Last week, World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), owner of the Ironman series confirmed an official sponsorship with LifeProof, the award-winning maker of all-protective, everyday cases for smartphones and tablets. Under the sponsorship agreement, LifeProof becomes an Official Sponsor of both the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 series and will also sponsor swim caps for Ironman 70.3 races in the United States over the next three years.
In tandem with this, LifeProof also announced an official sponsorship with Andy Potts, the professional triathlete, Olympian, Ironman and Ironman 70.3 champion.
As the company points out, LifeProof products are designed to give people more freedom from environmental constraints. LifeProof allows ‘athletes, road warriors and outdoor adventurers to confidently take their mobile devices with them everywhere and do everything in any kind of weather.’
At triathlonbusiness.com we got hold of a LifeProof iPhone case and have noted down some product feedback…
- The internal display of the packaging shows the case through a plastic cover. Here, there is an interesting ‘WE ARE A CONTRADICTION’ paragraph, which notes the brand’s ‘excellence in design’ versus it being almost ‘invisible’ in every day usage. As a quirky touch, the following text fades out on-pack:
WE ARE A CONTRADICTION
We create life proof protection for mobile devices that is beautiful but also understated. Our cases are sleek and slim while being tough and durable. We believe in attention to detail and excellence in design to deal with everyday problems you may not even be aware of.
We like to be invisible (well almost).
- The packaging is solid, well presented with clear on-pack diagrams taking the user through the 7 stages of protection with the case (see below)
- The side of pack has a handy ‘actual size’ side shot of the case noting the 13.3mm ultra slim design; one side of the packaging also has a side shot that shows the 9.3mm width of an iPhone within the main body of the case
- The packaging notes that the case, a cleaning cloth, headphone jack covers, a jack cover keeper and headphone adapter are included
- Interestingly there is no QR code to navigate the user via smart phone to the extensive online information about the case’s set up and usage; perhaps this will follow in future pack versions
7 stages of protection
- Waterproof vents on all mics and speakers
- Anti-reflective optical glass lens
- Waterproof and dirt-proof seals on case and port
- Scratch-resistant, waterproof screen protector
- Polycarbonate frame
- Non-stick cover
- Shock-absorbing elastomer
Set up and instructions:
- All instructions are online via www.lifeproof.com/mip4.
- A label marked ‘Caution’ on the case itself notes that a water test must be undertaken prior to water exposure.
- This label clearly directs the user to the clear and well-laid out instructions online
- The online instructions/user guide runs through:
Package contents and introduction to the LifeProof case
Conducting the Water Test
Assembling the case
Testing the case to ensure a watertight seal
Installing your iPhone into the LifeProof case
Using the case features
Understanding the Four Proofs: dirt proof; water proof; snow proof; shock proof
Care and cleaning
- As a main first step the case is assembled, with all entry points (headphone and power charge port door) sealed
- The user finds a container large enough to submerge the case, i.e. a kitchen sink or bathroom sink.
- The sink is filled with water at least half full; and the case is placed under the water – weighed down with something to hand in either the kitchen or bathroom, such as a coffee mug full of water or a shampoo bottle
- A few air bubbles may escape from the Gore-Tex covered sound holes; this is a little disconcerting at first as it appears that the case has let in water
- The instructions then direct the user to leave the case under water for an hour
- Having done so and removed the case from the water, all excess water on the surface of the case wiped away easily; and it was dry inside
- If it looks dry inside, the case has passed the test
Clearly, this water test isn’t a step to try out with the phone inside, but it does provide reassurance that the case is watertight – helpful reassurance indeed for long bike rides in the winter months ahead!
- Having conducted the water test, there’s a slightly fiddly process to open the case whilst ensuring that it isn’t bent or damaged in any way.
- The open (post water test) case is then ready to take the phone, which slots in securely
- The phone itself and case must be clean and free of dust to ensure clarity of the display through the protective screen
- Case Dimensions: 2.6″ (W) x 5.08″ (L) x 0.42″ (D) inner, 0.52″(D) outer edge (66mm (W) x 129mm (L) x 10.8mm (D), 13.3mm (D) outer edge)
- Case weight 0.98 oz (28g)
- Operating temperature iPhone 32°F (0°C) to 95°F (35°C)
- Temperature range for LifeProof case alone -40°F (-40°C) to 140°F (+60°C)
- Operational depth 6.6 feet (2 metres) underwater maximum
- Drop height 6.6 feet (2 metres) maximum
- From a usability point of view, there is very little usage to a phone case!
- Ultimately, it should protect a phone and be (almost) invisible as LifeProof points out.
- The increasing role of iPhone apps such as Strava for tracking training sessions means that the phone is a more prevalent companion when out on the road, or trails, during all weather conditions. This is where a solid, and water tight, case comes into its own.
- On a day to day basis, the LifeProof iPhone case works well. The protective screen can take a little getting used to; and the touch screen on the phone is slightly less responsive when in the LifeProof case. However, sending texts, composing e-mails and other day-to-day use of the phone can be performed without any real problems.
- According to LifeProof CEO Gary Rayner, the case cost US$2 million to develop. Ultimately, a user would buy a LifeProof case for protecting their prize asset from the elements – and would generally pay a premium for doing so.
- The LifeProof iPhone case for iPhone 4/4S is priced at US$79.99 / £49.62 / €61.10 (with free shipping in the US and Europe).
- This is slightly above other competing products that claim to offer ‘tough protection’ for the iPhone.
- Yet, the LifeProof is generally slimmer than most of its tough case rivals currently out on the market. It also has a new strategic sponsorship with Ironman that will broaden its horizons to the growing body of endurance athletes that appreciate good design and tough features.