In the world of iPhone accessories, especially that of iPhone 5, there are a handful of manufacturers who produce military-grade armor-type cases. Of course, these are not the usual cases that people buy a lot but these “specialist” cases are, as they cater to a very specific level of protection, quite meticulous about design and the spec.
Right from the top of my hat, there are two cases in this category; the one from Otterbox (Armor Series) and the one from LifeProof (frē).
While we've seen the Otterbox Armor already, we take a closer look at LifeProof's iPhone 5 case.
LifeProof iPhone 5 case comes with the acclaimed four-fold protection: water, snow, dirt and shock. Now, it took me about four seconds to type that but building cases of this type is an engineering feat of sorts. That's why there are just a handful (or more precisely, two) leading iPhone 5 cases which offer this spec.
The Best Pro Ever
The reason I don't much like the Otterbox is due to the bulkiness of the accessory. When Apple tries to make its products – notably the iPhone 5 – lighter and thinner, it makes sense for accessory-makers to aim for that particular spec because we like our iPhones thin and light. Yes, even with accessories. That's why buyers prefer thinner iPhone 5 cases.
With LifeProof frē, that's precisely the deal. While getting intense about the four-fold protection, the team has also focused on keeping the case dimensions palm-friendly. And at 12.2mm (that's a centimeter), it's pretty thin. The Otterbox Armor, in comparison, stands at 17.8mm. At the case-level, an increase of 0.5cm actually changes the whole experience.
This is a standard with most military-grade cases and LifeProof's frē iPhone 5 case comes with Ingress Protection standard IP-68. This means: you've got a darn good case that protects your iPhone 5 from water. The spec sheet goes like this: 8 hours in dust (talcum powder-like), 2 meters deep water (30 minutes). LifeProof prides itself with the highest level of water protection.
So that means it's pricey? Somewhere on the web, I found an article about LifeProof frē iPhone 5 case under the head that goes something like this: Waterproof iPhone Cases Under $100.
Well so is Otterbox Armor at $99.95. Under $100. But there's a big difference in prices.
The LifeProof frē iPhone 5 costs $79.99. Sure, it's under $100 but it's a lot ‘under' than the competition but for pretty much the same level of exception protection.
An interesting thing about LifeProof frē is that you can buy accessories for the case itself to improve the functionality of the case. These include a belt-clip, a bike-mount, car mount, lifejacket etc. You can check out the full list here.
The case itself is available in various color options.