The Lifeproof frē case for iPhone 5 is an excellent, ruggedized case and based on our usage, we give this case Eh? Rating score of 4.3 Eh?’s out of 5. This is the highest score so far that we have given out for a rugged cases. It is light weight, slim in design and provides great functionality, providing great impact/drop protection and complete water/dust proof seal around your iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S.
– Slim and light weight
– Full access to the front screen
– Great build quality
– The small headphone nub is not attached to the case
– Lightning jack latch gasket is easily removable and can get lost (yes, we did lose ours)
ABOUT THE CASE MANUFACTURER
Lifeproof is a case maker that focuses on creating ruggedize, waterproof cases for iOS devices and the Galaxy S3. We’re quite fond of Lifeproof at Mobilereviews-eh.ca as their cases rate well and are a joy to use. It will be interesting to see what happens with Lifeproof as they were acquired by Otterbox in early 2013 so hopefully they maintain their ability to create high-quality cases.
The different products from Lifeproof can be found here : Lifeproof iPhone Cases
The Lifeproof frē case for iPhone 5 is slightly smaller than the Nuud. It is fully shockproof and drop proof as well as waterproof. It comes in two pieces that snap together easily creating a tight seal around the case. The screen protector is made out of one piece providing easy access to the entire front screen of the iPhone 5.
The case is very slim and does not add bulk to the iPhone 5. It is so far one of the lightest ruggedized cases that we have reviewed. The design is well though out; both pieces of the case fit together easily, there are no rough edges and the case feels very solid in your hands.
This case is lighter than most rugged cases and the profile of the case is fairly slim. As mentioned above. It seems almost to good to be true that such slim fit around the iPhone can have ruggedized protection.
Installing the Lifeproof frē case for iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S is quite simple and doesn’t require any external tools. Pop your device into the front shell and snap the two pieces together. Uninstalling the case requires a coin being used as a level to pop the two pieces apart. This is one of the few cases that we could install/uninstall the case in less than a minute.
One of the very first cases that we reviewed was a Lifeproof Nuud case for the iPad (3rd Gen) and with that case, the o-ring was awful to install. The slightest nudge would pop the o-ring out of the case and you’d have to start all over again. With the latest version of the Lifeproof cases, these o-rings are either glued or embedded into the ridges so that this doesn’t happen anymore so kudos to them for making the installation process easier.
The Lifeproof frē case for iPhone 5 feels well built and after a variety of drops, the case showed some wear and tear. We can not even remember how many times this case has been dropped and the materials still hold together, not losing its shape and design.
The sides and front of the Lifeproof Fre has a rubber bumper that provides shock absorption during impacts. The texture of the rubber bumper allows you to have a good grip on the phone. The back panel is made out of a hard plastic. This plastic seems to be fairly scratch resistant. There were a few scuff marks on the case after our drop tests, yet they are very small.
This case is quite tough and it did withstand our testing and everyday usage. This case is Agata’s favourite as she keeps going back to it in between cases reviews and/or if she is reviewing a bad case and needs relief from said bad case.
The Lifeproof Fre case definitely protects your iPhone from everyday life. We dropped the case with the iPhone 5 inside onto a concrete and wet parking lot ground, several times. All the drops were captured in the video above.
The iPhone 5 inside this case can be submerged to 6.6 feet (2 meters). It is safe to go swimming with it, leave it in the rain or splash water on the case. We have performed the initial test for the case only (submerged in water for 1 hour) and then placed the iPhone 5 and submerged it in bowl full of water for 10 min. The case passed both tests.
The Lifeproof frē case for iPhone 5 contains a latch for the lightning jack connector. This latch holds a small, silicone gasket part that makes this port waterproof when latch is closed. In order to keep this latch clean of any small dust or debris, the gasket is removable and can be washed. During our usage of the case, this small gasket was lost, making the case no longer waterproof. We called Lifeproof and a replacement gasket part was sent to us very quickly.
