LifeProof iPhone Case and Bike & Bar Mount Review

Gear Pro Reviews

LifeProof iPhone Case
The LifeProof iPhone 4/4S case is waterproof, snowproof, dustproof and shockproof, and protects the iPhone from abusive encounters with the environment and anything else you can toss at it. The case is around 1/16 inch thick, so it adds a tad more thickness than most other brands, but offers far more robustness and durability. The iPhone inserts tightly into the case, and then gets squeezed in snugly when the halves are closed together, and it takes some decent compression to get all the edges snapped completely shut and seal the waterproof gasket. Once everything is closed up tight, the case is immune to the average hazards tossed at it. To reopen the case, use a quarter or nickel to pry it open, and then it can be peeled apart, and the phone can be popped out. I opened and closed the case quite a few times, and it’s a pretty simple affair to do, just make sure the gasket is clean for complete waterproofness.

Using the touchscreen works pretty well, though on occasion, it takes additional effort to get the icons to work, as they can be less responsive. My kids could still play games on the phone, so I know that the interface was working decently enough for them to be entertained. It’s supposed to work with another screen protector underneath it, but I found the two protectors would stick together and cause clarity issues. In really bright light conditions, out in the full sunshine, the screen is a bit too glossy, and can make it more difficult to view things. The speaker and microphone covers utilize a Gore-Tex membrane, and they work surprisingly well, while still retaining their water and dirt protection qualities. While listening to music the back of the case works as a bass reinforcement device, and you can feel it slamming along like a mini subwoofer, and I thought that was a pretty trick feature. The buttons for volume work well, and the silence switch does its job, though it felt slightly stiff when used. To interface to the headphone jack, there is a watertight screw port, and a special adapter to run accessories, such as waterproof headphones. To use the power or docking port, you just flip the bottom closure flap down, and it’s accessed, although when inserting the plug, the flap gets in the way and there isn’t much maneuvering room due to the tolerances. I ran into an issue when trying to use my car power plugs to charge up the phone, as none of them would fit into the case’s tight recess, so I had to take the case apart to charge the iPhone. It was mildly annoying, but only took a few moments to take the case apart, as long as you had a large coin handy. I finally got a simple USB car charger that just allowed me to use the default iPhone plug, which fortunately doesn’t have any connection issues into the case.

I dropped the phone from 3 feet in the air, and it certainly seemed to offer considerable protection, but I didn’t test the extreme waterproofness (take it under water), so I’ll take their word on it. I got the unit into some hefty rain and snow storms, and plenty of dirt and mud have been thrown up on it, and it has been none the worse from the abuse.

Measured Specs:

  • iPhone Case – 31.7 grams

Conclusions
The slim case is rugged and abuse proof, and can offer some serious protection from drops, dirt and water, while still offering full access to the buttons, touchscreen, camera and phone. The touchscreen is too glossy, making it somewhat difficult to view in bright light conditions, and it can be tougher to engage icons and text, but the additional protection is worth the compromises, especially if you use the phone in adverse environments. It’s not cheap at $79.99, but I liked the case, and really appreciated that I don’t have to worry about babying my precious iPhone, as I know it’s well protected.

Pros:

  • Durable and rugged
  • Back of case offers sound reinforcement
  • Slim and light
  • Waterproof, snowproof, dustproof and shockproof

Cons:

  • Glossy screen can be difficult to view in bright light
  • Touchscreen can be less responsive
  • Power port recess is tight and might not fit all plugs – especially car chargers
  • Expensive

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

 

Follow Brian Mullin at http://www.gramslightbikes.com

LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case Specs:

  • MSRP: $79.99
  • Website: http://www.lifeproof.com/lifeproof-store/apple-cases/iphone-4-g2
  • Colors: black, pink, purple, white
  • Case Dimensions: 2.6″ (W) x 5.08″ (L) x 0.42″ (D) inner, 0.52″(D) outer edge (66mm (W) x 129mm (L) x 10.8mm (D), 13.3mm (D) outer edge)
  • Case Weight: 0.98 oz. (28g)
  • Operational Depth: 6.6 feet (2 meters) underwater maximum
  • Drop Height: 6.6 feet (2 meters) maximum
  • Protection
    • Protects against every-day hazards—full IP-68 rating against water and dust, and designed to Military Specifications
    • High degree of shock and impact protection—tested to Military Specifications MIL-STD-810F-516.5 (2 meters/6.6ft drop on all surfaces and edges. 26 tests)
    • Fully sealed protection against minute dust particles
  • Freedom
    • Ability to swim and take underwater (2 meters/6.6ft depth). Optional adapter allows use of waterproof headphones underwater
    • Mil-Spec protection that allows you to go anywhere, anytime, and do anything with carefree freedom
  • Beauty
    • Ultra-slim and adds only 1/16” (1.5mm) when measured from the center of the phone
  • Convenience
    • Weighs less than an ounce (28g).
    • Unique combination of materials that will not stick to your pocket
    • Compatible with all iPhone 4′s and 4S’s (International, AT&T and Verizon).
  • Full Functionality
    • Double AR-coated optical glass lenses provide unprecedented crystal-clear photo and video quality
    • All phone features are operational while maintaining a high level of protection
    • Improves the bass and mid-frequency speaker response by utilizing the back of the case as a sub-woofer for a richer, fuller sound.


