Long-Term Test of the LifeProof iPhone Waterproof Fre Case


I’ll be honest, I hate phone cases. At least I thought I did….

Typically they are bulky, cumbersome, over-engineered bricks that weigh down your phone and take up space in your pocket.

That’s why when I found the Lifeproof Fre I was pleasantly surprised. It’s remarkably thin, fairly unobtrusive while pulling it in and out of your pocket, and does everything it claims to. Namely, and most importantly, it’s waterproof. In the past when I’ve fished or boated I’ve stashed my phone in zip-lock bags or waterproof dry bags, or on especially nasty days simply left it in the car or at home.

Over the last few months with the Lifeproof Fre I’ve literally left my phone on the deck of a boat all day in the pouring rain and not worried about it. Multiple times. I’ve yet to get the gumption to actually dunk my phone under water, but I did test the case in my sink. It was sans-phone and weighed down with a brick for an hour, underwater, before using it for the first time. There wasn’t a drop inside when I pulled it out.

Using the case while my hands are wet, covered in dirt or fish-grime has been great as I simply wash the case off and never have a worry about abusing the phone. The touchscreen is flawless, assembly is brainless, and controls are elegant and work just like they should.

The one beef I have with the case is that you have to turn up the phone volume a bit, especially if you’re hard of hearing, and every once and a while there’s a strange buzzing sound emanating from the case, as if there’s rabid pack of fleas just dying to get out. Don’t ask me what that’s all about. If that’s a concern I suggest you check out the company’s newest Nuud case, which supposedly works with nothing covering the screen.

Other than that, if you’re looking for a slim, minimal, elegant but tough solution for protecting your phone on the water, the LifeProof Fre should be at the top of your list.

MSRP $79.99

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  • Ken

    If you don’t like a case, sony xperia z1 would be your phone. 20MP and waterproof.

  • Adam B

    Casio Commando here! Super tough and been in the drink a few times with me.

  • T. Racine

    I agree with the problem of it being hard to hear and be heard. I would open that hatch for charging and that would fix it. My experience however is different. I too tested mine for an hour and a half with no leaks. Last weekend I was fishing and had my Lifeproof case in my chest pocket. I had waded in chest deep water briefly then re-routed. An hour later I pulled the phone out to check the weather and noticed an inch of water in the pocket and a wet case. I didn’t panic but on close examination water had seeped into the case soaking my phone. I shook as much water out, pulled the I phone but it had shut down and was so saturated the camera lens had condensation. The case is about 8 months old and was shut when I pocketed it. I’m disappointed but have learned another lesson… Buyer beware!