lifeproof-fre-power-review
Chris Maxcer

LifeProof FRĒ Power Case Review: Waterproof with 2x Battery

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The new LifeProof FRĒ Power for iPhone 6/6s Case solves two core problems for most adventurers — the need for a rugged waterproof case and the need for extra battery power. The FRĒ takes the popular design of the frē waterproof case and blends it with a battery case. The end result?

The FRĒ is a powerful work of rugged art.

The lines are good, the texture is great, and it’s just a damn solid waterproof case — that happens to give you a full extra battery charge, too.

Great for Photos, Video, and GPS Maps

If you use your iPhone to take a lot of photos and video, the extra battery and protection is a welcome addition. Where the FRĒ really excels for adventurers is when you want to use map apps that use the iPhone’s built-in GPS, which tends to use more battery than normal. If you’re logging your tracks, there’s nothing worse than running out of battery before you make it to your destination.

Though, I must say, always having a little extra battery in reserve for emergencies is what I like most.

How the LifeProof FRĒ Power Case Works

lifeproof fre power case review
The LifeProof FRĒ Power Case delivers a superb mix of quality for the price.

Like the non-battery waterproof frē, the FRĒ Power Case uses a rubber gasket that seals out water between two complete-coverage halves. All buttons are covered, and the headphone port gets a screw-in plug with its own little rubber gasket. The power port, which is a Micro USB port, is protected by a flip open door with a rubber seal. The FRĒ includes a built-in screen protector, as you would expect. There is a slight gap between your screen and the protector — it doesn’t seal onto your screen like discrete screen protectors — but it doesn’t seem to affect usage much. If anything, within about two minutes of use, it led me to be more aggressive with my taps, which actually improved typing accuracy. Go figure.

In any event, both halves snap together easily, and, as long as your have something like a coin to break the seal in one corner, it’s easy enough to remove your iPhone 6 or 6s.

The core idea, though, is that the FRĒ Power Case is good enough to use as your everyday case — though some owners will likely use it mainly for their more adventurous activities, which is what I use it for.

Charging the LifeProof FRĒ Power Case for iPhone 6/6s

The LifeProof FRĒ Power Case works just like other power cases: When you connect it to a USB power source like a MacBook or a plug, your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s will start charging first. Once it is completely charged, the case automatically switches to start charging the built-in battery.

Once you’re unplugged and on the go, simply push and hold a button on the back of the case for two seconds and the case will start charging your spent iPhone 6/6s. If you have 25% battery on your iPhone, the case will charge it to 100% then turn itself off, leaving you with approximately 25% of a remaining charge.

The capacity of the FRĒ Power Case is 2600 mAh, which is enough to fully recharge an empty iPhone 6 battery.

Putting the LifeProof FRĒ Power Case to Work

When you take your FRĒ out into the elements, the case does what it’s supposed to do — protects your iPhone. You can submerge this case down to 6.6 feet for up to 1 hour, and it’s sealed from dirt, dust, snow, mud, and whatever debris was left inside the top pocket of your backpack.

lifeproof fre power case review iphone 6s
Color Options: check out the LifeProof FRE Power Case in Avalanche or Base Jump Blue.

I wouldn’t take my iPhone 6 snorkeling in this case — too much water, for too long, and you couldn’t dive down to investigate something. If you want to snap pictures of your kids at the waterpark or dip your iPhone underwater to video the release of a hard-fighting trout, this case will work great though. (If you want deep water protection for photography, get an inexpensive dedicated waterproof camera — check out our guide to the best waterproof cameras.)

What about that headphone port and adapter? The adapter works great because it has a rubber gasket seal, giving you extra protection from, say, the rain if you go running in the rain and listen to wired headphones. It’s important to note that you don’t have to use the adapter — your thin white Apple ear buds will still plug into your headphone port through the case. It just won’t be quite as sealed from the elements.

One minor quibble: I wish the FRĒ Power Case had a little hole where a wrist lanyard could be attached. Why? If you’re hanging over the side of a raft, you can film without worrying about dropping your iPhone to the bottom of the river. I’ll just have to be careful, just like before using this case.

And what about the quality of audio? Very slightly muffled is overstating the effect — nobody notices anything different on the other end of phone calls, and I have to pay serious attention in order to notice a difference on my end. As for music and video playback, audio escapes the bottom speaker just fine. Sounds great, in fact.

Shop all LifeProof waterproof cases for smartphones — direct from LifeProof.

Review: LifeProof FRĒ Power Case Best Features

All in all, the LifeProof FRĒ Power Case for iPhone 6/6s offers the core rugged protection you expect — it meets military standards for drop and shock protection and it has an IP68 protection rating for dust and water. The battery offers enough energy for a full recharge, effectively doubling your iPhone’s battery life. As for the fit and finish, the gray accents look great with the slightly rubberized black, and the entire package results in a rugged unit with a solid feel.

The LifeProof FRĒ Power Case for iPhone 6/6s has a recommended retail price of $129 (but is usually a bit less at Amazon with free shipping). Is it worth it? If you like to go outside, get wet, and work or play in dusty, messy environments . . . definitely yes.

Oh, one more quick buying note: With any popular high-end case, there is a risk of purchasing a counterfeit case — and this is important when you need quality in order to maintain waterproofing. So how can you make sure you’re getting the real deal and not some cheap knockoff that looks exactly like the original? You have two core online buying choices: First, when you buy from Amazon, make sure that the seller is actually Amazon and not some third-party store that works through Amazon. How? Right under the pricing information, look for this phrase: “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.” If you see that, you’re good to go. This link to the FRE Power Case will get you there.

What’s the second buying option? Get it straight from LifeProof. 

Optional LIFEACTÍV QuickMounts

lifeproof lifeactiv mounts
The LifeProof LifeAcitv mounting system securely connects to various mounts, including this bike/bar mount.

LifeProof has a line of quick mounting LifeActiv accessories that attach to most smooth polycarbonate or metal cases — including the LifeProof FRĒ Power Case as well as the frē waterproof case lineup. The universal accessory line has a low-profile adhesive mounting plate that you attach to the back of your case that, in turn, easily attaches to the various mounts. LifeProof offers a Bike + Bar Mount, Belt Clip, Multipurpose Mount, and Suction Mount. They are all high-quality mounts that work fantastic — check out the direct links below.

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