The Nuud handles like a smooth, slippery, river rock.
LifeProof Nuud iPhone 7 Review – The more we use it, the better we like it.
The LifeProof Nuud is a unique case. The case doesn’t come with a screen protector but is still waterproof and drop-rated to 6ft. Now this sounds like a great idea but the extra functionality comes at a cost. The design of the Nuud is now quite different than the Fre which is nice to see but it doesn’t handle as well. In fact, there is a greater chance that you’re going to lose your Nuud if you’re planning on doing awesome things with it.
With all that being said, we can safely say that this version of the LifeProof Nuud offers a true screen protector less experience while offering drop and water protection. This is something we can’t say about a similar product, the Dog & Bone Wetsuit.
For our LifeProof Nuud iPhone 7 review, we’ve given this waterproof iPhone 7 case a score of 3.1 Eh’s out of 5. This is one of the lower-rated waterproof cases we’ve reviewed so far but there is one feature that would make us choose the Nuud over the others. And it’s not the lack of screen protector. We will note that despite the low score, we’ve become quite fond of the LifeProof Nuud. Our scoring system penalizes cases that are hard to handle but LifeProof made the conscious decision to use a smooth back which might work for some people.
If you’re looking for a comparison between the Lifeproof Fre and Nuud, check out this post. If you want to see all the other waterproof cases we’ve reviewed, check out the comparison tool!
Design – Looks and handles completely different from the LifeProof Fre
The LifeProof Nuud for the iPhone 7 has evolved in terms of design. The aesthetic of the case is quite different than the iPhone 6 version. The case now reminds us more of a Catalyst waterproof case than a LifeProof Fre.
The Nuud is one of the larger waterproof cases. The thickest part of the case occurs at the bottom of the iPhone as it flares out. This extra thickness isn’t that noticeable and actually improves the handling slightly. The width of the case is quite noticeable as it will at 1.3cm’s to the entire width of the device. There is a reason for the extra width as it improves the screen access. More on that in a bit.
The Nuud fits well together and is easier to install than the iPhone 6 version. The older version is much slimmer than the iPhone 7 version but keeping the older case snapped together was tough. The back of the case is clear and smooth which allows it to slide around easily. The back of the case feels the same as a clear backed Symmetry. Which also means it will scratch and show fingerprints like a clear backed Symmetry.
Wear and tear of the case is going to be average. Multiple drops on the sidewalk resulted in the back getting scuffed up despite the large rubber bumper on the case.
The Nuud weights only 41 grams. Despite being one of the largest cases we’ve reviewed, it is still lighter than the Ghostek Atomic 3 and Catalyst Waterproof. The edge of the case is quite rubbery which means it handles better than you’d expect with a case that is slick on the front and back.
Protection – Drop and waterproof. With no screen protector!
For protection, the Nuud is both waterproof and drop-rated to 6 ft or 2 meters. Which sounds awesome on paper but from our drop-test, the Nuud came apart after each drop which isn’t great. In the theoretical scenario of a high drop on a dock and then a tumble into the ocean would result in a wet iPhone. Unlike the Lifeproof Fre, the case didn’t crack or break which is good.
So how does a screen protector less case stay waterproof? All you do is add a second o-ring between the iPhone screen and case. We had to do the water test twice as the first test “looked” like there was water in the iPhone cavity. The second resulted in the same result but we realized that water is going to get between the edges of the case. That’s not going to be a problem since the water doesn’t pass the seal at the top.
The edges of the case provide the naked iPhone screen a bit of clearance which will keep the front of the case off a flat surface. Also, LifeProof has stopped supplying an optional screen protector which is a kick in the nuts in our opinion.
Functionality – A “true” screen protector-less, tough case
The functionality of the iPhone inside the case isn’t great as the buttons are quite stiff to use. We did enjoy using the updated mute switch as we could access the iPhone by sliding our thumbs over the switch.
We didn’t run into any issues with the camera or flash and the port is big enough to handle 3rd party cables. In terms of sound, the ear piece speaker was the best out of our test group. The sound coming from the iPhone’s speaker was average. Unlike normal cases, covering up the speakers won’t mute the iPhone as the sound gets projected through the back of the case. Call quality was decent.
Now with all that being said, your iPhone isn’t going to sound as good as a naked iPhone. Just putting it out there. The overall sound quality between an iPhone in ANY waterproof case is going to suffer a bit.
Now does the lack of screen protector improve screen usability? Yes and No. Yes because you’re getting unfettered access to your iPhone’s screen. No because getting to the control center might requires several swipes to activate if you’re use to sliding in the middle of the screen. You’re going to need to access the panel on the sides rather than the center. A small change in how you use your iPhone.
However, unlike previous Nuud versions, you can easily access the edges of the screen. By making the case wider, LifeProof has been able to move the case edges further away from toucheable area. That’s awesome.
Our biggest gripe about the LifeProof Nuud
Our biggest functionality gripe is the lack a wrist strap attachment points. What’s the point of having a tough case if you can’t safely attach it to your body? What happens when we’re out doing awesome things with the Nuud and we fall? The iPhone in the Nuud is going fly out of our hands and do it’s own thing. You wouldn’t have this problem with LifeProof Fre.
But we’re guessing that the purpose of the Nuud isn’t for people looking to do awesome things. If you look at the packaging of the Nuud, you have a single image of a person running whereas the Fre has several images of people doing awesome things. Guess the Nuud isn’t marketed for awesome things.
But then that leads to the question? What is the point of the LifeProof Nuud? If all you need is drop-protection, you can get a slim case like a Ballistic Urbanite or Jewel. The iPhone 7 is water resistant so a quick dunk in the sink isn’t going to be an issue. If you need maximum protection, you’d get a case with a wrist-strap attachment point like the LifeProof Fre or the Dog and Bone Wetsuit Impact.
Would we get this case ourselves?
Now the only reason why we would get this case is if you like a slick back. As we mentioned earlier, the back of the Nuud feels a lot like the Symmetry clear. Now we’re guessing Otterbox, who owns LifeProof, wouldn’t be using this clear back if people weren’t asking for it.
Despite all of this, the smooth back feels quite nice. Our scoring system penalizes cases that are hard to hold onto but the clear back of the case is a conscious decision on Lifeproof’s part and for the most part, is bearable in terms of using the iPhone.
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