iPhone 6(s+)

Go Fre or Go Nuud? Which waterproof iPhone case should you get? LifeProof Fre vs LifeProof Nuud – iPhone 6 cases

LifeProof Fre vs LifeProof Nuud, which is better?

Find out which one is better in our LifeProof Fre vs LifeProof Nuud Review

Today we’re going to do a comparison between the LifeProof Fre and the LifeProof Nuud. Both of these cases are slim and tough but in our opinion there are 5 differences that you need to know about before choosing between the Fre and Nuud. We’ve already done full reviews for both of these cases so if you need more detailed information, check out the links below:

LifeProof Nuud Review – iPhone 6/6 Plus
LifeProof Fre Review – iPhone 6
LifeProof Fre vs. LifeProof Nuud – iPhone 5/5S

Based on our time with both these waterproof iPhone cases, we give our hat tip to the Nuud mostly because we’re not a big fan of plastic screen protectors (especially ones like the ones on the LifeProof Fre). The lack of screen protector also improves the usage of your iPhone inside the Nuud which is why we’ve given it a score of 4 Eh’s out of 5 where as the LifeProof Fre scored 3.75 Eh’s out of 5. These cases generally do better than the Siedio Obex, Dog & Bone Wetsuit but if you’re looking for a comparable case, the Catalyst Waterproof is worth checking out!

So in our LifeProof Fre vs LifeProof Nuud review, you’re going to find the 5 differences written out. We’ve also got a video for the 5 differences (linked above). For a list of all the waterproof iPhone cases that we’ve reviewed, check out our comparison tool!

 LifeProof FreLifeProof Nuud
 
Header
(out of 5)

Full Review

(out of 5)

Full Review
PricePrice:
$79.99 USD

Price:
$89.00 USD (iPhone 6)
$99.00 USD (iPhone 6 Plus)

Similar Cases
Top Buy Buttons
ProsPros:
- Very thin for a shockproof/waterproof case
- Feels well-built
Pros:
- Very slim for a tough waterproof iPhone case
- No screen protector!
- Includes a threaded headphone jack extension
ConsCons:
- Back scratches easily
- Screen protector diffuses iPhone 6’s Retina HD screen
- Rain-bowing effects still exist
- Glare from screen protector 

- You can only use Apple sized accessories
Cons:
- No screen protector!
- Not as tough as other waterproof cases due to extra o-rings
- Lowers iPhone's sound level
Potential ProblemsPotential Problems:
- O-ring falls out of the ridge easier than other cases so make sure its seated properly
- Gasket that sits in the latch can fall out
- High drops may result in the case cracking
Potential Problems:
- Potential for water damage if the seals on the Nuud aren't kept clean
Design Rating
DESIGN

(LifeProof Fre)
DESIGN
(LifeProof Nuud)
Weight/BulkWeight/Bulk (4.75/5):
- LifeProof Fre is very slim when compared to other tough cases
Weight/Bulk (4.5/5):
- Keeps the shape of the iPhone 6/6 Plus
- Lightweight
- Slightly bigger than the LifeProof Fre (just by a sliver)
InstallEase of Installation (4.5/5):
- Fairly easy to take apart/install
- O-ring pops out easier so take care when installing the case
Ease of Installation (5/5):
- Installation requires you to snap two pieces together (real easy!)
- Taking the case apart doesn't require a coin (its easier with a coin)
- Headphone plug is attached to the case
Build QualityBuild Quality (3.5/5):
- Despite the great fit, the back of the case scratches easily
- The LifeProof Fre broke during a 6ft drop (LifeProof did provide a warranty case)
Build Quality (4/5):
- It isn't generally compatible with 3rd party screen protectors
- Feels solid
Protection Rating
PROTECTION

(LifeProof Fre)
PROTECTION
(LifeProof Nuud)
Shock ProtectionShock Protection (3/5):
- Drop-rated to 6.6 ft (standard for shockproof cases)
- Case didn’t come apart during drops
Shock Protection (3/5):
- Average drop protection at 6.6ft/2m
Water/Dust ProtectionWater/Dust Protection (3/5):
- Waterproof up to a depth of 6.6ft
- LifeProof doesn’t provide a headphone jack extension that allows you to use waterproof headphones with the case
Water/Dust Protection (3/5):
- Average water protection at 6.6ft/2m
- Headphone jack extension is threaded ensuring a waterproof seal
Screen ProtectionScreen Protection (4/5):
- Thick plastic screen protector
- Protected the iPhone’s screen from face first drops on a rocky parking lot
Screen Protection (3.5/5):
- LifeProof includes an optionally installable screen protector
- Fairly thick
Functionality Rating
FUNCTIONALITY

