Smart phones are super handy tools for anglers these days…for things like checking river flows, taking pictures of your buddy’s fish (and going world wide with it on various social media sites), finding your way to the launch ramp, checking the weather…and, heck, even making phone calls. But these things are typically designed for the city slicker, not the outdoor enthusiast. A little splash or drop in the sand can kill a smartphone dead.
But LIFEPROOF has an interesting new entry into the iPhone case market that claims to be waterproof to 6.6 feet (you can shoot underwater video with it!),and is also impervious to snow, sleet, mud, sand, dust and grime…and shockproof as well.
Rather than get to into all the fancy features of the case, I figured I’d just give you the info you’re looking for: How does it hold up to those claims?
Well, let me start by giving you my credentials: I am the worst when it comes to destroying cell phones. Or, perhaps a better way to put it would be: I am the world’s best trasher of cell phones.
As a fishing guide, I always have wet hands…and they’re not just wet with water, either. I’m constantly picking up my phone with hands covered in fish slime, borax, blood, roe, sardines, various oil-based fish scents, etc. With those wet hands, I also drop the thing at least twice a day, which has resulted in several broken screens.
Of course, my phones also get exposed to plenty of water in the form of rain and boat spray. I’ve dropped a few of them in the drink too, while netting fish or winching the boat back on the trailer. And don’t even get me started about the times I’ve set my phone down in the side trays of the boat and then proceeded to completely hose the thing out. Argh!
And that’s before I even take a call. Since I’m out in the sun all the time, my face is always liberally lubed up with sun block…whenever I press the phone to my cheek to make a call, it gets completely slimed with 50 SPF.
Bottom line: I’m qualified to put the LIFEPROOF through its paces.
The “Guide” Test
This case has been on fishing trips in every type of weather you can imagine, where all it’s “proofs” got tested. Sideways rain on the North Coast, a couple good dousings in rapids and a few drops (on concrete and diamond plate) and the phone is alive and well! I even had it slip outta my pocket while hopping out of the boat…SPLASH! For a second I panicked, seeing my phone on the river bed 3 feet down, but case held true…not a drop of water in there! A good reason to buy a white case, by the way…so you can see it on the bottom!
When drifting eggs for steelhead, I got several calls and answered with borax and egg coated hands without incident. I’ve talked on the phone at the fillet table, and all sorts of entrails have gotten on the thing. Guts and gore all wash off without a problem. It’s also great in that I can take fish pictures for clients without worrying about my phone getting wet.
Last week, the weather was crazy nice in San Francisco and I took the kids to the beach where we played tackle football in the sand. I had the phone in my back pocket where it got pounded a few times when I fell and totally sandblasted. No issues!
Well, all I have to say is this is one bad-ass case! If I can’t kill it, nobody can. It’s totally solved all my issues of being outdoors in the elements and, at the same time, needing to have a smart phone. I only wish they’d make a floating version! :)
Now that we’ve established that the LIFEPROOF case is exactly that, let’s take a quick look at the fit and finish:
The first thing that you’ll notice is the case isn’t big and bulky like other models. The tolerances on the case are so tight that it doesn’t increase the size of your phone by much. In fact, a “naked” iPhone is a bit too small in my hands and, when in the case, it actually fits better.
It’s also got a nice “grippyness” to it that makes it easy to hang onto and sticks to the center console or dash of my truck without sliding. But it’s not too sticky — I’ve had some cases that I damn near couldn’t get out of my pocket.
Despite it’s nearly bulletproof shell, my iPhone 4S works perfectly inside the Lifeproof case — the touch screen feels normal and I can hear calls and music just fine.
Perhaps the only downside is the fact that to get to your headphone jack, you have to unscrew a watertight cap. But to make it “life proof,” there’s just no other way. The case It comes with a headphone jack extender so you can plug in any of your other devices…just don’t lose the extension!
I’m extremely impressed with the the LifeProof case and actually canceled my insurance on my phone after I used it for awhile. They’re not cheap: about $80, but in my world, it’s the only way to go.
For more, go to LifeProof.com