MSRP: $79.99 (lifeproof.com)
By Helen Wilson
I remember my first cellular telephone. It was black, similar in size to a large VHF radio and if I stood at the top of a hill, with no trees anywhere in sight, it might just pick up enough reception to make a call. Phones have come a long way since then. Today’s smart phones can do just about anything that a computer can do.
Like many of you, I use an iPhone. And I’m pretty hard on it, as I’m sure many of you are too. Constant travel and at least 200 days a year on the water (typically the salty variety) is a wonderful like for a kayaker but a tough living for a phone. An iPhone without a case is a fragile thing, and I wouldn’t trust myself around a “naked” one. I want a case that is indestructible and waterproof. For me, that case is the LifeProof. I’ve been using this case for a couple of years now, and I love it.
The LifeProof case is designed to military specifications and is completely water and dust proof. Although I don’t actually swim with my iPhone, I do take it with me when I’m kayaking, use it in heavy rain and I’ve dropped it in the bath a couple of times. It is indeed waterproof. One thing that’s really nice about this case is its size. Many waterproof cases are huge, and the LifeProof Case is only slightly bulkier than non-waterproof cases, and it has full functionality. A nice perk is that the case comes in a bunch of different colors (mine is purple).
Of course, as with anything, there are some things that could be improved upon. First, the dust cover plug on the headset jack is removable. This means that when you plug in the headphone adapter or earphones you are left with a small, round piece that is very easy to lose. Without it, the case is no longer waterproof. Luckily, the case comes with a spare. Second, only some chargers fit through the charging port opening. You can purchase the LifeProof Dock Connector, but it’s an additional $29.99. Third, every now and then the buttons become difficult to push because air is trapped in the case. This is an easy fix. You open the part of the case that reveals the charging port, squeeze the air out by pressing firmly on both sides of the case (I squeeze it between my leg and my hand), and then you close the case. Fourth, the case does not float, although you can purchase the Lifejacket Float for an additional $39.99.
The case is advertised as being waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof and shockproof. All of which I agree with. In addition, I have found that it is sand proof.
In summary, the Lifeproof case is great for kayakers, outdoor people and anyone who uses, or abuses, an iPhone.
Helen Wilson lives in Arcata, California. She specializes in traditional paddling skills using traditional equipment. Helen performs rolling demonstrations, presentations and instructs at events worldwide and has produced two instructional DVDs, Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson and Yoga for Outdoor People. www.greenlandorbust.org.