(LifeProof Fre)
FUNCTIONALITY
(LifeProof Nuud)
iPhone FunctionalityiPhone Functionality (4/5):
- Cutouts for the lightning port and headphone jack will fit only Apple-sized accessories
- Sound is slightly muted
- Small hack that allowed you to attach a wrist-strap has been removed
- Touch ID membrane works well as long as the sensor is clear of fingerprints before installation
- Cutout for the flash is large enough for the True-Tone flash (it wasn't on the first few versions of the iPhone 5S Fre)
iPhone Functionality (3.5/5):
- Buttons are fairly easy to use
- Lightning port cutout & headphone generally only fits Apple accessories
- Sound is muted from earpiece speaker
- Sound is slightly muted from bottom speaker (though its easier to hear)
Screen UsabilityScreen Usability (4.5/5):
- A small gap between the screen protector and touchscreen
- Sensitivity isn’t reduced
- Easy to access swipe menus on the iPhone
Screen Usability (5/5):
- No screen protector (Perfect screen usability)
- Optionally installable screen protector also offers perfect screen usability
- Edges do not get in the way of accessing your iPhone
Screen ViewabilityScreen Viewability (5/5):
- Wobbly reflections due to the fact that the screen protector doesn’t sit flush on the iPhone screen (Better than the screen on the 5/5S versions)
- Glare is pretty bad
- Screen protector diffuses the iPhone’s Retina HD screen
- Minor rain-bowing effects
Screen View-ability (4.5/5):
- No screen protector (Perfect screen viewability)
- Optionally screen protector doesn't fit 100% which means edges of the screen protector will diffuse the iPhone's touchscreen slightly
Bottom Buy Buttons

 

Difference 1 – One has a screen protector, the other doesn’t

LifeProof Fre vs Nuud - The Nuud is naked? (For screen protection)The LifeProof Fre is the tougher case as it has a screen protector and the Nuud doesn’t. Both the Fre and Nuud are waterproof and shockproof up to 6.6 ft but if you were to drop the LifeProof Nuud face first without the screen protector, your screen is going to break.

In addition to the screen protector, the LifeProof Fre has fewer o-rings so there is less chance that something is going to fail. The LifeProof Nuud has three additional sets of o-rings so there is a higher chance the a bit of dust/debris will cause the case to fail.

We do have to mention that the LifeProof Nuud does include an optionally installable screen protector. We tried to install a glass screen protector on our iPhone 6 Plus and it didn’t fare very well so we don’t recommend doing so. To find out more, check out our torture test video for the LifeProof Nuud.

Difference 2 – Using the Fre sucks the joy out of your iPhone

LifeProof Fre vs Nuud - Screen gap on the Fre is noticeableThe second difference deals with the usability of the iPhone’s touchscreen. The winner in terms of screen usability is going to be the Nuud since it has no screen protector. The Fre has a rather thick screen protector that doesn’t sit flush against the iPhone. There is a slight gap around the ear piece speaker of the iPhone which numbs the sensitivity slightly.

We’re not big fans of non-adhesive screen protectors in general as it really takes a way from the wonderful usage of the iPhone’s touchscreen.

The front of the free has no edge as its basically one giant screen protector so accessing the edges of your iPhone’s touchscreen is quite easy. The LifeProof Nuud has a raised edge but is at an angle that doesn’t really get in the way of accessing your swipe menus which is nice.

Difference 3 – Using the Fre makes your iPhone look like its from 2009

LifeProof Fre vs Nuud - The Fre's screen protector is awfulThe third difference deals with the viewability of your iPhone inside the cases. The Nuud has no screen protector so viewing your iPhone is glorious. The Fre has a brutal screen protector that literally warps your Retina HD screen bak to 2009 where you could actually see the pixels on your iPhone 3G.

In our opinion, the poor viewability of the Fre is a fatal flaw in our opinion since its an issue that we’ve noticed for the last 2 generations of the Fre. The iPhone’s clarity keeps getting better while the Fre’s screen protector stays the same.

Difference 4 – You’ll look better going Nuud

LifeProof Fre vs Nuud - Build QualityAlright, those are the last of the screen protector related differences. The fourth difference deals with the wear & tear of these LifeProof cases. In our opinion, the Nuud is going to last longer as it feels better built and won’t show scratches as easily despite having a clear back. The rubber portions of the case extend slightly above the back so dust/debris on a table won’t scratch it easily.

For the LifeProof Fre, our first case broke on a 6ft drop (which LifeProof replaced). Our second Fre stayed together after another 6 ft drop so we’re not really concerned about that. The only issue we have with the Fre is that the back of the case scratches really easily. Running your fingernail across the back will leave a permanent scratch on the case.

