Review: Lifeproof Fre And Nüüd iPhone 5 Cases

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Life throws curve balls at you all the time. For the over the top, plan-everything-to-a-T people in the world, no matter how well you try to manage your life, unavoidable events pop up from time to time. For smartphone junkies overly cautious about bumps, scrapes and other nefarious things like liquid, you’re always keeping a close eye on your phone and what’s around it. And no matter how careful you are, sometimes you drop it. Sometimes you get it wet. Sometimes you put a hairline scratch on the glass screen. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Lifeproof is an increasingly popular manufacturer of phone cases that, as the name implies, aims to protect your beloved smartphone from the perils of real world use without being overly bulky or restrictive. The original Lifeproof has garnered quite a bit of praise in the mobile world thanks to the rather small footprint considering the shock/dust/water repellant nature. But what if you want to push the boundaries even further? What if you want to do away with one of the most annoying aspects of a case of this type - the false screen? That’s where the Lifeproof Nude comes into play.

Today, we’re comparing Lifeproof’s original, time-tested case and their new Nude case to see if touching the real thing is just as good as they claim it to be.

Design

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From a design standpoint, those of you familiar with the original Lifeproof case will feel pretty comfortable with the Nude. The overall snap together design and various button/port covers are all standard affair. There’s the usual combination of soft and hard materials to give a nice combination of drop and puncture/scratch protection. But the Nude’s biggest claim to fame is what is missing - the protective screen. Yes. This case is just as water/shock/dust repellant as the original Lifeproof except this time, the screen is missing any type of cover and is completely open to the elements.

We’ll admit. At first it freaked us out… seeing our phone get dunked in water, knowing that nothing is covering the screen. Actually, it still freaks us out. It’s something that since the beginning of time we’ve been trained to learn. Gadgets/electronics and water do not mix. But Lifeproof’s Nude case is really pushing that belief to the fringes.

Using The Nude

Really, there’s not much to say regarding the Nude over the original Lifeproof. They are so very similar. Chances are if you didn’t like the look and/or feel of the original, the Nude isn’t going to change your mind. That said, getting rid of any quality reducing film, plastic or otherwise, is a huge plus. But with great power comes responsibility. The power, or course, is that you can get your phone wet without needing a completely encasing object. But therein lies the part that takes the most responsibility. When you install the Nude, you have to be absolutely sure you have a nice, solid seal around the screen. Any tiny particle, piece of dust or spec of whatever can cause a tiny spot for water to trickle in. And once that happens you’re in deep trouble.

Using the Nude always left us feeling on edge, even more-so than the original Lifeproof which gave us some sort of security when seeing it all closed up. With the Nude, you’re always left assuming you got everything out from underneath the seal, but never quite sure. There’s always a brief few seconds of holding your breath when taking the Nude off and looking for any signs of moisture after venturing into life’s wetter environments.

Is it a healthy way to go about life, worrying so much? Probably not. But then again, going through life with one of the most open, life repellant cases is empowering. No longer do you have to think about each place you’re going or where you place your phone and how it’ll affect it. Drop it on a rough granite table. Sit it on the counter by the sink as your wash dishes. Hell, toss it in your bag as you head to the gym. With Lifeproof cases you’re buying into a reduced state of worry re: the fragility of your phone. The Nude takes that same belief and brings it back a bit to a more real world interaction free from covers that hamper the most used part of your smartphone these days and your literal window to the world.

For the price ($79.99/Fre and $89.99/Nüüd), we think it’s one of the best and most unique things to accessorize your phone with. Outside of a battery case (which has a very specific but highly useful function), the Lifeproof is one case you should certainly add to your repertoire. Now your only decision rests on screen cover or no screen cover and can you handle the paranoia.

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