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Review: LifeProof iPhone Case - Water Proof / Shock Proof iPhone Case

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Protecting our device is at the top of every iPhone owners list. With the dual glass screens, water sensors in the top bottom and middle, it's critical to keep it from any shocks or wetness. Well, LifeProof has come up with a solution for those that want to keep the slim stylings of the iPhone and still keep their high dollar device protected.

To get the benefit of the LifeProof, you have to put a little work in yourself. This isn't your typical case that you just slap the phone in and go. No, you need to learn about this case by watching some installation videos, doing a water test, check all of the ports for water tightness. I found the video instructions to be the best way to go, chiefly because they have a little bit of humor in them, and aren't just dry tech support vids. There is even a specifc way to snap the case together and apart (BTW, that  isn't meant to be done too often).

When I followed the directions for the water test, my first unit kept failing. I checked with LifeProof tech support and they gave me some alternate directions, but in the end it still didn't pass (see image below with condensation), so I simply decided to ask them for a replacement unit. This one worked.

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LifeProof touts that they are shock proof, waterproof, dirt proof, and snow proof. Pretty cool, eh? Take out the LifeProof case while you are snowboarding, mountain biking, or even lounging on the beach. The styling of the case makes it easy to do. The case is just a bit thicker than the iPhone itself, so it is  fairly thin and durable. To keep it waterproof you snap the case together, and then snap the dock port closed and then screw in the headphone jack dongle which seals off the port and will keep out any moisture from the phone. You plug in your earbuds into the end of the dongle — so if you plan on swimming with this case, your standard iPhone earbuds won't be your go-to item.  For times when you don't need the earbuds, it has a tiny screw in rubber grommet that will go into your iPhone's audio jack. They provide you with two — as you will lose one. Or two. This is just fine for someone who uses the iPhone as just a phone, but can quickly become a hassle if you want to switch back and forth between the headphones and just carrying it around in your pocket as a phone. This was the case for me — I didn't want the dongle all of the time, but found I needed it, but it was a hassle to switch back and forth. Ultimately, I just went with the audio jack unprotected — which pretty much eliminates the 'waterproof' aspect.

Overall I really enjoyed this case - with one MAJOR exception. The case has an integrated plastic screen, which is needed to keep your iPhone waterproof. However, the screen bowes out form the actual iPhone glass, so every time you touch the screen you feel the plastic on top of the glass, and it even makes a tapping sound. At first I thought it was just me — but I let a friend test the case, and they came to the same conclusion — it's quite annoying.  I'm hoping LifeProof will fix this in the next iteration of the case. Other major competitors don't have this issue, and I think that they definitely need to fix this issue. Ok, rant over…

The sound quality of the case was 50/50.  50% of the time it was fine, and the other 50% I felt like I could hear some distortion or reverb, which was simply the screen that lets audio pass through. The only way I can explain it is that it sounds like have blown the speaker on your phone. You can blow on it and then it's back to normal, but it did tend to happen a little more frequently that I liked. I had no complaints from folks on the other end of the conversation, so I assume they heard me just fine. The LifeProof case can actually make your iPhone sound a bit louder when using the external speaker. The space can add some extra 'bass' and reverb to the speakers, so it's almost like cupping the bottom of the phone in your hand, and it seems a bit louder.

For peace of mind, you really can't beat the LifeProof case — they put these to the test, and by the praise I see them getting online, it must be true. I didn't have any snow to test mine with, but I was able to take my iPhone and drop it 3 feet, wash it off in the sink (under running hot water) and my iPhone showed no signs of problems.  During my testing period I found myself treating my iPhone a little more 'rough'. Tossing it here and there, not caring if it was always out of harms way, etc. I felt secure enough with the LifeProof case that if I was a *little* rough it would be just fine. The LifeProof case isn't indestructible, so don't go crazy by driving over it to test the rugged durability. It's not designed for that — it's designed for active people that want to keep their $300 phone safe during these activities. If you want the full details on what can be expected should something go wrong, you definitely want to check out the warranty.

 

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Conclusion:

With a $79 price point, it's certainly one of the more expensive cases. However, one trip to the Apple Store to replace your broken iPhone is double that price and then some. If you have an active outdoor lifestyle, or just an average user that wants piece of mind that their device is safe from water damage or other contaminants, then the LifeProof is for you.

Pros:

  • Slim Design
  • Sealed ports to eliminate water entry

Cons:

  • Touch Screen isn't flush with iPhone
  • Pricey

 

Product: LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case

Price: $79.99

Tmr4

iOS 5.1 Update Now Available

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iOS5 is now available for updating on your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. It offers several new features, and it's a recommended upgrade.

