In the past using an all-encompassing protective iPhone cases meant sacrificing the sleek Apple aesthetic for a larger cases such as an Otterbox Defender. In the past cases designed to protect from more severe hazards tended to be bulky. Today’s review item helps change that by allowing your iPhone to face water, dust, snow and shock all in a svelte housing.
The LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case is a totally protective case that adds only 1/16” and 28 grams to the iPhone 4/4S. It is thoroughly waterproof including over the mics and speakers and can work at a depth of 6.6 ft. Lifeproof also added a scratch resistant screen protector and anti-reflective optical glass lens for the camera. The case itself is composed of a shock absorbing elastomer allowing it to absorb the impact of a traumatic blow instead of the iPhone 4/4S.
Lifeproof ships the iPhone 4/4S Case in a black cardboard package with a picture of the case covering an iPhone as it falls into some muddy looking water. On the back are two more images of the case housing an iPhone along with a picture of the headphone adapter and listing of features of “proofs” as this company likes to call it.
The front of the box flips up to reveal the case through a plastic window on the main section while the inside of the flip cover describes the levels of protection provided by the LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case.
The package’s sides show the actual profile size of the LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case.
The case is designed to fit both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S so there is only one model to select. However there are several color choices available including black/black, pink/gray, purple/black, white/gray, blue/black, green/black, orange/black, teal/black and red/black. For today’s review we received the white/black version.
Opening the package we see the case with a headphone adapter nestled in a recyclable cardboard holder. Behind the front of the case is a cleaning clothing, an information sheet and the back of the LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case.
The back cover features a large O-ring which rests in a channel on the periphery that is designed to seal the back of the case making the LifeProof case waterproof. This O-ring is the key to making the LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case protect your iPhone from the elements. It is utterly important to keep it clean at all times or else your iPhone will not be totally safe. Also found on the back is a latch for covering the dock connector. Two lens windows cover the camera and flash of the iPhone 4/4S.
The top of the case has a screw on headphone jack cover when tightened makes this access point water and dust proof as well. A headphone adapter is provided which screws in place of this cover but does not provide a watertight seal.
For those wanting additional accessories Lifeproof also sells a belt clip and bike mount along with waterproof headphones and a spare headphone adapter.
After this test you will need to separate the front from the back to install the iPhone 4/4S. Removing the case requires care as not to bend or damage the water resistant capabilities of the LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case. Installation of the iPhone 4/4S requires careful cleaning of the entire phone along with a vigilant inspection of the case’s interior. A speck of dirt, hair or dust can impede the waterproof seal. This information is repeatedly stressed on the video and in the downloadable manual. If you don’t wish to waterlog your iPhone, then I would recommend you heed this information.
Once housed inside the LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case the iPhone 4/4S gains a slight increase in height and some width. On the face are waterproof openings for the camera, proximity sensor, and microphone; a cover replicates the home button’s appearance as well. On the back of the case is an embossed LifeProof logo along with icons for the four “proofs”. The camera and flash are covered by anti-reflective optical glass lens.
On the top of the case are the power button and a screw covering the headphone jack. To use your headphones you will need to attach the included headphone connector cable then screw it into the case. The left side of the case covers the volume and the mute switch. Activating the silence switch works in the opposite direction to the iPhone.
Flipping down the protective latch accesses the dock connector. One drawback to this case is you will need to use the standard Apple dock connector cable instead of a dock.
For testing I used the LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case at the beach and during vacation. I was able to test its ability against water, dust and shock; since it is summer the snow testing will have to wait until December. The case worked as advertised as my iPhone 4S well protected from debris and sand when exposed to those elements. In the past I would avoid taking my iPhone 4S out during water sports but with the LifeProof in place there was no worry.
The lens protecting the camera was sharp and crystal clear, as photos taken with it in placed looked exactly the same as ones shot with the naked iPhone 4S.
Underwater the camera was well-protected and shot excellent video as well. My friend Carmelo Sottile helped shoot this scene while scuba diving in the Dominican Republic.
While it is not the perfect protective case it excels at working in water as long as all the seals are checked and maintained by the user. It helps turn the delicate Apple phone into a GoPro like action camera.
For those who like switching their iPhone 4 cases like they change clothes then the LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case may not be the right choice as it requires some effort for installation and removal. However, the LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case is the ideal case for those who lead an active lifestyle and wish to keep their iPhones safe from most every kind of danger.
+Works well underwater
-Removal can be tedious
-Requires headphone jack adapter
-Cannot charge with dock
-Screen protector could be better
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