LifeProof: The iPhone case I wished I bought years ago

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iPhoneWaterLifeProof have always been a well known case amongst iPhone enthusiasts. They are the pioneers of waterproof cases for the iPhone, iPad and the iPod Touch. And yes, I’m actually kinda late getting on the LifeProof bandwagon. But don’t worry. This isn’t yet another review of the LifeProof case. There really is no point for that as there are already an abundance of reviews online. Instead, I thought I’d just share why I say that this was the case I wished I’ve gotten from day one and perhaps why you’d want to jump onto the LifeProof bandwagon as well if you’re not already.

And perhaps you may ask: Why did I finally decide to get the LifeProof case after so long? The answer I suppose is kinda serendipitous. I didn’t actually thought I’d ever want to get myself the LifeProof case. I’ve always known about it and have heard many sing songs of praises of the case. However, there wasn’t a time when I thought I would ever want to have my iPhone in the water. Sure it’ll be nice to have it protected from being splashed in the rain, but going swimming with my iPhone? That scenario never really crossed my mind. Then again, I do own a Panasonic DMC-TS2 camera that I specifically bought to take underwater photos of my kids swimming in the pool. So maybe the need for the LifeProof weren’t as strong as it could have been.

I’ve also always preferred to have a ultra-thin cases over my iPhone and therefore gotten myself the Power Support Air Jacket case. But it broke not too long after, so I then decided to just go naked without a case. Unfortunately, recently, my iPhone’s glass back started to have ‘tapping’ noises. Its kinda hard to describe it just with words, but basically, it’s as if the glass back was loosened and there’s a tiny space between the glass and the actual back of the phone. So whenever I tap onto the back of my iPhone, the gap allows the glass to tap onto the back. And that kinda freaked me out a little as I surely don’t want the back glass to break prematurely. So, I can no longer afford the have my iPhone unprotected by a case and so the search for a suitable case began.

Since my iPhone structural integrity kinda questionable, I figured that I should get a case that’s shockproof. And why not have it waterproof as well then? Thus, the LifeProof case was the chosen one. Although I did have some reservation on the choice. As I mentioned, I never really liked cases that bulks up the phone too much. But in order for the case to provide shock and water protection, I was willing to add a little bulk to the phone, still, I was hoping that it wouldn’t be too much of a bulk. Worse still, I wasn’t able to look it the case personally before I bought it since I knew of no one who’s using the LifeProof case nor were there any stores in Singapore that was carrying the case for sale. The only reference I had was all the reviews and photos online of the case. So I decided to take the plunge and just buy it.

Where to buy LifeProof from?

As trivial as this may sound, it turned out to be quite an important question to ask. LifeProof obviously sold them online from their own store at list price of course. Other popular e-commerce sites were also selling the same case but at a significantly lower price point at about 20-30% off the list price. However, when I looked at the reviews posted, I noticed a significant amount of negative reviews and upon reading them, it seems as though some of the retailers that listed the case on the site were actually selling fakes. While I cannot confirm that this is true, I also would not want to take the chance of getting a fake at a much lower price, not especially if the case is to protect my iPhone from being submerged in the water! So, I decided to buy it directly off LifeProof. Shipping to Singapore was decently charged at about US$8 and it was sent via courier services. My case was shipped out of LifeProof’s regional distribution centre in Hong Kong, so shipping was just under 1 week, which was nice.

So allow me to repeat again, prices on eBay might be cheap, but there are quite a number of fake LifeProof cases being sold. My advice is to be safe and just purchase it directly from LifeProof themselves.

You can check out the LifeProof store here (Link)

The look and feel

The case, to my pleasant surprise, didn’t turn out to be as bulky as I had expected. The thickness was very acceptable and the added height makes it about the length of the iPhone 5. However, the added width takes a little getting used to as I now need to stretch my thumb a little more to reach the other side of the screen. This, to me, clearly proofs Apple’s point of keeping the width of the iPhone 5 as it was on the iPhone 4s. The following are some shots of the case on my iPhone 4s.

Overall, the case feels solid and reassuring. The only complain I have is that the “screen protector” that covers over the iPhone display takes a little getting used to. It’s because it does not ‘stick’ onto the glass display but instead just “hover” over the screen due to some extra components. This disrupts the sensitivity of the touch screen and you’d have to tap harder for the touch to register. There’s also a the rather annoying sound of the plastic screen tapping onto the iPhone glass display every time you tap on it. If only LifeProof figures out a way to have the screen area flatly stick onto the iPhone glass, then the case would score a perfect 10.

Oh does it work 🙂

Yes. The case works just as they claim it would. I’ve submerged my phone and have also even used it in the showers and the phone is still all nice and dry in the case. It really is quite awesome. But what surprised me most is how liberating it felt to be able to use the phone anywhere without the fear of killing the phone from the exposure to water. And this is especially helpful for my iPhoneography photoblog project that I’m running now. Check out the photos I took below where my iPhone is literally soaked with water! There really is no limits to where and when I can take my photos with my iPhone now!

In conclusion

So yes, the ‘technical’ features of the LifeProof case is great. But what you’d be most pleasantly be surprised with is the liberating feeling that you get when you can use your iPhone in the water. It simply is magical.

What’s Good:

  • Underwater photography!
  • Great protection from water, shock, dust and snow (not that it snows in Singapore anyway :p)
  • Not too bulky and heavy
  • Looks decent, unlike other shockproof cases that makes you phone looks like a tank

Not so Good:

  • A little pricey
  • “Screen protector” plastic don’t stick to the phone display
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