As most people know, the LifeProof FRE for the iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus is a waterproof case that is drop protective to 2 meters. What I didn’t realize, having never used the FRE before, was what a very nice user experience this case has. Waterproof cases are well known for being practical and protective, but less than pleasant to use: issues with sound quality and screen protectors are perhaps the most common complaints. The FRE, however, is a simply lovely case to use. Sound quality, while not perfect, is quite good (and slightly better than the sound quality of the LifeProof NUUD), and the screen protector is the best plastic screen protector I have yet encountered. There is a little bit of glare, and a small issue with rainbowing, particularly when the humidity is higher, but it is only noticeable when the phone is off or the case is at an angle, and I really do not find it to be a major issue.
As far as screen usability is concerned, the FRE is great. The Touch ID membrane is very sensitive and seems to work just as well as the Touch ID on a naked iPhone. As I said before, I am very impressed with the quality of the built-in screen protector. Even though it is plastic, and non adhesive (which are two things that usually seem to be the kiss of death for screen protectors), there is a minimal air gap between the screen protector and the phone’s touchscreen, giving it very good sensitivity. It isn’t as good as the bare touchscreen of the LifeProof NUUD, but it is very impressive nonetheless. 3D Touch works without incident and optical clarity is very good. I really have no complaints about the screen protector. Swiping up and down is perfect, and there are no problems getting the applications tabs to appear if you press on the side of the screen.
* Waterproof to 6.6 ft (2 meters) for up to one hour.
* Drop rated for 6.6 feet.
* Dustproof and snowproof.
* Very good audio quality.
* Pleasant amount of grip and good hand feel.
* Plastic screen protector has a minimal air gap, excellent optical quality and works very well.
* The Touch ID membrane is very sensitive and works perfectly.
* The clear window for the Apple logo on the back, while pretty, is bound to be a weak spot in the event of impact.
* Screen protector suffers from a small amount of glare, and exhibits some rainbowing in higher humidity conditions.
Conclusion: Overall, I just love the FRE. It is slim, surprisingly lightweight, and doesn’t detract very much at all from the experience of using your iPhone. The only areas where the FRE experience really differs from that of using a regular slim protective case would be that it is slightly bigger, the screen protector, while very good, is not the same as a naked glass screen, and the sound quality is slightly degraded. Slightly is really the word, here, however. It is absolutely usable and really doesn’t bother me at all.
The FRE for iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus has an MSRP of $89.99, comes in 5 fun colors, and is available directly from LifeProof as well as from other retailers. Many thanks to LifeProof for sending me out these samples to review.
Finally, if you’d like more details, here is a link to my YouTube review: