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Friday November 29, 2013 2:29 pm

LifeProof Fre for iPhone 5s review: An impressive Touch ID-ready case

Lifeproof Fre white and gray

It's said that Apple product's cycle iteration are improved upon from generation to generation; dubbed the tick tock method. In that regards, LifeProof has proven itself to be in sync. The Frē for iPhone 5s is an incremental update (see our iPhone 5s review) that goes hand in hand with the update of the Apple’s latest iPhone. To the untrained eye, the iPhone 5s' outer design is relatively unchanged from the iPhone 5 except for a few important aspects, which LifeProof simply nails.

Let me say that right off the bat, the Touch ID is nothing short of a marvel. Biometric security is nothing new, but in and of itself, many companies have attempted it and many have failed miserably. On the other hand, Apple has executed it to perfection while making it look easy. My biggest trepidation was how LifePoof's new case would continue to provide protection from environmental factors like snow, water, dirt and shock while still allowing access to the Touch ID's function, without hindering biometric authentication in any way. So, how did it perform? Join us for our LifeProof Fre for iPhone 5s review to find out!


Check out this demo we did of a previous LifeProof case, this one for the iPhone 4S. It gives you a look at the type of protection these cases offer!

Lifeproof Fre TouchID 1

The best way to describe Frē’s new home button, is that it feels like a thin smooth membrane that allows Touch ID to work while providing all the protection LifeProof is famously known for. Once the thin, clear plastic binds itself with a couple of taps, it feels like nothing is there. It allows for complete access to the Touch ID’s metal ring and sapphire crystal and the optical lens home button simply works. Additionally, the camera flash cover appears larger and easily handles the iPhone 5s’ new dual LED True Tone flash. The camera lens offers a crystal clear optical lens cover and, in testing, it works brilliantly.

Lifeproof Fre Truetone flash

Sound ports have Gortex-like material covering the speakers that keep water and debris out, yet allows sound to function as it should. Phone call audio and FaceTime calls all worked as expected. Also, typing on the device feels improved without any pillowing effect. This time around, LifeProof ingeniously put a strap to the headphone jack cover that inconspicuously raps around the curvature of the case. I almost didn’t notice that it was there in plain sight.

Lifeproof Fre audio cover strap

The Frē still boasts military spec IP-68 ingress protection; having the ability to protect the iPhone 5s under water up to to depths of 6.6 feet for one hour. Perfect for snorkeling. It can withstand drops from heights of 6.6 feet. I’m just happy that it is lint-proof as my pockets get pretty dangerous. The iPhone 5s’ volume button, mute switch, and sleep/wake button remain protected along with the charger port.

Lifeproof Fre Touch ID

Overall, the LifeProof Free case is a must buy if you want your shiny new precious investment to be maintained in mint condition. It comes in a plethora of color choices. The Frē still remains thinner, lighter and more durable than the competition. The cost remains at $79.99--pricey but well worth the level of protection you get in return. So, we give it the Gear Live seal of approval--and in fact, you can find these for just $49.99 on Amazon right now!

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