Every new generation of iPhone seems to also usher in a new generation of phone cases. Most of the time the cases are a slightly different size to fit the dimensions of the new phone – but this time Lifeproof is offering something completely different.
The construction is classic Lifeproof with a two piece design that snaps together – and this time there’s even an included pry tool to get it apart without searching for a quarter. What’s vastly different however, is the lack of a protective screen. Instead, every opening on the case is sealed with a rubber gasket. In theory, this should protect the more vulnerable parts of the phone, while allowing unfettered access to the screen.
Each button is completely sealed and includes a rubberized stand in, similar to Lifeproof cases in the past. The mute button however has transitioned from a rubber slide, to a plastic switch which rotates to turn the phone from loud to silent. Since the home ‘button’ is no longer a button, there’s no reason to cover it up resulting in better fingerprint reads and easier home access.
At the bottom of the phone, the speakers are open to the elements, though they are protected from dirt and snow with a fine mesh. However, there are rubber gaskets on the inside of the case which seal the speaker opening from the rest of the phone – we’re assuming the phone’s water resistant nature will keep the speakers safe from intruding water. Finally, the Lightning port is sealed with a rubber flap that opens to the side.
Compared to the Incipio case that I was using, the Lifeproof NËXT is about 7mm wider and taller, yet it’s actually a tiny bit thinner. I should note that I’m using a tempered glass screen protector on my phone, and it works with the NËXT without any issue since the two do not overlap.
With the introduction of the iPhone 7, Apple finally got close to catching up to their rivals in terms of protection from your phone’s mortal enemy – water. As one of the countless people who have lost an iPhone to an accidental drop in the drink, even the lowly IP67 rating of the iPhone 7 and now 8 & X comes as a much needed improvement. According to the experts, IP67 rating means the phone can withstand up to 30 minutes in water up to 1m deep.
But wait – don’t jump in for some pool selfies just yet. While the phone should theoretically withstand those conditions, that’s in standby mode, and Apple says that the phone is water and splash resistant.
With the addition of the NËXT, that doesn’t really change. However, they do claim that the case will protect the phone from drops up to 2 meters, and adds an IP5X rating for blocking dirt, sand, and snow. If you’re looking for true waterproof protection, the Lifeproof FRĒ will soon be available for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus which keeps the screen for protection at up to 6.6 feet for an hour of submersion.
Long story short, the Lifeproof NËXT builds on the phone’s own water resistant rating and provides improved protection from drops, dirt, snow, and water short of full submersion. That should make it a great option for a jersey pocket or a pack, even if you’re caught in a rain storm. Lifeproof NËXT cases are available for preorder for iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (also compatible with iPhone 7) for $79.99 in four colors, with iPhone X cases available soon.