When I bought my beloved iPhone last year I was petrified that I would drop it one day, not least because I am probably the clumsiest person in the world. I know so many people who have dropped their iPhone resulting in cracked screens or worse. So before we embarked on our South American adventure I looked into iPhone protection cases and came across the Lifeproof iPhone case over at The Blonde Abroad. It sounded perfect for what I was after, so I have tested the case to the max over the past seven months to see if it lives up to the hype. So read on for my ultimate Lifeproof iPhone Case review:
When you are backpacking with electronic kit it is not always easy to protect everything. Backpacks get thrown down from a bus roof, cocktails get spilled over tables, or you get caught in a tropical downpour. I was planning on doing a lot of adventure-type activities in South America and wanted to use my iPhone to capture these moments on camera. However when you go white-water rafting, rock climbing or mountain biking, the last thing you want to do is to take your precious iPhone with you in case it gets wet, dirty or falls out of your pocket. So what to do? You buy a protection case, that’s what! Most cases I came across only protected the back of the phone, so if you drop it the screen could still crack. I then tried a businessy-looking leather case that protected the back of the phone and also had a fold over cover for the front. This was fine, but it was annoying having to open the latch of the cover all the time, plus it still wasn’t waterproof. And then I tried the Lifeproof iPhone case.
Lifeproof claims that their cases are water, snow, shock, dirt and dust proof and that the case is designed to military specifications. It has a high degree of shock and impact protection and can survive a 2m/6.6ft drop on all surfaces and edges. In the water it is also fully submersible to 2m/6.6ft, so you could swim with your iPhone and take it underwater for up to 60 minutes. It weighs less than an ounce (28g) and the case adds a mere 1.5mm increase to each edge of your phone, so it hardly increases the size of your phone at all. It even includes a headphone adaptor and a headphone jack cover so that even if you have attached your headphones, no water or dust can penetrate the phone. Sounds good, right? Let’s see how it all panned out:
When I told another backpacker over a drink about the shock proof quality of the case she promptly took my phone, said ‘Oh really? That’s so cool’ and then dropped the phone from her bar stool without a warning. I nearly had a heart attack when she did that, as I hadn’t tested the drop claim up to this moment. However when I jumped off my bar stool in a panic to check the phone everything was ok. No scratches, no cracked screen and all apps were still fully functional. I have also since dropped the phone twice, once while trekking in Peru and once it fell off my hostel bed (have I mentioned that I am clumsy?), but no damage was done in either event. RESULT: PASS
There is probably no dustier place in the world than a desert, so when I went sandboarding in Huacachina, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test Lifeproof’s dust proof theory. I lost count of the amount of times I fell over while sandboarding (yes I am really that clumsy!) and not only did my iPhone survive all the falls, but it also didn’t have a single dust or sand speck inside the case. Unlike my pockets, my DSLR camera protection case and even my ears which had sand in them for a full week afterwards. RESULT: PASS
I took my iPhone with me during my bike ride down the world’s most dangerous road. For those of you who have read the story you may recall that it was hammering it down with rain throughout the entire bike ride and that combined with various unwanted showers from waterfalls along the way meant that I got absolutely soaked and so did the pocket my iPhone was in. I left my DSLR camera in the bus throughout the entire bike ride and only took photos with my iPhone, as I didn’t want my DSLR to get wet, but even in the wettest conditions my iPhone stayed dry thanks to the Lifeproof case.
The second occasion where I could really test the case’s waterproof ability was at the Oruro Carnival in Bolivia earlier this year. During carnival in Bolivia it is tradition to have water and foam fights with each other and if you are a gringa you pretty much become the number one target for every single water bomb and foam bottle in the country. It was another one of those occasions where I didn’t want to take my DSLR camera with me as I feared that the water and foam would damage it, so I only took my iPhone with me to capture those crazy foam fights. Thankfully my Lifeproof case didn’t disappoint again and despite all the water and foam that hit my phone, everything inside the case stayed dry. RESULT: PASS
A point of criticism from me is that there seems to be a slight delay when I want to take photos with my iPhone camera because of the case, but once you get used to the microscopic delay it is very easy to work around it. There is though no delay when I tap on any other apps. The quality of the sound coming out of the speakers is also a bit reduced which is to be expected, however when I listen to the music through my headphones the sound is excellent.
Overall I am hugely impressed with this case though. As a backpacker and humanitarian I am constantly exposed to extreme environments and this iPhone case has proven to be a highly valuable addition to my kit list. At a retail price of US$79.99 the case is not cheap, but I personally believe it is worth every single penny. The Lifeproof iPhone case has passed my ultimate backpacker test and I would highly recommend this phone to any traveller or person who works in extreme environments.
I hope you found the Lifeproof iPhone case review useful. I’d also be interested to hear if there are any other people out there as clumsy as me. Perhaps we can form a support group. 🙂
DISCLAIMER: Lifeproof kindly provided me with a free iPhone case for this review. As usual, all opinions remain my own though and you get my honest review for every product that I test.