Are you looking for an iPad case that takes whatever life (or your child) throws at it? Then you should check out the Lifedge iPad case. Lifedge’s parent company is Scan Strut a British company that has been designing products for marine electronics for over 25 years, so they have plenty of experience in protecting delicate electronics from the environment. This case was originally designed for use on boats so has a number of features that make it useful in that environment, but also make it great for use with kids. It is totally waterproof, dustproof and it floats. As a parent, drop protection is really important to me, and it performs well there too. The company has tested it by dropping it from 1 meter onto concrete, dropping on all its edges, and both the case and the iPad were unharmed. The Lifedge waterproof case is available for iPad1, 2 and 3; this review is of the iPad 2 version.
I got to test this case out recently and put it though its paces. The Lifedge case comes in four color choices: Blue, Green, Pink and Grey, I chose the blue and I really like it – it is a nice bright, cheerful color. The case comes in two parts: a hard polycarbonate back and a rubbery polymer front with built in screen protector. To put the case together you put the iPad into the back and pull the edges of the front over and snap into a groove. It comes with 2 struts, which look like mini-shoe horns, which you use to help get the corners on. The first time of putting it together is hard, but it gets much easier. A little Vaseline on the edge of the hard shell helps, plus there is a knack to it, and the front of the case softens up and becomes more flexible with use. I can now put it together in 1-2 minutes.
Once the case is together it has a nice rugged feel to it and grips well in your hands, but doesn’t add too much bulk-it is similar in size to the DropTech case by Gumdrop. The On/Off and volume buttons seem to stick out less than on the Gumdrop, and are less likely to accidentally turn on in your bag. The struts also double as a stand – they can be used in either landscape or portrait mode, and you can vary the angle of the screen by moving them up or down the edges of the case. The stand works really well on a flat surface like a table, and is very stable, but I would like to have an easy place to store the struts (I asked Lifedge about this and they are planning to include an accessory bag with the cases soon.)
My kids and I put this case to the test. As you can see here we tried putting it in water – no problems at all with leaks and it floated too. Before I got the case I was nervous about the concept of putting my iPad in water, but as you put the two halves of the case together it really snaps into place – making me very confident that it seals well. The company recommends testing it this way before taking it swimming etc -a continuous stream of bubbles tells you it is not properly sealed, we saw no bubbles and everything stayed very dry. It also did fine with being dropped.
It has a screen protector that has a special coating on it called OptiGuard™ this is designed to reduce glare so that it is easier to see in sunlight and causes less eyestrain. The screen protector also resists scratches from going in and out of bags and resists damage from sunscreen, oils and other household chemicals. The screen protector does cut down on reflections and glare a lot. When using it outside in the sun it was much easier to see the screen clearly than on another iPad, which had a Zagg invisible shield on, when compared side by side. The Lifedge screen didn’t show reflections like the Zagg screen did. The picture quality is good with the Lifedge screen protector but the colors are less vivid than without it. You do need to be careful to expel the air between the iPad screen and screen protector, by pushing on the screen protector with the heel of your hand whilst sealing the case. If you leave a big air bubble the iPad touch screen won’t be very clear, and you will need to press hard to get the screen to work. If you expel the air the touchscreen will work well and look fine. After using the case for a couple of weeks the screen protector is standing up well with no scratches, and as an added bonus doesn’t seem to show fingerprints so I’m not needing to clean it anywhere near as often as I usually do.
On the back of the case there is a rubbery strap/ handle and this also has some elastic in it- when you slip your hand inside it, it really feels like it is gripping to your hand and it feels a very safe and sturdy way to hold it. The company also makes a mounting bracket (that this slips on to) so you can mount it on a flat surface such as a bulkhead, dashboard or wall. Sound transmits well through the case, but you can’t use earphones with the case on.
With the case being totally sealed there are 2 downsides – you can’t use the earphone jack, and you need to take one end of the case off for charging. When I got the case I thought that having to take it partly off to charge would be a deal breaker for me, but it is actually much quicker and easier than I expected. You just slip two corners off to charge, which takes about 30 seconds. After charging you need those mini-shoe horns again to put the corners back on, but doing this and resealing the case now takes me less than a minute.
Overall, I really like this case for use with kids, it feels like whatever they are likely to do with it, it can cope. It has great drop protection, is dust and dirt proof, waterproof, spill proof, chemical, UV and microbe resistant, and the OptiGuard™ coating on the screen protector means it is tough too. The struts make a nice stable stand, as well as being very useful for putting the case off and on, though I would like a good place to store them. Taking the end of the case off to charge it is less hassle than I expected, although it is an extra step, the upside is that you have a really well sealed case with no gaskets or port covers that may potentially fail. I think the biggest drawback for parents is the price tag – it retails at £99 / $155 US, which is similar to other waterproof cases on the market, but more than many protective, non- waterproof cases. If you or your child need a really protective case that is waterproof, and spill proof as well as offering great drop protection this is a case well worth checking out.
The Lifedge iPad case comes in four colors – Grey, Blue, Green and Pink. There are models available for the iPad 1, 2 and 3. They can be ordered from the companies website here and they will ship worldwide. Its RRP is £99 / $155. If you use the code IMUM at checkout they will give you free shipping.
The case has been tested to an IP67 rating – which means it will be fully watertight in 1m of water for 30 minutes. As a result the case is also dustproof.
Lifedge tested how well the case stood up to being dropped from 1m onto concrete. It didn’t crack or distort, and the iPad wasn’t damaged.
Front outer case
Highest grade Bayer® polymers and plastics.
Microbe resistance, UV stabilized, salt water resistant, High resistance to chemicals.
Tolerates temperature range from -20°C to 45°C. (-4F-113F)
The flexible screen features an incredible OptiGuard™ antiglare coating: exceptional screen clarity in sunlight, reduced eyestrain.
RF welded to the front outer to give a continuous waterproof seal. The hydrophobic surface allows water to run off quickly.
The screen resists abrasion from: regular use, rough fabrics, oils, sunscreen, household and other chemicals
Back of case
Tough molded polycarbonate provides an impact-resistant, protective shell.
Rear camera: optically clear, anti-reflective polycarbonate lens ensures the iPad camera performs when inside case.
Front Camera Optical Patch to override the antiglare coating.
Made from a soft touch, comfortable, non-absorbent material, the strap holds firm to your hand for the perfect fit.
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