LifeProof iPhone 5 Case Review

Would you do this to your phone?

LifeProof in Water

The LifeProof Frē

Checkout an updated version of this case here

LifeProof case for iPhone 5

LifeProof recently released their Frē case for the iPhone 5, so I picked one up to see what it was like.

LifeProof may call the case the Frē, but at $80 it certainly isn’t free, so I had high expectations for my first LifeProof case. Upon unboxing, you will find the two halves of the case, a cleaning cloth, an earphone extension and a keeper for the earphone plug.

LifeProof iPhone 5 package contents

Fitting the case to the phone is a straight forward process, but LifeProof recommends testing the case underwater for an hour before putting your phone in it. Once that’s out of the way you simply place the phone in the front half, and press the back half onto it.

LifeProof iPhone 5 insertion 1

LifeProof iPhone 5 insertion 2

LifeProof iPhone 5 insertion 3

LifeProof iPhone 5 Case

The Frē closes with a satisfying pop and then you can place the plug for the headphone port. That plug may be the biggest drawback of the case. You can tell that LifeProof does not mean for you to remove it very often (basically only to listen to tunes while skiing). For the rare times you do need to remove they have included a sealed extension cable. You can also use the connection cable to connect accessories that will no longer fit down the port into the headphone jack, which is all of them.

LifeProof iPhone 5 extension cable

Only cables as thin as the iPhone ear buds are will work directly with this case. If you like to listed to music frequently plan on some Bluetooth headphones or use AirPlay.

The port plug is pretty tiny so LifeProof has thoughtfully included a “keeper” and an extra port plug, in case you lose the original (which you will).

LifeProof iPhone5 Plug Keeper

Other than the headphone port, the LifeProof case is a joy to use. One of my biggest gripes about an Otterbox is just how huge it is. You can see from this picture just how much thinner the LifeProof case is than the OtterBox for the iPhone 5.

LifeProof iPhone 5 vs OtterBox

I have a hard time touching the edge of the screen with my fat fingers in the Otterbox, but its no problem in the LifeProof due to its flat front cover.

The Lightning Connector is housed behind an easy to operate door that seals when you close it. There is no provision for charging the phone while in a hostile environment, a reasonable design decision.

LifeProof iPhone 5 Lightning Connector

If you ever need to get the LifeProof case off your iPhone you can just use a coin to get it started and pull it off with your fingers.

LifeProof iPhone 5 removal with coin

In summary, the LifeProof Frē feels like the rugged case Apple would have designed for the iPhone 5 if they had done it themselves. The openings for the cameras, the mics, and the speakers line up perfectly due to the fact that LifeProof doesn’t finalize their designs until they have the final phone in their hands.

LifeProof iPhone 5 Design and Engineering

This means the cases are never available at launch, but if you have the money and are tired of putting your iPhone in a sandwich bag, the LifeProof Frē may be the case for you. It’s thin and light, tough and rigid. The LifeProof case is the best rugged case for the iPhone 5.

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