LifeProof iPhone Case and Bike & Bar Mount Review

by Brian Mullin on January 31, 2012

LifeProof recently released a bike and bar mount for their iPhone LifeProof case, which is a waterproof, snowproof, dustproof and shockproof case. The new mount fits a wide range of bike and motorsport bars, so you can take your iPhone on and off road, and into adverse conditions and environments. The synchronicity of the case and mount, allow you to use cycling GPS apps and normal mobile usage while riding a bike, extending the usefulness of your iPhone.

LifeProof Bike & Bar Mount
The mount is made from a tough high-impact resistant plastic, and it snugly cradles the iPhone case on its back, corners and top edge, without any undue movement. It clamps down with an easy to use handlebar clamp that has three rubber size adapters for varying bar thickness. The thinnest adapter will allow it clamp to fit onto most stems, though I was unable to use it on any of my oversize or irregular shaped stems, as it was too narrow for them.

It pivots and locks down using a ball and socket gimbal system, much like a RAM mount, so the angle can easily be adjusted for personal preferences. It was simple to pop the iPhone in and out of the unit using the top clip-in clasp, as well as the handlebar clamp, making for easy swap outs. It also didn’t need to be over tightened to keep it from moving, but the mount and iPhone aren’t that heavy, so nothing was really torquing things around much. I banged it around on some ugly heinous terrain, through teeth jarring rock gardens, in which the unit was subjected to some severe oscillations, and the iPhone remained rock solid and stable in the mount. Although the mount is designed specifically for their case, other rugged and durable iPhone case types might also fit, but I didn’t test them for sizing constraints nor fit.
Measured Specs:

  • Bar mount – 69.6 grams + 10.2 grams or 8.4 grams or 3.7 grams for each adapter band

Conclusions
The unit is robust, easy to use and adjust, and held their iPhone case in a secure and stable manner, though it would be nice to have a way to attach it to oversize mountain-bike stems. I liked how simple it was to pop the case out of the unit, and that it went right back in and remained sturdy and immobile. I crashed a number of times and hit the mount pretty hard, and although it tweaked it out of position, it didn’t cause any damage. I was truly amazed how freakin’ secure and bombproof this held the case, even on the most rugged and gnarly trails, and it never seemed to waver out of place and remained stable, and it retails for a decent $39.95.

Strengths

  • Durable and rugged
  • Easy to use – bar clamp and case
  • Adaptable to multiple bar sizes
  • Secure and stable

Weaknesses

  • It won’t fit irregular and oversize stems
  • Designed for their iPhone case – not tested with other cases?

Overall Rating: 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

LifeProof Bike and Bar Mount Specs:

  • MSRP: $39.95
  • Website: http://www.lifeproof.com
  • Light weight honeycomb construction with premium high-impact materials for optimal strength to weight ration
  • Accepts LifeProof iPhone 4 + iPhone 4S case
  • Use your performance and navigation apps in real-time
  • All buttons and features accessible in mount, including speaker and microphone.
  • Fits wide range of bars and bar-stems
  • Adjustable for portrait or landscape orientation
  • One-handed release latch for fast insertion and removal of LifeProof case
  • Integrated lock switch to prevent unwanted removal of iPhone.
  • Rear camera compatible – can be adjusted to vertical angle suitable for video recording activities
  • Accepts phone facing in or out
  • Compatible with Bluetooth headsets
  • Gimbal ball-head allows for the fine adjustment of viewing angle
  • Suitable for any use in any weather, seawater, dirt, and snow, including high vibration environments

LifeProof iPhone Case
The LifeProof iPhone 4/4S case is waterproof, snowproof, dustproof and shockproof, and protects the iPhone from abusive encounters with the environment and anything else you can toss at it. The case is around 1/16 inch thick, so it adds a tad more thickness than most other brands, but offers far more robustness and durability. The iPhone inserts tightly into the case, and then gets squeezed in snugly when the halves are closed together, and it takes some decent compression to get all the edges snapped completely shut and seal the waterproof gasket. Once everything is closed up tight, the case is immune to the average hazards tossed at it. To reopen the case, use a quarter or nickel to pry it open, and then it can be peeled apart, and the phone can be popped out. I opened and closed the case quite a few times, and it’s a pretty simple affair to do, just make sure the gasket is clean for complete waterproofness.

Using the touchscreen works pretty well, though on occasion, it takes additional effort to get the icons to work, as they can be less responsive. My kids could still play games on the phone, so I know that the interface was working decently enough for them to be entertained. It’s supposed to work with another screen protector underneath it, but I found the two protectors would stick together and cause clarity issues. In really bright light conditions, out in the full sunshine, the screen is a bit too glossy, and can make it more difficult to view things. The speaker and microphone covers utilize a Gore-Tex membrane, and they work surprisingly well, while still retaining their water and dirt protection qualities. While listening to music the back of the case works as a bass reinforcement device, and you can feel it slamming along like a mini subwoofer, and I thought that was a pretty trick feature. The buttons for volume work well, and the silence switch does its job, though it felt slightly stiff when used. To interface to the headphone jack, there is a watertight screw port, and a special adapter to run accessories, such as waterproof headphones. To use the power or docking port, you just flip the bottom closure flap down, and it’s accessed, although when inserting the plug, the flap gets in the way and there isn’t much maneuvering room due to the tolerances. I ran into an issue when trying to use my car power plugs to charge up the phone, as none of them would fit into the case’s tight recess, so I had to take the case apart to charge the iPhone. It was mildly annoying, but only took a few moments to take the case apart, as long as you had a large coin handy. I finally got a simple USB car charger that just allowed me to use the default iPhone plug, which fortunately doesn’t have any connection issues into the case.

