LifeProof: A Really, Really Protective iPhone Case

By  |  Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm

The most memorable demo here at Launch was for a product category which you might not think could inspire a memorable demo: a new iPhone case. A guy in a magician-like tux strode on stage to the strains of classical music, took an iPhone that belonged to a judge, put it in a case from a startup called LifeProof, dropped it repeatedly, squirted it with ketchup and mustard, doused it in dirt, then dumped it into an aquarium. Thanks to the case, the phone appeared to take the licking and keep on ticking. The presentation also included a video clip shot by an iPhone 4–an iPhone 4 that was being used underwater.

Durable phone cases are nothing new–hello, OtterBox!–but I don’t know of another one which resists shock, water, and other hazards while looking pretty much like a nicely-designed-but-otherwise-garden-variety iPhone case. (The most noticeable signs that LifeProof atypical: There’s a little plug that protects the headphone jack, and a flip-down cover on the dock connector.) LifeProof is thin, weighs an ounce, and lets you use the iPhone without removing it from the case or otherwise going through a bit of hassle.

The company is also doing an iPad case and one for the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and says that it’s working on versions for Android and BlackBerry phones.

I like the LifeProof concept–I’m enough of a butterfingers that I’d consider using one simply to protect my phone from Diet Coke spills, tumbles onto the pavement outside my car, and other hazards of suburban life. The price, however, feels a tad steep: The iPhone 4 version goes for $69.95, or roughly $40 more than a plain-vanilla iPhone case. (Then again, I’ve spent $50 on protective computer cases that are nowhere near as protective as LifeProof.) Are you tempted?


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30 Comments For This Post

  1. Rob Says:

    The price is too high, and I imagine the price for an iPad case will be higher still. However, my wife carries her iPad in a soft bag and lets the kids, including the three year old (with supervision), use it. We bought a nice case for it, which has a flip top which creates a stand at multiple angles, but it won't protect the iPad from spills. A LifeProof case might well be an excellent insurance policy.

  2. KnittingFits Says:

    I'm VERY tempted!!! Seeing what it would cost to replace the iPhone4, the price isn't that bad. What I really need to see first is the bottom to determine docking options. But this may be a purchase that I made REAL soon!!!
    Do you have any pics of the bottom?

  3. susan Says:

    If you go on and look at the Figaro video, you can see inside and bottom of the case.

  4. allan Says:

    Are you joking, you get a split second view of the bottom

  5. Luke Says:

    This case is amazing so far. The sounds are a little lower with it on! But well better than expected for being completely water proof. As for docking, forget about it. The onlynwaymto connect it is by apple wired charger that comes with the phone. Even if there were an adapter, the clip that makes the bottom water tight is in the way.

  6. Susan Says:

    It looks absolutely wonderful! What's the realistic timeframe for the release of the product?

  7. allan Says:

    It seems to me that they have put all their efforts into not showing the case up close.

  8. Dave Says:

    That much protection in a case THAT thin is incredible.

  9. Chris Says:

    I have one and it works, i have dropped it repeatedly on to concrete and granite from about 5 feet, plus i left it in a bowl of water overnight. and it still works flawlessly. Last year i dumped 3 phones into the toilet at a replacement cost to me of $1500 so i'm good with the price.

  10. richard maccini Says:

    Since you have one … Does the case screen fit snug against the phone? In the video it looks like the case screen has lots of bubbles. I'm thinking of buying one. Thanks!

  11. Luke Says:

    You can actually put your lips around he ear piece and suck the air out. Works great and no bubbles at all.

  12. Jennifer Says:

    Could you answer the question above on how easily the charger connects?

  13. OMB Says:

    Ah, but is it FIRE proof. Lovely case, I'm excited to buy one.

  14. rob Says:

    this case is not available for sale yet.

  15. Mario Says:

    It is available, yet there is currently a back order.

  16. John Says:

    My only question is also docking abilities. They offer a connector extender I think for 19 bux so you can use your docks, but I feel that to be a tad high and unfair. I have a dock that works with most cases from Orion Gadgets, but there is no dock that will work with this because of the way the hatch on the bottom opens. They need that hatch to open to the front so you don't need the connector in most cases. As for the price, I've bought so many cases and hated them all, it's moot. One other thing though is the camera. Cases with certain openings in the back reflect the flash and cause washout around the outer areas of the photo. I have found no case, (despite what makers say), that doesn't have this problem unless there is no back and/or a very slim clear back. Any experience with this problem folks?

