During the ICAST 2012 show in Orlando, I had the good fortune to meet and talk with Angel King from LifeProof, the makers of waterproof cases for iPhones and iPads. I got the whole demonstration for the iPhone and iPad units, as well as mounting accessories that (although made for bicycles) have endless possibilities (including kayaks). I was given a full set of items to try out and review. This included the LifeProof case for the phone, a belt clip, the “LifeJacket”, and the bike clip.
Admittedly, I was a little nervous putting my phone in the water; after all, it’s my work phone. It wouldn’t look too good if I went in and asked for a new one, but I took the chance and gave it a shot. Opening the case for the phone, the first thing you see is detailed instructions that lead you to the website, where there are very good videos that show you how to pre-test the case prior to actually putting the phone in.
I followed these videos, came back in the required hour, cleaned it up, and installed the phone. I immediately noticed a problem. I had some gaps on the corners, so removed the phone and tried again; making sure the seal was properly installed. I still had the same problem.
Taking a chance, I installed the phone in the LifeJacket and threw it in my pool. The LifeJacket is just that - a bright orange floating case. They also make these for the iPad.
The LifeJacket would be a great item to have if it’s really important that your phone be readily accessible while on the water. There’s no way it’s sinking, and with the bright orange color it can be seen from very far away. It still offers you the ease of use for your phone, as the phone just slips right into it. All the buttons and screen are fully accessible.
The bike clip is a ball-type mount with a padded oval ring (different thickness pads are provided) that can be mounted on a kayak very easily. With the new phones, you could place it in front of you and shoot self-portraits or video, or switch the camera to forward facing and shoot actions shots of that fish of a lifetime.
I used the LifeProof case and belt clip for a couple of days and came away with these observations. Although water proof, I was worried about the visible gaps. It’s a hard case, and while I think it would provide some layer of protection in a fall, I don’t think it would provide as much as an OtterBox® (which I was previously using). It also didn’t fit my hands very well while texting. Again, the rubber siding of an OtterBox® provides better grip and a better hold on the phone. I also found the screen less sensitive to the touch, as the plastic covering is much thicker.
I also didn’t like the belt clip at all. With a “hook” type clip on one end, it was constantly locking itself up, and it would take two hands to remove the phone.
Now these are just my observations - I think they are great products. If I had a personal iPhone that I used more on the water, I would definitely purchase these items.