warranty.

Overall

In sum, this is the strongest contender for a fully functional, everyday waterproof case for the iPhone on the market. Its strong design, waterproof seal, and full control make it ideal for everyday use. It costs far less than phone insurance or replacing an iPhone. Overall, the best contender to date and an invaluable purchase for that moment your phone goes for an accidental swim.