Provides: iPhone 4 protection
Minimum Requirements: iPhone 4
Availability: Out now
If you need complete protection for your iPhone, Lifeproof offers the total package, claiming to protect your iPhone from water (up to two meters), snow and ice, dust, grime, and drops (again, up to two meters). The plastic case features a rubber gasket between the two halves to make it watertight, and a crystal clear cover that doesn’t interfere with the touch screen (even if you have another screen protector on underneath it). The headphone jack is covered either by a screw-in plug that covers the hole or by a headphone adapter that screws in as well, maintaining the seal.
What’s most remarkable is that all this protection doesn’t interfere with using the iPhone. Beyond the touch screen, clear plastic covers the front and back cameras. What’s most remarkable are the pads that cover the speakers and microphone, which let sounds out but stop water and dirt from getting in. The cameras, phone and speaker all functioned flawlessly, with no noticeable drop in quality. There’s a minor issue with the touchscreen, though; because of the pads that cover the ear speaker, the cover bows slightly, meaning it’s not fitted tightly across the screen. This means you have to press down slightly harder to use the touch screen (but just slightly), and if when typing quickly, more mistakes can happen. Also, the crystal-clear screen is highly reflective, adding to problems when using the iPhone in direct sunlight.
The dock port is covered by a latch that snaps tightly. Under the latch the plastic is fitted for an iPhone cable. Because the latch only flips back ninety degrees, if you’re using the old style iPod cable (wider, with the sides you have to push in to release), it can be a problem to remove the cable. If you’re using the new style cord, it slides out, no problem.
Lifeproof has a series of steps to make sure your phone is sealed in good and proper. The first is to put the case together (it closes with a satisfying snap) and submerge it for an hour. The Lifeproof was bone dry when I took it out. In the hand, the case has a matte feel, making it easy to grip without getting stuck in a pocket.
I’m astonished at how well the Lifeproof works. Not that it’s waterproof, but how well they’ve designed it so the protection doesn’t get in the way of the iPhone’s functionality. Wi-Fi, phone, and the music player all work with only the slightest of inconveniences. But the exchange for the amount of protection—water, snow, dirt, and drops—more than make up for that. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, or if you simply want total protection for your iPhone, the Lifeproof is the case you want.