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Wednesday
Sep072011

LifeProof Waterproof Case for iPhone 4 Review

We love tough cases here on Gadgetmac and even reviewed quite a few of the most known ones out there. LifeProof has been one of those cases that you just had to see it for yourself to truly believe in what it advertises itself to be. The LifeProof case for the iPhone 4 might be the most incredible case that has come out for those who live their lives on the extreme. We're talking complete and total waterproof capabilities and much more that comes with that too. It meets military standards for protecting your iPhone 4 against water, dirt, snow, dust, sand and impacts. Going out snorkeling up to 6.6ft deep while using your iPhone 4 to take HD video seems like a great and inexpensive idea now.

Have you seen those few overly bulky waterproof cases? Yeah, I wouldn't want to be investing in only for their waterproof capabilities. If you're like me, you should jump past the break for the full review!

The LifeProof case is compatible with both the AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4 and it will run you $69.95. You can pick it up in black, white, pink and purple colors that are also available to purchase separately should you want to mix and match.

All of the glorious specs and descriptions aren't nearly as awesome when you realise just how slim this case really is. This is also one of the LifeProof's highest selling point in that it's pretty much the slimmest waterproof case around. Opening the LifeProof case apart reveals the magic behind the way the LifeProof case works. A yellow rubber gasket around the back half part of the case that is the main factor in how your iPhone 4 remains dry. The LifeProof creates a watertight seal once your iPhone 4 is fitted tightly within the case while the back panel is tightly snaps onto the rest of the case. I'm glad that the installation couldn't be any easier. Ports and buttons are all covered and sealed as well while remaining easy to use and press. You'll need to unscrew the low-profile watertight headphone port plug before you can slip your iPhone 4 inside.

There is a downside to all this watertight sealing however. LifeProof includes a 3.5mm headphone plug adapter that is also watertight once screwed into the LifeProof case so you can use your own waterproof earbuds to listen to some tunes while taking a swim. It also comes with an extra headphone plug that is conveniently attached to the cable itself so you won't lose it. The drawback here is that you must always use the specially designed headphone adapter even if you want to use your iPhone 4 normally to listen to music because absolutely no headphone plugs will be able to fit in the cutout without using the included screw-in adapter. Not the most convenient solution, but it isn't all that bad considering you're using a waterproof case.

Even though this case is fully watertight, there are specially designed membranes that allow for audio to pass thru even underwater. As for the quality, yes you'll notice a slight audio level degradation but nothing that will hinder your iPhone 4 useless for everyday use. It's a tiny price to pay given the fact that you've got the slimmest waterproof case out there. 

Another watertight seal is found at the bottom where a foam-like pad is used instead of a rubber gasket to seal up your iPhone 4's dock connector port using a hinged door cover that can easily be opened for charging and syncing without having to remove the LifeProof. The only drawback to this opening is that it is extremely small and will only fit the Apple Dock Connector cable.

The LifeProof sports a built-in, anti-scratch crystal clear screen shield that makes your home button feels even better with this case on. At first glance, it looks like as if the screen shield has been air vacuumed tightly onto the front of the iPhone 4 like a piece of meat. But if you notice, there are some bits that aren't completely flat and even creating even more glare on top of that glossy screen. Unlike what Griffin has done when it added a matte screen shield built into the Survivor case, the LifeProof's screen shield isn't anti-glare nor does it have any grainy coating added to minimize glare. While outside, you'll notice a bit more glare hitting your screen because of the slight unevenness in the shield. I found that this wasn't an issue while using it in-doors. 

Like any other built-in screen film, you'll need to get used to the "resistive touch feeling" it creates. Instead of having that feeling when pressing against a naked glass screen, you'll find yourself having to press more than you're used to while using the multi-touch screen. It's also worth noting that with any waterproof case, you won't be able to use your touchscreen while underwater. Not a problem when taking a shower though. Just so you know.

Around the back of the LifeProof is where the glass covered back facing camera eagerly awaited to help you shoot in your next adventure. The LifeProof isn't just a great waterproof case, it can also keep your iPhone 4 protected from drops and scuffs with its semi-rubber construction that feels extremely solid yet slim at the same time. It's quite a contradiction, but for some reason I feel like I can trust the LifeProof with my iPhone 4 to keep it safe. You might not believe it until you hold it in your hand and experience its might gripping ability and all-weather protection.

So does the LifeProof really stand up to its proof-abilities? Does it pass the waterproof test? Yes, with flying colors! It's as waterproof as a submarine. 

Overall, LifeProof's LifeProof case does work as advertised and will flawlessly keep your iPhone 4 protected against water and drops. Heck it's even good enough to be used as an everyday case since it's such a slim case without very little to be compromised to such protection. Of course I cannot recommend the LifeProof to just about anyone. It comes with its own downsides that you just might have to take if you're after such protection while keeping the bulk to a sleek and minimal form. Having said that, unless you really need waterproof protection, the LifeProof case wouldn't serve you all that well. The screen shield is in need of improving. 

Lifeproof.com

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