  17. BoyBoy Says:

    I'm getting mine during July and I can't wait to see how durable it is 🙂 Will update you guys about how good this case is. 🙂

  18. Sean D. Says:

    An iPhone4 insurance policy costs $11.99/ mo for 24 months, which equals $287.76. And, if something does go wrong, you have to deal with being without a phone and getting a replacement (ie. hassle). And I don't think that the policy covers everything that could go wrong. $70 for a case that will last for more than 2 years is a no-brainer; and it's paid for itself in 6 months. It's almost like they are paying you $200+. How many times have you dropped your phone and thought "is it dead?" I'm on the pre-order list.

  19. Blake E. Says:

    The cases faults have not been ironed out, as much as they would like to convince us otherwise. People cannot hear me when I talk, and I cannot carry it on my hip. I have to put it in my pocket, but I do not carry my phone that way, ever. When I tried to return it, The Packing List tell you you need a Return Authorization Number and send you to a webpage to see their return policy. That webpage gives you their return policy, but send you to another webpage to get support. Their support page is no help and is full of forum questions. I called the number on the side, no one picks up and I do not even know if I am calling the right company. I email them and no one emails me back. Someone else in the forum complained about this problem and they directed them to send an email to and I emailed them there as well. I have not heard back form them.

    So even if you like the case, just know, you are stuck with it and cannot return it if your Life depended on it. Keep that in mind before you purchase.

  20. Luke Says:

    If this is true, then buy it at best buy. They have a great return policy.

  21. Erdal Says:

    I've been using this case for the past 3 weeks, I went to the beach in Hawaii, I threw the phone in the sand, put it underwater, took pictures and videos, I've dropped it purposely a couple of time on concrete and marble stone. I have no problem what so ever, I recommend this case to everyone if they can afford $70

    The only thing I can mention when your talking on the phone if your not on the headset, the sound is slightly different. If you use waterproof headset there's no problem, another thing is that you can only charge the phone with an apple iphone charger, no other charger fits in the slot while the case is on.

  22. julie Says:

    will this work for 3g i phones

  23. Jimmy Says:

    I just bought the case- not bad but my aftermarket chargers won’t fit the slot. Guess the case is going back to the store. The plastic screen cover also bubbles out a tad bit which takes getting used to. Too bad the chargers won’t fit- otherwise it seems pretty good.

  24. Robert Says:

    Nice concept. But not yet ready for market in my opinion. I have two of these cases.

    One case had a bad headphone jack out of the box – I called and emailed but no answer to telephone calls or email. So support is bad.

    The other case has bad wear on the speaker membrane – you can see through it. Ditto above for support – no response.

  25. jeff Says:

    Great case but you cannot plug your charger in to it!

  26. JDPhilly Says:

    yes its awesome. does everything it says….very well. the case is truly life proof, SO life proof you can not plug your charger, the car adapter or even your Apple headphones in it without an attachment…I did find dock extenders for $12 though… I think if they address accessibility in version three it would rate the 79 dollars or whatever….so far customer service has been invisible as I have attempted a return to no avail. a free dock extender might take some of the sting out of it, and make the headphone jack AT LEAST fit apple headsets….. thought about drilling the headset out a little, definitely would void the warranty

  27. lui951 Says:

    I’m confused by your claim. I have the lifeproof case and both my Apple charging cord and earbuds work fine. I keep reading about aftermarket chargers not fitting but how is it that your Apple “headset” doesn’t? Is this different than the earbuds?

  28. Brodie Says:

    I've had mine for a few months, I am a happy camper. I found out right away that the microphone is muffled when speaking into the thing. The quick fix is to open the charging door. Just be mindful that with that door open the thing is ready to swallow water big time if dropped into a puddle. If you need to make calls while in the rain I would suggest using a blue tooth ear piece. It works great with my SENA blue tooth helmet system while i am on the motorcycle. The iPhone is mounted on the bike and used as a GPS/music/phone/voice recording device. I can't wait till they come out with an iPad LifeProof case – now that would be a Garman killer between the handlebars.

  29. Bob Says:

    I have the newer 4s version and absolutely love it. I was worried about muffled sound but so far I can hear and be heard loud and clear. I don't "dock " my iphone so that doesn't bother me. You can use the apple earbuds without the adapter….But i have a nice sennheiser set that require it… it is a bit of a pain but I don't mind considering the functionality of this case. Can't say anything about customer service since i haven't had to call them. I also love that the case is not rubberized(otterbox defender) …I could never get it out of my pocket. All I have to say is this is an awesome case.

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