By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about the revolutionary LifeProof iPhone case that shields your phone from all the most frightening elements–water, mud, sand and snow.
I first heard of LifeProof in December of 2011 when professional surf photographer Zak Noyle was using his phone to take photos in heavy Pipeline swell.
I thought,“Well if Zak Noyle trusts it after being manhandled at Pipe, then it has to be worth it.” So I invested the $79.99 (around $100 with expedited shipping because I was so excited) in a clean white case to match my white iPhone.
The main reason I bought the case was to prevent any water damage. Last Fourth of July my Blackberry took a dive in a toilet after I consumed a few too many cocktails. All of my important pictures, contacts and memos were lost forever. Needless to say, I had a meltdown. When I upgraded to the iPhone, I was overly anal about keeping it safe.
To my amazement, LifeProof really worked. It was probably the greatest piece of equipment I ever invested in. I made sure to do the 15-minute water test as suggested in the directions before I put it on my phone. It was perfect. I was able to fully submerge my phone in the water and still operate my phone–take pictures, text, videos and tweet.
I tested it in the sink, shower, snow, rain and while surfing. The LifeProof case held up no problem and gave me the ability to take some pretty cool pictures. The case protected my phone for about six months without an issue. Only recently did I have a problem with it, but I’ll get to that down below.
The case is “life proof,” but it is not indestructible. It has a fragile seal and you have to keep the case in good condition. Here are my recommendations on how to keep the case from malfunctioning:
- I do not recommend taking the case on and off, as the protective seal weakens each time you remove it. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT a thick case and it is NOT similarly bulky like the OtterBox. The case is relatively thin and only about a centimeter longer than the iPhone itself. If you only intend to use this case each time you surf or go in the water, I suggest not buying it. Once the case is on, it should be kept on. So if you enjoy changing your phone cases to match your shoes or don’t like the feeling of the case in your back pocket, don’t buy it.
- The case must also be kept clean. Even the tiniest piece of lint can cause leakage, similar to the GoPro. The o-ring, the protective rubber lining, must be clean at all times or water can seep into it. While body boarding last week, my case began to leak. Thankfully, I noticed it before the water ruined my phone. I cleaned the o-ring, removing lint and debris. Now my LifeProof case is back to being my iPhone’s Sloman Shield.
I fully recommend the LifeProof case for anyone who is as clumsy as I am, or who wants to take some action shots in the water without spending a fortune on waterproof housing.
There are also just some other minor inconveniences, such as the headphones/aux adapter. The case comes with an extra wire attachment that you must use if you want to plug in headphones or your auxiliary cable. If you don’t have that in place, normal cables won’t fit the case. It is also hard to find a car charger that fits the dock. However, the LifeProof website offers available accessories to remedy these problems.
But remember, just because your phone works in water doesn’t mean you should be making calls, sending e-mails and constantly texting in the lineup. Pictures are acceptable, but surfing is about getting away from the pressures of work and everyday life! Don’t be a LifeProof kook!