Product Comparisons

The Best iPhone 5S case? Preserver vs. Fre/Nuud vs. Atlas ID

Between these four cases, the best iPhone 5S case, from our usage and reviews is the LifeProof Nuud. It offers the same level of waterproof and shockproof protection as all the other cases and does it without the screen protector. The case that we’d stay away from is the Incipio Atlas ID as its quite difficult to access your iPhone within the case.

Our reviews are based on actual usage so we try take each case to the limit of the manufacturer’s specifications. We actually use the case for weeks before putting it through the final review process. We can say with great confidence that our reviews are the most comprehensive and that means you know exactly what you’re getting.

Wateproof/Shockproof iPhone 5S Case Comparison

(all scores out of 5)


Otterbox
Preserver


“4.1






Full Review
Video Playlist
  • Pros:

    - Good screen protector
    - Case feels solid

  • Cons:

    - Latches that cover cables may damage cables

  • Potential Problems:

    - Rubber around Otterbox Preserver's mute switch may peel which may let water in

  • DESIGN

  • Weight/Bulk (4/5):

    - Edges on the Otterbox Preserver are thick but tapers in on the back
    - Fairly light

  • Ease of installation (4/5):

    - Otterbox Preserver is the easiest case to install out of the 4
    - Case comprises of 2 parts, taken apart by peeling back the rear panel

  • Build Quality (4.5/5):

    - Case feels tough
    - Good mix of rubber and polycarbonate makes the case easy to use

  • PROTECTION

  • Shock Protection (4.5/5):

    - Provides shock protection up to 6.6 ft
    - Successfully tested against a parking lot, railroad track and snow pack

  • Water Protection (5/5):

    - Otterbox Preserver provides water protection up to depths of 6.6 ft for 1 hour
    - Successfully tested while snorkelling in an ocean

  • Screen Protection (4/5):

    - Protects against everyday bumps/scratches
    - Otterbox Preserver's screen protector withstood several stabs by a kitchen knife

  • FUNCTIONALITY

  • iPhone Functionality (3.5/5):

    - Able to access all buttons easily through the Otterbox Preserver
    - Touch ID film works most of the time
    - Sound is slightly muted
    - Access to hardware ports through thick plastic latches that may damage the caves

  • Screen Usability (4/5):

    - Easy to access swipe menus
    - The edges of the Otterbox Preserver do not get in the way
    - Gap between screen protector and touchscreen is not noticeable

  • Screen Viewability (4.5/5):

    - No rain-bowing effects
    - Minimal amount of glare
    - Fingerprint smudging kept to a minimum

  • Pros:

    - Thinnest case of the four
    - Good case for day-to-day use

  • Cons:

    - Screen protector may produce rain-bowing effects

  • Potential Problems:

    - The hole for the True-Tone flash on LifeProof Fre cases made before March 2014 are too small for the flash to work properly

  • DESIGN

  • Weight/Bulk (4/5):

    - Thinnest rugged case
    - Very light

  • Ease of installation (4/5):

    - LifeProof Fre is easy to install/uninstall
    - Case comprises of 2 parts, taken apart by peeling back the rear panel from the bottom of the case

  • Build Quality (4/5):

    - Case does feel flimsy (but is still very tough)
    - Good mix of rubber and polycarbonate makes the case easy to use

  • PROTECTION

  • Shock Protection (4.5/5):

    - Provides shock protection up to 6.6 ft
    - Successfully passed the drop test without any damage to the device

  • Water Protection (4.5/5):

    - LifeProof Fre provides water protection up to depths of 6.6 ft for 1 hour
    - Successfully tested in a swimming pool
    - Survived being coated in a pound of chocolate

  • Screen Protection (4/5):

    - Protects against everyday bumps/scratches
    - Withstood several stabs by a kitchen knife. Between the Otterbox Preserver and LifeProof Fre, the Fre's screen protector seemed tougher

  • FUNCTIONALITY

    *For Pre-March 2014 LifeProof Fre cases

  • iPhone Functionality (2.5/5):

    - Able to access all buttons easily
    - Touch ID film is a bit difficult to use as the case doesn't guide fingers
    - Sound coming from speakers is enhanced
    - Easy access to hardware ports
    - Larger headphone plugs will need to use the headphone jack extender with this case
    - Flash hole was too small on Pre-March 2014 cases

