[The Market] Helping you protect your gadgets

Key Takeaway: The LifeProof case for smartphones and tablets, though limited in range, is absolute in its commitment to protection and freedom. With its four Proofs (water, dust, snow, and shock), I believe it a responsible choice for any gadget user serious on taking their mobile life wherever they go as they need or desire.


It’s a well-known fact in my family that I am very clumsy, and as much as I try to care for my things, I tend to end up damaging them. My mother says I was born with – and I observe I still do have – poor motor coordination, which may explain why I have the tendency to drop things or hit my legs on furniture.

I do believe in the importance of taking care of your material things – not because of materialism but because I accept that we are responsible for it, as well as the legacy of those who worked hard to produce them. But in a fast-paced life, it does become difficult sometimes. Hence, other things have been developed to help care for these things. One of the most common examples today is the smartphone case.

Cases for the most popular smartphones – the flagship phones of the major smartphone makers like Apple, Samsung, HTC, LG, and Sony – come in all shapes and sizes, and are designed with distinctive features in mind. Some simply provide an outer shell, while others are more sophisticated and include card pockets or even power bank capabilities. The product I’m featuring today remains my favorite phone case, very limited its range though it may be, because of its unique features. Here’s LifeProof.

LifeProof
LifeProof

Simple to look at, yet deceptively intricate in its technology, LifeProof has since 2011/2 (iPhone 4S) managed to accomplish what OtterBox did not. Its name says it all – LifeProof protects your phone (or tablet) from the events of everyday life that contribute to a gadget’s wear-and-tear. It is proudest of the fact that it is completely waterproof – though, of course, one should not abuse this as it could work against them. LifeProof cases are certified IP68, the highest ISO standard for both water and dust ingress protection – meaning it can withstand circulating talcum powder for 8 hours and 2 meters of water for 1 hour.

With this rating, it is also definitely dustproof – and by extension of both “proofs”, it is also snowproof. Finally, the case has also been engineered to the US military standard MIL STD 810G-516.6, which governs durability related to functional drops (meaning unintentional but foreseen times when one would drop an object while in everyday use – NOT intentional and abusive ones) – in short, it too is shockproof. Hence, LifeProof’s “Four Proofs“.

Sadly, LifeProof is not theft-proof – my iPhone 4S, in its LifeProof glory, got stolen in university – but I’d used it for more than half a year to know its nuances. Granted, I’ve found three of the four Proofs to be true (I live in a country without snow), but it also comes with responsibility on our, the consumer’s, part. Because of the very delicate engineering behind the case, one has to be careful in how they handle their LifeProof – and even the gadget it is protecting. Here are four reasons why.

  1. For starters, I was forced to remove my then-new screen protector, as the case was designed to fit exactly the physical specs of the iPhone – add even a minutely thin screen protector and the case “stretches”, thereby possibly compromising its durability. I also had to remove the Home button sticker – though I stuck it on the case instead. :p
  2. Also, if you intend to use a LifeProof case, you need to be sure when you do so, for it is not a case that can tolerate much removing and reusing. Stowing the phone in the cases requires you to gently apply the seals, while opening the case requires even more delicacy in popping open those seals – open it too fast and they break, compromising the three Proofs to elements. LifeProof themselves recommend against opening it too often.
  3. Take care, too, that you don’t lose the headphone jack screw-cap. Although the case comes with an extra one – and even an equally resistant headphone connector – don’t be too lax. The said screw-cap is relatively easy to lose if you remove it (which you have to do if you’re using your headset) – and where I live, so far away from the manufacturer, it can be a real chore to re-order.
  4. And lastly, though it’s common sense, one need to takes care when they’re using the case in everyday situations – especially if any of the ports (charger door or the aforementioned headset connector) are open. I accidentally dropped my LifeProofed iPhone in the shower at the beach once, and to my horror, the charger door was opened. My phone definitely acted up until a week after I got home, when I placed it in a box of uncooked rice – quite an irony.

But exercise due care, and your LifeProof will reward you for your wise investment. My 二哥 had been given one in early 2012 by our cousin who bought several too many, and a few months later, I too got mine – and I was delighted. While at the aforementioned beach (before the shower incident), I was the only one who was able to take photos when we were hit by a sudden storm that unleashed fiery rains, winds, and sands on us. And I was able to take it swimming in our pool with me (my brother did it first, and took so many underwater photos and videos with our nephews). I was able to wash the phone regularly to clean it – which I still do every week with my water-resistant-in-itself Sony Xperia Z – and I didn’t have to worry about dust or splatters from the stove or elsewhere in general.

Oh, and it’s lightweight, too.

Today, I am glad to see that LifeProof has expanded its range beyond Apple iOS products into the Samsung S line as well as a Motorola phone, though I do believe they could still tap into so much opportunities with other leading smartphone brands. Of course, given the delicate engineering and the way they test said processes, it takes time. But I appreciate their beginning to venture into the Android market – as much as I’m saving up for a mid-cost but high-spec phone now, I would consider saving up for an S6 as well just for the case.

LifeProof is committed to changing the game when it comes to mobile lifestyle, and to grant us “the freedom to live however, whenever and wherever your life takes you”. As much as I believe that we are too hyper-connected today with our gadgets, I also appreciate LifeProof’s mission, and I applaud them for such a wonderful marvel of modern technology.


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