Here's what you get:

  1. Japanese language support for Siri
  2. Photos can now be deleted from Photo Stream
  3. Camera shortcut now always visible on Lock Screen for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch (4th generation)
  4. Camera face detection now highlights all detected faces
  5. Redesigned Camera app for iPad
  6. Genius Mixes and Genius playlists for iTunes Match subscribers
  7. Audio for TV shows and movies on iPad optimized to sound louder and clearer
  8. Podcast controls for playback speed and a 30 second rewind for iPad
  9. Updated AT&T network indicator
  10. Addresses bugs affecting battery life
  11. Fixes an issue that occasionally caused audio to drop for outgoing calls

We had no trouble updating via Over The Air, but we have heard some reports of folks trying to do this update via iTunes at this time.

 

 

 

Streaming on the iPad and iPhone - Lots of Options, Still Not Enough.

Online TV isn't  à la carte, but it sure is getting close. Even though I do pay for cable (Comcast) I still subscribe to several other online streaming services. I don't know why - I like having the option I guess. I've always been somewhat of a collector of TV stuff. I used to save the TV Guide every week when I was a little kid. I did have other books, but I liked having a stack 4 feet tall by the end of the year. But I digress.

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My Monthly Subscriptions:

  • Comcast Cable w/ HBO
  • Netflix
  • Hulu Plus
  • Dish Network w/ Starz, HBO, and Cinemax
  • TiVo


These alone provide tens of thousands of choices.

On top of that, I have apps that allow streaming from NBC, HBO GO, Cinemax GO, Epix, EyeTV, TNT, PBS, TBS, NBC, TWIT, Encore, Starz, MoviePlex, XFINITY (similar to offerings on Dish), Crackle, and a couple more.

To bring some of it under control, I use the AOL TV and Fanhattan apps on the iPad. They don't list whats on on all of these services, but they hit some of the majors - at least enough to give me a show to watch and easy access to it.

With all of these services I bet you think I'm a movie junkie or TV show junkie. I used to be when I was younger, but now I'm pretty happy to watch ESPN and The Peoples Court. And little sprinkling of Survivor, Modern Family, Fear Factor, How Stuffs Made, Big Bang Theory, and ESPN U.

Unfortunately at this time ESPN isn't streaming to my iPhone or iPad since I am a Comcast customer - this is only for a select few cable companies. The good news is that Comcast is on the list and should be offering some live streaming (at least with Disney owned networks) soon.

Hopefully Comcast will make some headway with agreements for streaming all or most of their channels within your own home, and essentially my iPad or iPhone will become a second television set. Cox Cable, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FIOS and others are already doing this. Since Comcast is behind the curve on this one, to make up for their lack of in-home streaming I currently use an EyeTV device and application to make this happen, but it's just 'ok', and doesn't provide me with the higher quality streams I would like or my premium digital channels.

Another issue is that not all of these services (I'm talking to you HULU Plus) make ALL of their content available to the app. I missed Fear Factor the other night and immediately went to Hulu Plus to watch it on my iPad. What? Streaming ONLY on the WEB (and they don't mean the iPad web)! How dare you Hulu.  I quickly resolved this issue by launching the NBC App on my iPad, and sure enough, I was able to stream it just fine. I wish all of these licensing issues and power struggles would go away. A guy can dream.

The good news is that while these services may not be providing an elegant all in one solution, they are providing something. Take for example Showtime or The Movie Channel -- I haven't seen any such offerings from them. They have an app on the App store, but it seems to be merely promotional, only offering 'clips'. This is why they are second tier channels -- and will continue to be until they get with the program (er...so to speak).

So, to recap -- I subscribe to too much TV which I don't have the time to watch. That's really the main reason I do - convenience. I want it when I want it, no matter where I am. If I can fit in an episode of Modern Family while I'm waiting for my wife in the car -- that's exactly why I pay this subscription convenience fee. Several of my online friends seem to be cutting the cord - and that is exactly why all of  the cable companies are making you stay subscribed so that you can have access to their streaming content.  No pay - no shows. I am going to cut the cord this summer -- at least for cable TV and read an iBook.


iPhone 4S Coming to China and 21 More Countries Jan 13

More Markets = More Phone sales keeps Apple competitive.

Beginning Friday, January 13, iPhone 4S will be available in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, China, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Guam, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and Uganda.

iPhone 4S comes in either black or white for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 16GB model, $299 (US) for the 32GB model and $399 (US) for the new 64GB model.* iPhone 4S is sold through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iPhone 4 is available for just $99 (US) and iPhone 3GS is available for free with a two year contract from participating carriers.