I dropped the phone from 3 feet in the air, and it certainly seemed to offer considerable protection, but I didn’t test the extreme waterproofness (take it under water), so I’ll take their word on it. I got the unit into some hefty rain and snow storms, and plenty of dirt and mud have been thrown up on it, and it has been none the worse from the abuse.

Measured Specs:

  • iPhone Case – 31.7 grams

Conclusions
The slim case is rugged and abuse proof, and can offer some serious protection from drops, dirt and water, while still offering full access to the buttons, touchscreen, camera and phone. The touchscreen is too glossy, making it somewhat difficult to view in bright light conditions, and it can be tougher to engage icons and text, but the additional protection is worth the compromises, especially if you use the phone in adverse environments. It’s not cheap at $79.99, but I liked the case, and really appreciated that I don’t have to worry about babying my precious iPhone, as I know it’s well protected.

Pros:

  • Durable and rugged
  • Back of case offers sound reinforcement
  • Slim and light
  • Waterproof, snowproof, dustproof and shockproof

Cons:

  • Glossy screen can be difficult to view in bright light
  • Touchscreen can be less responsive
  • Power port recess is tight and might not fit all plugs – especially car chargers
  • Expensive

LifeProof iPhone 4/4S Case Specs:

  • MSRP: $79.99
  • Website: http://www.lifeproof.com
  • Colors: black, pink, purple, white
  • 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)
  • Operational Depth: 6.6 feet (2 meters) underwater maximum
  • Drop Height: 6.6 feet (2 meters) maximum
  • Protection
    • Protects against every-day hazards—full IP-68 rating against water and dust, and designed to Military Specifications
    • High degree of shock and impact protection—tested to Military Specifications MIL-STD-810F-516.5 (2 meters/6.6ft drop on all surfaces and edges. 26 tests)
    • Fully sealed protection against minute dust particles
  • Freedom
    • Ability to swim and take underwater (2 meters/6.6ft depth). Optional adapter allows use of waterproof headphones underwater
    • Mil-Spec protection that allows you to go anywhere, anytime, and do anything with carefree freedom
  • Beauty
    • Ultra-slim and adds only 1/16” (1.5mm) when measured from the center of the phone
  • Convenience
    • Weighs less than an ounce (28g).
    • Unique combination of materials that will not stick to your pocket
    • Compatible with all iPhone 4’s and 4S’s (International, AT&T and Verizon).
  • Full Functionality
    • Double AR-coated optical glass lenses provide unprecedented crystal-clear photo and video quality
    • All phone features are operational while maintaining a high level of protection
    • Improves the bass and mid-frequency speaker response by utilizing the back of the case as a sub-woofer for a richer, fuller sound.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

ibismtb January 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Brian,
Do you really crash as much as it seems? You talk about crashing in so many of your reviews that I'm wondering if you are doing it on purpose as part of your product testing. I realize you ride some rough terrain, but if I crash more than a couple times a year I feel like I'm doing something wrong.

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet January 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I don't crash on purpose; it just happens with the kind of territory that I ride in. I wear plenty of protection and know how to crash properly (roll and go with it), so I rarely hurt myself. I push myself pretty hard in very technical terrain, and crashes and fall overs happen more than occasionally. Trust me, my mid 50's body doesn't need on purpose crash testing!

Reply

killerminpin February 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Case works! BUT no costomer service.. Phone number is worthless no answer,same for twitter account! Bought second gen for 4s people I call have hard time hearing me! Siri can't understand! Because of design of case I can't use docking station and the company has a dock extender but it's been out of stock for months!! Again worst part is lifeproof doesn't answer any calls,inquires or twitter posts! Sure it works to keep water out but it's worthless once your $400 phone is in it!! Horrible customer service! Don't make the same mistake I did and buy this!!!

Reply

killerminpin February 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Case works! BUT no costomer service.. Phone number is worthless no answer,same for twitter account! Bought second gen for 4s people I call have hard time hearing me! Siri can't understand! Because of design of case I can't use docking station and the company has a dock extender but it's been out of stock for months!! Again worst part is lifeproof doesn't answer any calls,inquires or twitter posts! Sure it works to keep water out but it's worthless once your $400 phone is in it!! Horrible customer service! Don't make the same mistake I did and buy this!!!

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet February 6, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Did you hear back from them as yet? If not I can pass along the info to my contacts (their PR firm) and see if that might help? Sorry to hear about your issues. I did see they responded with a pointer to another companies dock extender?

Reply

Boyd Hutton June 18, 2013 at 2:30 am

Do NOT purchase the LifeProof bike and bar mount for the iPhone 5 unless you enjoy watching your smartphone skid across the road into oncoming traffic. At the slightest bump or vibrations the clamp will eject your phone from the mount.

I'm guessing they felt confident enough with their mount for the iPhone 4 and just lengthened it without actually testing it out. Unfortunately, it's too flexy and flimsy to maintain proper clamping force to hold the phone in place.

Mine ejected the LifeProof cased phone 3 times the first ride out before the fatal instance in which a car in oncoming traffic ran over my phone. The mount for the iPhone 5 is not worth trusting your phone with.

Reply

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