Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Lifedge Waterproof Case for iPhone 5/5s

- published April 2014

88

2014

RATINGS

Ease of use
10
Features
8
Durability
9
Design
9
Value
8
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
88

THE GOOD

  • Completely waterproof, sand-proof, and drop-proof
  • Lightweight, slim case that adds very little bulk to your phone
  • Removing or inserting your phone from the case is quick and easy
  • Large camera shutter button helps when shooting pictures with gloves on
  • Works with the Lifedge bike mount

THE BAD

  • The Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s isn’t compatible with this case
  • The slightly raised lip around the screen can sometimes make it tricky to swipe apps in from the edges of the screen

THE VERDICT

The Lifedge Waterproof Case, while slightly more expensive than other similar waterproof iPhone cases, felt more robust, looked better, and made the process of getting the phone in and out much easier than any other case I’ve tried. It is definitely worth sacrificing the iPhone’s Touch ID feature for the easy protection offered by this case.

FULL REVIEW

Since losing most of the pre-iPhone ‘feature phones’ to the effects of sand, water and snow, I’ve kept every phone I’ve had since in a protective case. The Lifedge is a 100-percent waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof case for iPhone 5 and 5s that lets you take your phone to the beach, use it on your bike, or do virtually anything else without worry.

Ease of use
Once the phone was snapped securely inside the Lifedge case, I discovered that there was very little difference in how I used the phone compared to when it wasn’t inside a case. Some aspects of the case, such as the large camera shutter button, actually made it slightly easier to use. Other features made use it slightly trickier. For instance, the raised lip sometimes interfered with swiping in from the edges of the touchscreen.

Thanks to the acoustic design of the case, calls also sounded perfectly clear with no loss of volume, and I experienced no degradation in signal whatsoever, whether that was 3G, 4G or wifi–indoors and outdoors.

The process of getting the phone in and out of the case is where Lifedge really shines and where similar competitor cases often fall flat. The company’s unique silicon piston-seal system comprises a sturdy and secure click-shut clip at the top and bottom of the case – once these clips are open, the two halves of the case come apart with just a quick pull. We didn’t need a coin or special tool and getting my phone in (and out again!) took seconds. It’s actually a really refreshing take on the whole waterproof case concept.

Features
When it comes to primary features, the Lifedge case is waterproof, dustproof and shockproof, but I’ll get to those in a minute.

What I really liked about this case is that it gave me access to all of our iPhone’s physical features without having to remove it from the case–including charging. Every button was fully accessible, both the front and rear cameras could be used as normal, and the headphone socket came with a handy screw-in adaptor so that I could still use headphones without water getting into the case. It was impossible to lose the screw-in stopper too, as it’s handily attached to the case with a flexible tab.

The only feature I couldn’t really use was the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, although after a few days I found I didn’t really miss it – and it wouldn’t work anyway when I used the phone while wearing gloves.

Durability
Durability is the real reason why anyone would buy a case like this, and the Lifedge didn’t disappoint. It’s rated to IP68, which means it’s fully watertight in up to 2.0 meters (6+ feet) of water for 30 minutes, and it’s also 100-percent dustproof. In my tests, it survived being attached to a bike for two months in all kinds of weather, it stood up to being fully buried in sand, and it brushed off total submersion in the sea.

The case has an impact absorbing outer shell together with internal shock absorbers, which means it easily withstood vertical drops onto hard floors from about waist height, and the built-in abrasion resistant touchscreen protector remained crystal clear whatever I threw at it.

Design
Lifedge worked with one of London’s industrial designers to create their case, and that’s apparent when you look at it. Whereas competitor cases are often overly functional and utilitarian in terms of their design, the Lifedge has been designed to stand out rather than blend in. With four color options including grey, black, green and aqua, together with a contoured back panel and contrasting colour features, we decided that it was definitely one of the more interesting-looking waterproof cases on the market.

Value
The Lifedge case costs £75 ($120) direct from the manufacturer, which is towards the more expensive end of the category. Dedicated accessories, such as the bike mount which retails at £35 ($48), also command premium prices.

 

How We Tested It

I tested this case (and the dedicated bike mount) for two winter months on my usual daily 20 mile tarmac and hardpack bike commute along the North East coast of England. It stayed firmly attached to the handlebars during rain, hail, sleet, sub zero temperatures and almost 2 and a half rare minutes of sunshine. I used it on other weekend bike trips, I took it surfing and kayaking, I buried it in sand and I even threw it in the sea – all with a 64GB iPhone 5s inside.

The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.

Shop for the Lifedge Waterproof Case for iPhone 5/5s


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RATINGS

Ease of use
10
Features
8
Durability
9
Design
9
Value
8
GEAR INSTITUTE RATING
88

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