There have been issues with the charge ports on the Nuud but we haven’t encountered them just yet but if you have those issues, contact LifeProof Customer Service. They’re usually pretty good at replacing things.

Difference 5 – They’re not the same price

The last difference is the price. The Fre is approx. 10 dollars cheaper than the Nuud which isn’t a big difference but still something to consider. Do you go with the less protective case for $10 dollars more or do you go with the cheaper case that takes away from the viewability of the iPhone?

Have questions about our LifeProof Fre vs LifeProof Nuud comparison for the iPhone 6/6 Plus? Please ask them on our Google+ page or on our Facebook page.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Brandon

    May 21, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I have a Fre and a friend has the nuud for the iPhone 6, the sound quality on mine is a lot better. People can hear me and I can hear them just fine as if not using a case. When he uses his phone people say it sounds like he is not holding the phone close enough to his mouth and if he is in a noisy area he can bearly hear the person on the other end. Also I have little kids so I need a screen protector.

  2. Alex

    June 23, 2015 at 1:03 am

    I had a Nuud for my 5S that cracked after 5 months, never dropped more than 3 feet. Lifeproof replaced my Nuud with a Fre. The Nuud developed many scratches on th back lost a chunk of rubber from the front (not sure how). the front camera was always dirty and difficult to clean because it is sunken in with the case on. I also had trouble accessing the screen edge with the Nuud – was a real pain to use but worth it for the peace of mind.

    I haven’t used the Fre much (got it today) but found it easier to install than the Nuud. It doesn’t feel as strong but then I didnt expect the Nuud to crack. the screen glare doesn’t bother me yet. it feels and looks more ‘normal’. I’ll be happy if it lasts the life of the phone – let’s see.

    the person I talked to at Lifeproof customer service was great. I didn’t expect them to replace my case five months had passed since I bought it but they were amazing!

  3. OKINAWA SUP

    July 18, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    We use our Frē’s in and out of the water because it rains so much here on Okinawa. No worries about the occasional surprise rain shower ruining our iPhones.
    Both my wife and I have the iPhone 5s Frē and the one’s we purchased through AMAZON included a headphone jack extension. Not sure why the reviewer did not receive one with their Frē.
    The boxes even have a special slot designed specifically to hold the earphone/headphone jack extension. We use our Frē’s several times a week on the water (SUP/Stand Up Paddleboarding) and enjoy the activity even more knowing we have our iPhones for music and in case of emergency — and because we don’t have to worry about damaging our most used piece of tech.

    Warranty service proved outstanding and hassle-free when LifeProof quickly sent a new replacement case after we provided pics on their website showing how the screen protector had started to detach below the Home button after nearly 12 months of constant use.
    The replacement appears to have a better seal around the screen so no worries, just make sure you check to ensure you have completely sealed (snapped) the case closed before going onto the water. Used a heavy duty ziplock-style waterproof case for about a month before looking for something that didn’t feel like a sandwich bag.
    After extensive web research we purchased the LifeProof Frē and really prefer the more natural “case feel” of the LifeProof Frē compared to the ziplock-style waterproof case.

    OVERALL Rating of our LifeProof Frē rating based upon daily use for nearly 2 years: 4.5/5.0.
    DESIGN: 4.5/5.0 (Our cases do not have any scratches at all).
    PROTECTION: 5.0/5.0 (Have dropped ours several times from as high as 5 feet and no cracks – not even a scratch and zero damage to the phones).
    FUNCTIONALITY: 4.5/5.0 (Our Frēs came with headphone/earphone jacks that works well). Because the mic has been sealed by the case, I find that others can hear me better if I open the hinged clasp at the bottom of the case when speaking but don’t do this when on the water. We also use slightly larger AMAZON lightning port cords that fit snuggly and require just a little more effort than the Apple OEM version. You can use any earbud/headphone set with the extension included with both our our Frēs. The replacement case LifeProof sent us appears to have a clearer screen/different plastic compared to Frē we had purchased a year earlier).

    Don’t have any experience with the NUUD as we prefer the extra protection provided by the Frēs built-in cover.

    We Highly Recommend the LifeProof Frē for Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) and rainy climates.

  4. Dave M

    January 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Worst products out there, buyer beware!!! We got my son the FRE for Christmas and 1 week later he took his i-phone 6S in the pool, well now we have a $700 paper weight that LP won’t repair/replace. They act so apologetic but not willing to budge on doing what is ethical. Shame on them for making all these “waterproof” claims, the IP6x rating is NOT fully waterproof. It’s my mission to get them to take such fraudulent claims off their website. Tell the truth and call it splash proof. Dave M

    • Aaron Ho

      January 13, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      Sorry to hear that. Did you do the empty case water test?

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