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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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Wordpress Comments:

  • Jimmy CASANOVA says:

    This mount worked great on handicap scooters too! I have mine mounted on a pride
    Maxima 4 wheel scooter handle bars it’s awesome it’s just like having on bicycle great for
    My iPhone 4s

  • Mark says:

    Case works! BUT no costomer service.. Phone number is worthless no answer,same for twitter account! Bought second gen for 4s people I call have hard time hearing me! Siri can’t understand! Because of design of case I can’t use docking station and the company has a dock extender but it’s been out of stock for months!! Again worst part is lifeproof doesn’t answer any calls,inquires or twitter posts! Sure it works to keep water out but it’s worthless once your $400 phone is in it!! Horrible customer service! Don’t make the same mistake I did and buy this!!!

  • Almeister says:

    DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT waste $80.00 on a Lifeproof case! If you want to make your iPhone truly waterproof you may want to take a look at Liquipel. After seeing Liquipel demonstrated at CES I could not believe what I was seeing, an iPhone completely submerged underwater and fully functioning! The vendors even had some people call the iPhone while it was submerged to show that it was indeed still working. After seeing that I had my iPhone 4S sent out to them and when I got it back I wanted to put it to the test so I left my iPhone submerged in water overnight and as expected my iPhone was still functioning properly. For additional protection against drops I just put one of the many FREE iPhone cases that I scored at CES. It cost me $60.00 plus shipping to have Liquipel waterproof my iPhone. In my opinion this new technology essentially rendered Lifeproof cases OBSOLETE as far as waterproofing goes and if you’re worried about dropping your phone you can just get an inexpensive case for that. Take my word for it, this stuff really works. If you don’t believe me just check out their website http://www.liquipel.com they got videos of it in action. You can also do a search for them on YouTube, and you’ll see a bunch of videos that were taken at CES last month.

    • BonesDT says:

      First of all, Liquipel is not 100% guaranteed waterproof and as such it is advertised to be strictly for accidental water contact only. They firmly warn you not to try to test it. Lifeproof is designed to be purposely submerged in water to your delight.

      Second of all, how is spending $80 on a waterproof case “wasting money” compared to paying $60 for waterproofing and $X more for a separate protective case.

      Third of all, you have to relinquish your phone for a few days to get Liquipel’ed – something that is not an option for many people.

      However, I do appreciate your enthusiasm.

  • Matt says:

    Not bad, but way too many parts. Check out this case, http://www.rokform.com/cart/Rokbed-v3.html.

    To mount it on your bike, you only need this, (check out the video): http://youtu.be/VsuWqsaborc?hd=1

    Case and mount… that’s it. Awesome case, ridiculous quality and craftsmanship. Even better customer service! Rokform makes great iPhone cases! And it’s all made in the USA. Check them out: http://www.rokform.com

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Matt: Thanks for the info. Their case does not seem to be dirt or water proof? And I don’t see the new bike mount on their site?

      Almeister: I have seen that product for other things, jackets, etc. It does make it waterproof, but you’ll still need a case that can be dirt proof, and then a mount that works with the the tougher case.

    • Tom says:

      Rokform s nice..BUT ….. After using it for a few weeks the connection is becoming looser. The constant on and off on bike, then car then belt clip made this case pointless for me. Unless I just had bad plastic…..

  • Simon Pink says:

    It would be interesting to know what size the gimball socket was and if it would fit a Ram mount? if it were 1″ or 0.56″ then Ram do so many differne tmounts and clamps that would fit to an oversize stem to centrally mount it.

  • Darwin says:

    Lifeproof has a lot of complaints about the real reliability of their cases especially around water. Google it.

  • Boyd Hutton says:

    Do NOT purchase the LifeProof bike and bar mount for the iPhone 5 unless you enjoy watching your smartphone skid across the road into oncoming traffic. At the slightest bump or vibrations the clamp will eject your phone from the mount.

    I’m guessing they felt confident enough with their mount for the iPhone 4 and just lengthened it without actually testing it out. Unfortunately, it’s too flexy and flimsy to maintain proper clamping force to hold the phone in place.

    Mine ejected the LifeProof cased phone 3 times the first ride out before the fatal instance in which a car in oncoming traffic ran over my phone. The mount for the iPhone 5 is not worth trusting your phone with.

    • Steve says:

      Boyd – Are you locking the clamp on the mount? Look at the piece on the cradle that moves and holds the phone into the cradle. Look at the hinge point. Is it red or green? If it is green you don’t have it locked and that is why your phone is falling out. Push the lock from the right to left and it will turn red. Now the clamp is locked. If you try real hard by hand you can wedge your phone out of the cradle, but shocks and vibrations aren’t going to get it out.

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