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TKB Review: Lifeproof iPhone 4/4S Case

Waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, and snowproof case for the iPhone 4/4S. Adds only 1/16 of an inch to the width of the phone. $79.99, http://www.lifeproof.com

We recently received a few Lifeproof iPhone cases to try out at the TKB office. The Lifeproof case offers waterproof protection for your phone. It fits the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Our first impression of the Lifeproof iPhone case was disbelief. It’s very thin and adds very little bulk to an iPhone. It seems about the same thickness as typical non-waterproof cases. The only noticeable gain in size due to the case is in length – the case adds length at the bottom of the phone.

This case is easy to install as long as you are very careful about getting your phone as clean as possible and keeping the area completely dust free. Any dust on your phone or the inside of the case’s screen protector will drive you nuts in the future.

The case splits in half and clamps around your phone. It’s not designed to be opened and closed often. Due to the extra length of the case at the bottom, you may have trouble using dock connectors or aftermarket charging cables.

The Lifeproof case offers full functionality of your iPhone and doesn’t limit its use in any way. The case comes with a waterproof headphone adapter you can install after unscrewing a plug over the phone’s headphone connection.

There is a door at the bottom of the phone to allow access to the dock connector. Phone call quality seems totally unaffected by the case.

It took a little courage to do it, but we tested the Lifeproof case and found it to be completely waterproof. One member of our staff even went kiteboarding with his phone to take photos and video while he rode.

While we had no problem with it, we were a little concerned about the bottom door on the Lifeproof case. It simply snaps open and we would worry about it opening up during a large crash.

Pros:

  • Waterproof and sandproof protection for your iPhone. No need to worry about your phone at the beach.
  • Slim profile doesn’t add much bulk to your phone.

Cons:

  • Screen protector seems to lessen the sensitivity of the touch screen.
  • Door over the dock connector doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence to use while kitesurfing. It’s complete speculation on our part, but we would worry about it opening during a bad crash on the water.
  • The extra bulk can make it difficult or impossible to use dock connectors with your phone. You can still easily charge your phone using the Apple iPhone charging cable.

The Verdict:

The Lifeproof iPhone 4/4S case makes your phone waterproof and protects it from damage while adding little bulk. We tested it and found the waterproof claims hold up. If you want to ride with your phone, this will allow you to do that.

Even more useful than being able to kiteboard with your phone is the protection against accidental drops and spills. This case seems to offer few drawbacks and adds a layer of protection that many of us who spend a lot of time around the water really need.

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