I’ve heard a lot about these Lifeproof cases and often had them recommended to me but this is the first time I’ve tried one out. I needed something mainly for cycling, that could fit in my back jersey pocket. I’ve always used Aquapac pouches but since my iPhone 6 Plus is such a big phone, this solution has outgrown the pocket!
Lifeproof do two types of waterproof cases: the Nuud and the Fre. The Fre is a traditional, fully enclosed case whereas the Nuud uses what Lifeproof calls screenless technology. What this means is the screen of the phone is exposed, but sealed against water and dust via a rubber o-ring that closes against the smooth surface of the iPhones’s screen. This appeals to me since you don’t lose any of the vibrancy and sensitivity of the premium screen of the iPhone.
I went for the Lifeproof Nuud for the iPhone 6 Plus which retails at a pricey £80 but can be had cheaper. You can see an overview of the case in the video above and a full review below. I’m comparing the case against the Apple leather case with Zagg glass screen protector that I was using before fitting this case.
In the box you get the case itself, a dummy phone for testing water tightness, a 3.5mm jack adapter for your headphones, an optional screen protector, a cleaning cloth and fitting instructions.
You need to take any existing screen protectors off since these won’t allow the Nuud to form an airtight seal. The phone gets inserted into the front of the enclosure face-down. You need to engage the bottom of the phone with the headphone jack port and ensure the seals for the speaker and microphone line up, then just drop in the top of the phone. Then you clip the back of the case on which requires firm pressure. Finally you close the lightning port cover to complete the seal. It’s pretty straightforward and takes a couple of minutes.
You then have the option to install the included screen protector. This screen protector doesn’t interfere with the Nuud because it attaches after you’ve installed the case and sits within the perimeter of the seal. I decided to try this protector and still have it on. It’s easy to fit – just ensure your screen is as clean as is humanly possible. A good tip after cleaning it, is to use sellotape to remove any remaining bits of dust. I don’t notice the protector in the main, but it does show up fingerprints more than the original screen. You could cut any plastic screen protector to the same size as the included one but not the glass Zagg one I had for obvious reasons!
The way I’d like to use this case would be to quickly slip it in only when I need the protection. But although the case can be opened and I’ve done this several times, I think eventually you would wear out the clips so I’ve opted to keep the phone in its case the whole time.
First impressions and overview
The iPhone 6 Plus is already a big phone and despite the Nuud being one of the slimmest waterproof cases available, it still adds a fair bit of bulk and noticeably more weight. Take a look in the video at the beginning of the review for a comparison against the Apple leather case. It does still fit in my jeans pockets, but only just.
The other slight concern initially was that sound quality, both for phone calls and using the speaker. Since the phone is sealed , audio quality is not as good as without. Having used the case for over a month now, you do get used to this and I wouldn’t say it’s a major issue.
On the plus side, the build quality of the case is good, and amazingly the touch sensor works just as it does without the case. Also, I haven’t noticed any reduction in camera quality from the front or rear camera.
You can use the Apple headphones without using the 3.5mm adapter, but it’s a snug fit and you’ll need to make sure they are fully inserted. But the preferred method that also maintains the seal, is to use the supplied adapter that will work with all headphones and simply screws into the port. The likelihood of me ever having this adapter when I need it though is slim! I normally use Bluetooth headphones anyway so not really an issue for me.
The volume control and power buttons all work fine but the mute switch is slightly tricky to operate.
I bought this case to keep my phone sealed against the elements mainly when I’m cycling, but just as importantly it’s also sealed against dust and it’s ruggedised. So it’s also great for DIY and in the shed woodworking where there is plenty of dust, and it’s handy for the beach.
I don’t intend to use it underwater but it is capable of surviving underwater for 2 hours at a depth of 1m. Lifeproof recommend you test the seal on your case using the included dummy phone. I thought I better try this out having already used the phone for while. You simply unclip the phone and put the dummy phone in its place. I then put it in the sink for a minute or two.
After drying it off I took the phone out to check for any ingress of water. It’s a little difficult to do this without some droplets of water caught between the front of back of the case spilling into the inside of the case as you open it, but I’m confident the case is watertight as sold.
I think I would still use mine in an Aquapac if taking it underwater.
- Excellent protection for your phone, again water, dust and impact
- Easy to fit
- Screenless design means you don’t have to compromise screen quality
- Little protection against sharp impact directly to the screen
- Sound quality slightly impacted
- Concerns on repeated removal of phone from case
- Charging port cover a little fragile
- Extra bulk and weight
I’ve used this case now exclusively for over a month. I think it serves its purpose very well but there are compromises. The main issue for me is the additional bulk and weight. This isn’t really the fault of the case, but due to the fact the iPhone 6 Plus is already a big phone. With the smaller iPhone the extra size wouldn’t be such an issue.
But if you want to use your phone for outdoor activities, you need to put it in something. I’ve always used Aquapac pouches and swear by them. But they add even more bulk and the phone is more difficult to use. The Lifeproof Nuud keeps all the functionality of your phone for everyday use but allows you to use it however you like without fear of damage – and for that reason I’d still recommend it despite my concerns.
If you have found the review useful please consider clicking on the link below. You pay the exact same price and it’ll enable me to keep the reviews coming! Any questions, please ask away in the comments section below.