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Chris Maxcer

Fear No Water: LifeProof frē for iPhone 6 Waterproof Case Review

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Most guys I know take their smartphones into the field — backpacking, fishing, and hunting, as well as rafting, swimming, and skiing. In addition to the camera, smartphones have GPS-based topo maps and can even sometimes can get a signal miles from the nearest road. Most of these guys just keep their phones in deep pockets or backpacks and only sometimes put them to use. There’s a better way, though — a waterproof case like the LifeProof frē for iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 owners haven’t had many options better than a Ziploc sandwhich bag for months, but now LifeProof is shipping its “frē” waterproof case for iPhone 6. The LifeProof frē for iPhone 6 version is built similar to previous iPhone versions, as well as versions for the Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, and Droid Turbo — but the overall fit and finish seems to be a notch or two more refined the frē for iPhone 5/5s I used last.

LifeProof frē for iPhone 6 Features

The LifeProof frē is built from two halves, a front and back panel that snap securely together over a rubber gasket. It includes a built-in plastic screen protector and an optical anti-reflective glass camera lens. TouchID works well through the case. A flip down port gives you quick access to the Lightning port — but, unfortunately, the Lightning port opening on the LifeProof frē case is designed for Apple’s Lightning cable only — most third-party cables are too thick to use.

The headphone port is sealed up with an attached screw that uses a gasket to seal out moisture, and if you want to connect headphones to the case and keep it all watertight, LifeProof includes an extension cable that screws into the case.

Rugged in a Slim Package

The LifeProof frē is rugged in a slim profile: It meets Military Standard 810G-516.6 for drops up to 6.6 feet, plus it’s IP-68 rated for Ingress Protection against water and dust. The frē can withstand water immersion down to 6.6 feet for up to 1 hour. And the dust? It can keep out circulating talc for 8 hours.

The case shape brings some more rectangular edges to the rounded iPhone 6, making it easier to hold. Because the case is slim, it retains easy pocketability.

Aside from the requirement to charge your iPhone 6 with an Apple Lightning cord when it’s in the case, the only potential annoyance comes down to the natural laws of the universe: Sound isn’t quite as clear through the fully-sealed case as it is when you use a naked iPhone. The sound loudness and quality is pretty darn good, considering, but that’s the tradeoff for a completely sealed smartphone.

Don’t Fear the Rain

All-in-all, if you’re going to be in wet, muddy, or dusty environments, the LifeProof frē line of cases offers a solid, trustworthy option. In fact, there’s only a handful of waterproof cases I trust with my iPhone, and the LifeProof frē is one of them — and it’s the first of the best to ship for iPhone 6, available right now.

There is more, though, namely a battery charging case that’s also waterproof — check out our LifeProof FRĒ Power Case Review for the details.

One last note: Do I trust any waterproof smartphone case for serious swimming, like snorkeling or roughhouse water play? Nope. If you knock open the Lighting port, that’s a problem. Similarly, if you forget to get out of the water after 1 hour, that might be a problem. Hard to say. Either way, if you want a much tougher photo and video experience around water, consider nabbing one of the best waterproof cameras.

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For the messy places of the world, though — with some casual water use — a waterproof smartphone case like the LifeProof frē offers a lot of peace of mind. Better yet, a LifeProof frē will let you pull out your smartphone without fear and take photos and video in places and situations you might not otherwise — and that’s a big win. Don’t trust your memory to capture some of life’s best moments — and don’t fear the rain.

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