The entire front of the Lifeproof Fre case is one plastic piece. The edges are raised a little bit providing additional protection for the front of the iPhone 5. The front screen protector will protect your iPhone from scratches and from drops.
This Lifeproof frē case for iPhone 5 handles very well. Its slim and light-weight design makes it easy to carry. All of the buttons and ports are easily accessible and the iPhone 5 native functionality is preserved.
The native iPhone 5 buttons are easily accessible although the mute/ringer switch is reversed. This is not unusual as most ruggedized cases have a very similar looking switch that works in the reverse order then the mute switch on the iPhone 5.
The headphone jack and the lightning port are easily accessible. On the Lifeproof Fre (or the version that we have) case, the headphone jack nub is a standalone piece, not attached to the case. There is an extra nub included with the case inside the packaging box. The lightning port is accessed by opening a latch that contains the silicon gasket for waterproof protection.
In regards to the sound and volume, our viewers have mentioned that they are having issues with sound being muffled or cutting out when using the Lifeproof Fre case. In all of our usage we have never encountered this to be a problem. To recheck the issue we have performed a decibel test on the case with iPhone 5 inside and the iPhone 5 by itself. The decibel levels were a bit higher when the phone was inside the case which indicates that the case acts as an amplifier. Therefore, we were not able to confirm any problems with sound and volume.
The screen protector is a one piece, plastic-type of material. There are no ridges or seams on the entire front piece of the case. This in turn allows for full access to the front screen of the iPhone 5. There were no noticeable problems with touch-ability, either by hand or different type of styluses. The screen does cover the entire device so that Touch ID feature of the iPhone 5S will not be usable with this case.
The screen protector piece has raised rubber edges. The raise is very small and does not interfere with the functionality of the iPhone screen. You can feel the raised edges of the case when using your fingers while swiping or typing.
The Lifeproof frē case for iPhone 5 offers great view-ability of the screen. The screen protector does diffuse the Retina screen of the iPhone a little bit. This distortion is only visible when you go looking for it, it is very minimal and takes a form of small rainbow strips that show up close to the edge of the case. The screen adds a bit of glare in addition to the glare that the iPhone 5 screen generates. Also the screen does show fingerprints or cheek prints. Since the entire case is waterproof, the case can be easily cleaned with soapy water. How great it that?
Since the case is slim and fits tightly around the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S, you can hold it at any angle and position that you would normally when having a naked device in your hands.
There are two attachments that came with the Lifeproof frē case for iPhone 5.
The first attachment is a headphone adapter that allows you to use headphones in wet, or dusty environments. This allows for the phone to be remain water/dust proof and has a spot for a spare headphone nub.
Lifeproof frē case for iPhone 5
Based on our scoring system, we give the Lifeproof frē case for iPhone 5 a Eh? Rating Score of 4.3 Eh?’s out of 5. From our usage, we feel quite confident that this case would protect your iPhone 5 from daily abuse, normal drop heights and it will maintain its shape over time. The easy access to all the ports, slim design and light weight make this product a unique ruggedized case.
Comparable Case to the Lifeproof Fre
The company Lifeproof also sells another rugged iPhone 5 case: the Lifeproof Nuud.
We have also tested this mobile case by performing Drop Tests and Waterproof Tests.
The Eh? Rating score for the Lifeproof Nuud is 4.1/5, which is a bit lower then for the Lifeproof Fre case.
For a Full Review click here –> Lifeproof Nuud Case for the iPhone 5
– Nuud does not have a screen protector, Fre has one
– Nuud is a bit bulkier then the Fre
– Nuud drop max is 6.6 ft, Fre drop max is 6.6 ft (the same)
– Nudd waterproof depth is 6.6 ft, Fre waterproof depth is 6.6 ft
– Nudd is ~$100CAN, Fre is ~$80CAN
– Nuud headphone nub is attached to the case, Fre is not, you have to keep an eye on it
– Nudd seems to be tougher and less prone to damage, Fre show wear more easily
Looking for a different Brand? Click here-> iPhone cases