Ah, our smartphones. Boon companions, constantly at our side, sharing the risks of backcountry adventure, until… splash. Into the creek, lake, ocean, sangria pitcher, urine-filled cathole, pool of our own vomit, etc. How does the modern gear-ape protect its investment?
LifeProof has a sharp answer. It's eponymous (look it up, it's a word) case, available for both iPhone 4 (tested) and iPad, is waterproof. Yes, you read that right. How do we know? Well, we didn't take their word for it. We submerged it for hours in a couple feet of water and it came out bone-dry on the inside. There's basically a rubber gasket running all around the case, and it snaps into place tightly. All ports have their own gaskets.
The LifeProof case also provides some shock protection and is proof against dirt, mud and inclement alcohol abuse (within reason, c'mon people!). The case allows crystal-clear photographs through the glass lens port, and the whole thing fits like a glove around your iPhone. All buttons and swiping work as before, with only a barely perceptible degradation of sensitivity. Sound is muted significantly, so you'll crank the volume up, and if you want to use headphones you'll need to use the included adapter. Note that the charging port only accepts stock iPhone charging cables or identical profiles.
Overall the LifeProof case works as advertised, so if you're headed into the soup and want to bring your plastic brain with you, it's definitely worth the price of entry, and you can even accessorize with a belt clip and a bike bar mount. The bike mount lets you rotate the phone to either portrait or landscape mode, and makes it easy to use your phone safely on the road and trail.