  • Screen Usability (4.5/5):

    - LifeProof Fre provides the easiestaccess swipe menus
    - Edges of the case do not get in the way
    - Gap between screen protector and touchscreen is noticeable and results in a rain-bowing effect

  • Screen Viewability (4/5):

    - Suffers from rain-bowing effects
    - Glare is quire noticeable
    - Fingerprint smudging is nominal

  • Pros:

    - Allows for exceptional access to your iPhone
    - Waterproof, shockproof case with no screen protector

  • Cons:

    - Little screen protection. The case only provides 1/4 inch of clearance

  • Potential Problems:

    - There are twice any many o-rings on the LifeProof Nuud which increases the chance that debris may enter the case rendering it not-waterproof
    - No built-in screen protector means that the iPhone still might suffer a shattered screen if dropped face first

  • DESIGN

  • Weight/Bulk (4/5):

    - Slightly thicker than the LifeProof Fre
    - Fairly light (not as light as the LifeProof Fre

  • Ease of installation (4.5/5):

    - Easy to install
    - LifeProof Nuud is vven easier to uninstall, no need to "burp" the device out, just push through the front panel of the case
    - Case comprises of 2 parts, taken apart by peeling back the rear panel at the bottom of the case

  • Build Quality (4.5/5):

    - Case feels solid despite having no screen protector
    - Good mix of rubber and polycarbonate makes the case easy to use

  • PROTECTION

  • Shock Protection (4.5/5):

    - Provides shock protection up to 6.6 ft
    - Successfully tested by slapping the case across a concrete room

  • Water Protection (4.5/5):

    - LifeProof Nuud provides water protection up to depths of 6.6 ft for 1 hour
    - Successfully tested in a small tub of beer

  • Screen Protection (2/5):

    - No screen protector though LifeProof does include an installable 3rd party screen protector for the Nuud

  • FUNCTIONALITY

  • iPhone Functionality (4/5):

    - LifeProof Nuud provides easy access to all buttons
    - Sound coming from speakers is enhanced
    - Easy access to hardware ports
    - Larger headphone plugs can be used easily with the LifeProof Nuud

  • Screen Usability (5/5):

    - Easy to access swipe menus
    - Edges of the case may get in the way
    - Since the LifeProof Nuud doesn't have a screen protector, it offers the same screen usability as a naked iPhone

  • Screen Viewability (5/5):

    - No issues with the LifeProof Nuud since it doesn't have a screen protector

  • Pros:

    - Tempered glass screen protector

  • Cons:

    - Poor touch sensitivity
    - Dead spot right above Touch ID sensor
    - Screen protector prone to fingerprint smudging
    - Plastic latch comes off during drops
    - Headphone jack extension doesn't fit properly

  • Potential Problems:

    - If the Incipio Atlas ID falls into water after being dropped, there is a chance that the latch will come off rendering the case not-waterproof

  • DESIGN

  • Weight/Bulk (4/5):

    - Plastic latch at the bottom of the case adds a bit of thickness
    - Heaviest case

  • Ease of installation (3/5):

    - The Incipio Atlas ID is a tedious case to install
    - Taking device out of case requires a bit more effort when compared to other cases

  • Build Quality (3/5):

    - Case "squeaks"
    - Case is very slick as it does not have any sort of "grippy" rubber

  • PROTECTION

  • Shock Protection (4.5/5):

    - Provides shock protection up to 6.6 ft
    - Successfully tested against a set of corrugated steel stairs

  • Water Protection (5/5):

    - Incipio Atlas ID provides water protection up to depths of 6.6 ft for 1 hour
    - Successfully tested in a dishwasher

  • Screen Protection (5/5):

    - Extreme screen protection due to Incipio Atlas ID's tempered glass screen protector

  • FUNCTIONALITY

  • iPhone Functionality (3.5/5):

    - Access to mute/volume buttons are a little tougher
    - Access to lightning port and headphones jack is clumsy due to the plastic latch

  • Screen Usability (3/5):

    - Tough to access swipe menus
    - Dead spot right above the Touch ID sensor on the Incipio Atlas ID
    - Gap between screen protector and touchscreen is not noticeable

  • Screen Viewability (3.5/5):

    - No rain-bowing effects
    - Glare is a mild problem
    - Fingerprint smudging is a problem


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