Review: LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case – For Those Wanting To Tweet In The Shower

iPhone cases litter my drawers like pens do at a normal persons house. You can probably look in any inch of my apartment and find an empty beer can and an iPhone case. So when I review them, I am usually pretty tedious in my testing. I will use them for a longer period of time to see if anything noticable stands out that I wouldn’t catch in a short 3 day use. So when Mike and I were trolling the iLounge at this past January’s CES and stumbled across a guy throwing his iPhone, I was intrigued.

LifeProof is a young company based out of San Diego with all-environment protection in mind for smart phones and tablets. Their rep at the show was energetic and eager to show us their not-one-of-a-kind iPhone case. Skeptical as I was, I listened. He handed me his iPhone and told me to drop it. I followed his instructions and chucked it to the ground. After picking it up, the phone looked great and was still fully functional. He then told us to start a movie on the phone, which I did, and then told me to drop it into a fish bowl full of water. Mike and I proceeded to watch some Pixar flick through 10 or so inches of water. After pulling the phone out and swiping through pages and pages of apps and pressing every button on the phone to ensure they were working properly, I knew there might be something good to say about what they had going for them.

After requesting a unit for review I eagerly waited. I found myself bored in the shower, not really sure where to put my hands, so the thought of being able to Tweet while glistening in my bathroom sounded like an amazing idea.


The design of the case is where it really shines. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a pretty case, but for the amount of protection it offers, it is incredibly thin. When I hear “full protection” I usually visualize a brick sized rubber case that’ll make my iPhone look like a boombox from 1991. This is definitely not the case from LifeProof.

The LifeProof case doesn’t really add much bulk to the iPhone at all. The sides are protected with what is close to an Apple Bumper in size, and only adds 1.5mm to each edge. Where the headphone jack lies is a small threaded piece to ensure no water gets in or out. To use headphones (including water-proof ones) you simply unscrew that little stopper, and use the included water-proof adapter that will connect your headphones with the inner jack, all while keeping its seal. The Volume buttons, as well as the mute switch are all heavily guarded, as is the power button atop the device.

You’ll only be adding about .98 oz to your device, so you won’t really notice any weight or bulk when using the case.


Now, since Mike is a tight wad and cut my access to company funds, I was weary when it came to testing the case against everything it is supposed to protect. I did give it a few 2-3 foot drops to the tile in my kitchen, which it survived! LifeProof claims you can drop up to 6.6 feet to concrete and not even a scratch will get on your shiny iPhone.

As far as the underwater testing, I again was hesitant. LifeProof claims up to 6.6 feet of water isn’t even a battle for the case. I wasn’t near 2 meters of water, so I decided that when I was done using the case, I would shove some tissue inside, and leave it under some water and see how it fairs. I popped my phone out of the case, filled it with toilet paper, and sat it under a cup in a bowl of water. I went to Downtown Portland with my family to hit the Apple Store and have my MacBook Air checked out. After getting that taken care of and getting some lunch we made it back home. 3 hours had gone by and I remembered I had it sitting on my counter. After taking it apart, I saw not a drop of water made it on the inside of the case. I checked every little opening and it was completely dry.


This was the meticulous part. No instructions came with the case, only a notice to check out their website. On their site sits a few videos showing you the ins and outs of getting your iPhone inside the case – properly. About 5 minutes of cleaning will go into this, to ensure no pieces of dust ruin the O-ring to ensure a tight seal. Wiping, blowing with canned air and inspecting are all recommended ways to ensure perfection.

Once all of this is done, installation is a snap. The iPhone sets in snuggly and you slap the back piece on and close the snap at the bottom. Minimal pressure goes into ensureing it is together, so this was a plus.

Getting the phone out is just as easy, obviously reversing your initial instructions, but videos are included on their site to manage every aspect of this case. I enjoy watching someone else do something before I attempt, so I liked this idea over written instructions. Especially when the safety of your iDevice is at risk.

Daily Functionality

This is where the LifeProof case struggles. Sure you can have full protection when swimming, running, mountain biking and snowboarding, but what about the other 8 hours of the day, when you are driving or walking around. I know the case is intended for protection against all environments, but I think a little extra care should go into making sure this user doesn’t suffer when wanting to actually use the device instead of just protecting it. I mean, if I was in a war, yeah, full body protection in a juggernaut outfit is awesome, but if I have to sit in one spot and never get around, that would defeat the purpose.

Swiping on the homescreen ended up being a challenge, as did typing. I would say that 65% of my usage would be recognized, while the rest was either delayed or unresponsive. Pressing down harder would usually solve this, but that didn’t feel natural. The buttons on the side proved to be a tad more difficult to as well. I just found myself trying to hard to both use the screen and to change the volume. The Mute button is damn near impossible to toggle. You can’t really tell you’ve initiated the mute/unmute feature until you see the icon on the screen.

The case is meant for protection, but I do feel the it loses some points with how much I had to struggle to use it in every day mode. I also had some trouble hearing the people on the other end of my phone calls. It took pressing the device hard against my face to fully hear. Speaker phone worked well, but people on the other end had some trouble hearing me. Wasn’t horrible call quality though.


When picturing a case that adds full protection, the LifeProof is the furthest thing from my mind. With the level that it offers, I am still blown away by the slick thin design. The ease of installation, including the videos, is a huge win for the case as well! The only con I can find with the LifeProof is when you need to use the phone, it is a chore. But if I was out snow boarding or at the beach, I can be sure that moisture and sand will never come in contact with my phone.

I recommend picking this case up if you are actively out and about doing some sporty things. As a nerd, I am not. But it is great to have in case I do get out to do something. I know that I can pop my iPhone in this case and not have to worry about its safety, and that is what LifeProof gives you, the peace of mind your iPhone will not be harmed. And at $79.99, that peace of mind doesn’t carry a heft price tag. It also comes in a variety of colors including pink, for all you ladies that throw your iPhones at your boyfriends and husbands.

I will have to point out that LifeProof does not offer any warranty whatsoever on hardware. If you follow instructions you shouldn’t have to worry, but if your devices suffers damage, you are on your own.

You can pick the LifeProof case up now for $79.99 via their website

Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 3.5/5


Thanks to LifeProof for the review sample!