Regret: A Review of Lifeproof’s iPhone 4 Case

Who hasn’t thought of wanting to capture life underwater?

Anytime I’ve ever been swimming in the ocean or even in a pool, I’ve thought of wanting to take pictures to capture things we rarely see.  So when I started seeing people on Instagram posting pictures of life underwater using a Lifeproof case, I was flabbergasted.  I mean, I wouldn’t have to buy some expensive underwater camera, I would be able to use my already very useful iPhone camera wrapped neatly inside of a Lifeproof case.  I was sold.  It didn’t take much to sell me though, I’ll admit.  I looked at it online, the $79.99 price tag did seem a bit steep to me though.  But I figured, why not?  Lots of users on Instagram seemed to be raving about it.  Fast forward a couple of months of me talking about it to my wife incessantly, and my birthday finally came on August 7th.  My wife picked it up at a local Best Buy for around $85.  I was excited, she was excited.  It was a good birthday.  I couldn’t wait to finally get into our apartments pool to use the case.  I pulled my iPhone out of my already favorite Mophie case with the backup battery inside, and put it inside of my new Lifeproof case.  The case seemed cheap though.  It was a flimsy plastic, with a cheap rubber washer inside to insure the waterproofness it was claiming.  Either way, I was still excited.  I wouldn’t have the luxury of my backup battery anymore of my Mophie case, which I tend to click on everyday with the amount of Instagraming I do.  But, this Lifeproof case was going to open up all sorts of new doors for my photography!  I was willing to sacrifice.

I snapped it together, looked up at my wife and she said, “Oh, wait!  You need to test it first!  The guy at Best Buy told me to make sure I told you to test it before you put your phone in the water.  Because I guess, a lot of people hadn’t tested it before they put it in the water and the case leaked and ruined their phone.  And apparently the Lifeproof people won’t pay for a new one.”  Well, ok, good to know.  I popped it off, snapped it back together and threw it into my sink.  Filled it with water, checked it out, and no leaks.  Phew!  Ok, with the test done, I was off to the pool.

It was late, the sun was already down, but my wife and I had fun nonetheless.  The iPhone acted the way it always does in low-light, but the Lifeproof case was flawless.  I was impressed.  I was not however, impressed with the case once back inside.  The clear plastic in front of the screen was loose in front of the screen which allowed for space between their plastic shield, and the iPhone itself.  Which meant editing these new pictures with the Lifeproof case was going to be a no-go.  You know just as well as I do, some editing apps require very small movements of your finger to accomplish the edit necessary.  So, no big deal, right?  I would just use the Lifeproof whenever I would shoot underwater.  My wife was disappointed and I was a bit too that it wouldn’t just be my new permanent iPhone case, but whatever.

So I popped off the case, and put back on my Mophie case and edited my pictures with ease.

I was bothered with most of my pictures shot that night, but that was just due to the low-light situation, not the Lifeproof case.  So we went back out the following afternoon and I shot a ton of shots.  A little advice though, get some goggles.  I had to shoot, re-shoot, and re-shoot again with my lovely model wife simply because I couldn’t see what I was shooting.  All in all though, I ended up with a good handful of pictures that I was very satisfied with.  People on Instagram seemed to like them too.  One user however informed me that while the Lifeproof case was cool, she told me that the Lifeproof case was only intended to be opened & closed up to 50 times.

Huh?!  Really?!  This $85 price tag was starting to seem more and more ridiculous to me.  First, the cheap plastic, and now, I could only open and close it 50 times.  I’d already opened and closed it a good handful times.  Lame.  Oh, well.  Still, I was satisfied with my Lifeproof case.

Until today.

I’ve been planning my next shoot for about a week now.  I wanted to shoot my wife underwater with a dress on.  I’d seen other do it, but I had my own spin on it that I wanted to do.  I finally got some free time today and went shopping with the wifey.  We looked all over for the exact dress I was looking for.  Spent a couple hours actually.  Sheesh!  And yes, I finally even bought the goggles I needed.  We came home, I tested the case again to make sure it was watertight, thankfully it was.

Watertight Lifeproof case?  Check.

Wifey with new dress on?  Check.

Goggles so I can finally see?  Check and mate.

I was ready!

We hopped in the water in the pool and I managed to get about 5 pictures taken while underwater.  I stood up out of the water to check my shots, everything looked… cloudy.  I turned the case around only to see that the small piece of clear plastic in front of the camera lens was completely fogged up.  I was sure that the case was still waterproof, but, it worried me.  So I hopped out of the pool and popped off the case to check for leaks.  And that’s when it happened, the cheap, flimsy plastic broke.  Just tore right down the middle.

Cheap.  Just straight up cheap.

The unfortunate part about this is, I was planning on writing a raving review of the Lifeproof case only a handful of hours ago.  But now, my review is going to be a bit different.

Don’t buy it.  Don’t waste your money.  And a waste is truly what it is.

An $80 price tag for a case that may or may not work right out of the box, is a waste in my mind.  And don’t forget, you can only open and close it up to 50 times.  Although in my case, it was under 10 times.  And to make it worse, it’s a case that I would never use as my every day case.  24 hours ago I would have said it was worth the money, today though, no, it’s not worth the money.  And as it turns out, those “expensive underwater cameras” I was talking about, aren’t really that expensive.

For about another $40 on Amazon.com you can pick an actual real underwater camera, which is exactly what I’ll be buying next.  You can take it or leave it, but putting your very expensive iPhone in the water with the chance that it would be forever ruined and forcing you to buy a brand new one, is not safe in a Lifeproof.

It’s a pretty big gamble actually, and it’s not worth it.  It’s cheap plastic, and that’s all it is.