23 September 2013

REVIEW: Lifeproof iPhone and iPad Cases

Life saver.

After last month's smartphone case feature, in which we tested the latest ways to keep a Samsung Galaxy S3 safe, we had a few calls to do a similar post for Apple products. And so, ever ready to answer the call of our dear readers, we scoured the net for some quality iPhone case action. We're happy to report that we found several from just one company; Lifeproof.

And so, armed with iPhone 5 and iPad, we set about testing a few of Lifeproof's cases during the course of our exciting and dangerous lives. At one dramatic point there was a really big puddle...

We got to grips with three cases from Lifeproof, the Fre, the Nuud (for iPhone and iPad) and also the bizarre looking Life Jacket. To be honest the Life Jacket is actually an extra layer of protection for those using the Fre or the Nuud, but we'll come back to that.

The Nuud

Lifeproof pride themselves on creating cases that protect against the main four causes of phone damage by making them waterproof, dirt-proof, snow-proof and shockproof. We admit that when you first see both the Fre and the Nuud the emphasis seems to be on the waterproof aspect of the design. We were reminded of the Survivor + Catalyst Waterproof Case from our last phone case review, and certainty we have seen more rugged looking iPhone cases before. Still, unperturbed by the apparent thinness of both of these, we slip it on to our much abused iPhone 5 and set to testing.

The Fre

The Fre and the Nuud are essentially the same cases. That needs to be said first, we feel. Although the packaging is different and the volume buttons seem to stick out a little more on the Nuud, they are pretty much the same; same waterproofing system, same headphone screw cap and came lower edge clamp to keep both halves of the case closed.

The only real difference that we could perceive (and the one that could sway your decision about which to buy), is that the Nuud has a wholly transparent back plate and a 'test iPhone' (an piece of plastic you can use to test the case's water-tightness). Apart from that, much of a muchness.

But that isn't to say that these cases aren't great. In terms of water resistance Lifeproof have got it pretty sorted. Slipping your iPhone into one and pressing closed the rubber seals is an alarmingly satisfying experience. Both halves of the cases snap together confidently and the presence of that clip whick locks into place lastly is very reassuring. Also, the troublesome issue of the headphone jack is neatly dealt with by way of a special screw cap complete with rubber seal.

Speaking of which, both the the Fre and the Nuud feature a special headphone extender wire that includes a screw-closing end, meaning you still listen to music without moisture getting into the jack. The wire that comes with the Fre also has an additional screw cap fitted along the length, so should you want to remove the headphone extender you won't be left with a gaping hole into the protection.

As for the iPad model of the Nuud, everything is just as it is for the iPhone, but larger. We were a little concerned at first that the larger chasis of the Nuud would be harder to fit and ensure a snug closure, but everything went just as smoothly as it did on the phone version.

So two excellent water-tight cases... but we're not sure what kind of shock-proofing they would offer. Certainly there is no chance that dust would get in (or the aforementioned snow - which surely is just very cold water) but we're not yet sold on weather the Fre or the Nuud should be the choice of cases for those worried about dropping their phones.

But perhaps that's not the point of them, especially when you consider the third case we tested: the Life Jacket. This cover works only in conjunction with the Fre and Nuud and essentially makes your phone buoyant. The bright orange foam wraps around the waterproof case and ensures that should you drop your phone "overboard", it won't sink down to Davy Jones' Locker.

The Life Jacket makes any iPhone comically big and bulky and we can only imagine it being practically used at sea or on a boat lake or river. So perhaps that is what the discerning Lifeproof customer enjoys - hitting the high seas and shivering their timbers. If so, then they have the perfect product range here.

Fre: £59.99
Nuud for iPhone: £69.99
Nuud for iPad: £73.99
Life Jacket: £34.99

Visit www.lifeproof.com

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