There were a lot of really cool innovative things at the Winter Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake a month ago. I had an invitation to stop by a booth for a company called LifeProof. They make cases for iPhones. Not just any case mind you, shock proof and waterproof. I have friends that have those Otter Box iPhone cases that do indeed protect the phone from shattering when you accidentally drop it on the floor or keep it from getting wet when you accidentally drop it in the toilet, because you just can’t pause your internet/email/text/words-with-friends addiction long enough to void your bladder. The problem is that most of these cases are huge. No way that I’m going to buy a nice sleek phone then shove a giant case around it and somehow fit it back into my pocket.
So I was standing in their booth at OR and the salesman showed me his phone in the LifeProof case then tossed it across the booth; letting it bounce and bang around for effect. Next, he took me to a water tank and dropped the phone in. I noticed there aren't any bubbles coming out of the case, no air escaping and water rushing in. He pulled out his phone and showed me that everything is still working; impressive to say the least.
I’ve had my LifeProof case for a few weeks. The surrounding plastic is surprisingly thin, but absorbs shock very well. I was a little worried that the case would add a lot of bulk to the phone. The case only adds about 1/8” to each of the sides and top, and 1/4 “ to the bottom, where you plug the charger in. I think the plastic screen cover might decrease the touch screen sensitivity a very minor amount, not enough to really notice or bother you. I haven’t seen any problems, even when typing out a quick text or email. Sound quality is great and ability to use the various buttons is not diminished at all. The case even comes with a waterproof headphone adapter that maintains the waterproof integrity between the cord and the phone/case. You can buy a fully waterproof headphone cord for use with a underwater headphones. Couple that with the optional arm band and you can take your iPhone along for all the lap swimming you’re heart desires (you are doing your swim workouts aren't you?). As a bonus, this will allow you the freedom to pause mid- workout to answer a call.
I decided to test out the durability in some good harsh conditions and took my phone with me to snowshoe/climb a local mountain. Since the GPS feature of my phone is a necessity in these circumstances, I would normally use some sort of waterproof bag to make it easier to use the touch screen. The LifeProof case not only held up, even after dropping it a few times while fumbling clumsily with gloved hands, but it was a welcome relief to not be concerned when it began to snow heavily. I was still able to frequently check our location (not that I ever get off course) without worrying about damaging my phone.
I also got the optional bike mount attachment so that I can take advantage of the many iPhone GPS apps to track my ride. The connection to the bike is really easy to pop on and off so you don’t even have to have the extra adapter permanently stuck on your bike when you just want to go for a mellow recovery ride.
The LifeProof case retails for $79.99 on their website www.LifeProof.com and they also have options for iPads. The cost is only a little more than most other iPhone cases and you get so much more. I might even let my kids hold my phone with their grubby little hands now.