Earlier this year, I connected with Lifeproof and they agreed to send me both a Lifeproof Fre for iPhone 5 case and a Lifeproof Nuud for iPad case. I’ve had them for nearly a month and used them indoors and out. Here’s why I think these products are awesome.
Lifeproof Fre with Bike Mount for iPhone 5 Review | Lifeproof Nuud for iPad Review
Lifeproof Fre for iPhone 5
The Lifeproof Fre for iPhone5 is the company’s original iPhone case. I asked for this iPhone5 case and bike mount to use on my Surly Krampus bikepacking rig. I wanted the flexibility to use the phone as my primary GPS during lengthy bike tours, so I knew I needed something extremely durable. I wanted a built in screen protector, too, as it would ultimately endure rain and dust during multi-day rides.
Thus far, I love the Lifeproof Fre case. Because it’s renown for its protection against snow, water, dust, and shock, I was expecting a rather bulky package. It turns out that this Lifeproof case is surprisingly slim compared to my previous Otterbox case.
I haven’t actually tested its shockproof promise; however, I can attest that it’s dust, water, and snow proof. Before taking this shot, I rinsed my phone in the lake just to wash the mud from the touchscreen and camera lens. It’s also survived nearly 1000 km on my handlebars without any noticeable dust creeping inside the case. It’s also survived a 1000 km on my handlebars without flying off, which is impressive considering how easy it mounts. I can transfer it between bikes in seconds.
Much like the never ending search for the perfect camera bag, it seems no iPhone case is perfect. The Lifeproof Fre case has a screen protector that keeps the screen safe from all forms of dirt and debris comes with a caveat. It makes typing more difficult. It just isn’t the same as touching the screen directly, which would be possible with the newer Nuud cases.
The super waterproofness is only possible by forming a tight seal around the entire phone (no kidding!), which means the headphone jack is hidden beneath a screw-in cap. To use headphones, which I routinely do for hands free talking, I have to use the supplied screw-in aux cable, which is really just an extra piece of equipment that can go missing.
I cannot imagine better protection for my telephone or a better setup for bikepacking.
The protection is proven through use. I’ve stuffed the phone in jersey pockets, mounted it on my handlebars, dunked the phone in lakes, and used it in hot and cold temperatures. There isn’t a single scratch on my phone and it hasn’t been drowning in condensation. This case does its job perfectly.
For bikepacking, traveling light is key. I rarely venture far without my phone, so it makes since to use the phone for navigation rather than carry a second GPS unit. The bicycle mount is secure; it hasn’t released its grip on my phone yet, while I’ve rattled down enough gravel roads and singletrack to shake bolts and bottles right off the bike.