LifeProof has been making a big splash in the iPhone protection market for several generations of the iPhone with their waterproof cases, but did you know that they also offer the same waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof protection for the iPad as well? It is called the Nüüd.
When unpacking the Nüüd case, the first BIG difference you’ll notice between this iPad model and LifeProof’s iPhone cases is that there is NO built-in screen protector for the iPad. Your iPad’s screen remains open and accessible, or dare I say…nude (thus the name of the case). A waterproof seal is formed when the rubber gasket on the cover portion is firmly pressed against the outside edge of your iPad screen as the two-piece case is snapped together.
After the successful, obligatory 60 minute water test using the included plastic iPad substitute, it’s time to take the case apart, insert your own iPad and enjoy. I had no issues getting the case setup with the “fake’ iPad for the test, but correctly getting this two part case onto my iPad proved to be about as tough as the material itself and it took several attempts to finally get things lined up and sealed together properly. I’m not sure if it is a different material, but the plastics used on the Nüüd seem stronger and a little thicker than those used on LifeProof’s iPhone lineup.
Using the iPad in the Nüüd is quite a pleasurable experience and the case never gets in the way of itself, leaving all aspects of the device fully functional. All of your buttons and ports are covered and there is a transparent section located in the back of the case. Not exactly “nude”, the case does add a noticeable bit of bulk, but the curved bezels feel nice and smooth in your hands. A Nüüd-encased iPad is quite comfortable to hold. The front casing bevel is made of a smooth plastic and the outside edges of the back and sides of the case are crafted from a soft rubber which feels comfortable and adds just a little extra grip and security.
With only a limited increase in weight (unlike my Griffin Survivor series, which is like a lead brick), the Nüüd doesn’t feel at all unwieldy and the added weight feels more comparable to that of the many of the less-extreme protection cases that I’ve tried, perhaps only slightly heavier. The one caveat is that due to the recessed nature of the 30-pin / lightning connector opening, I wasn’t able to use my 30-pint to HDMI dongle and I’m not certain if Apple’s non-corded 30-pin to lightning adapter would fit in this opening either, normal standard charging cables were not an issue.
While LifeProof does claim that the Nüüd is just as waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof as the iPhone versions, I would suggest taking that statement with a grain of salt. The reason I say this is because of the case’s complete lack of protection for the iPad screen itself, exposing it to any/all of these elements. Because it could potentially compromise the waterproof seal, you CANNOT use a third-party screen protector with this case. That means that if you take it in a pool, the ocean or even snow, that the chlorinated or salty water is in direct contact with your iPad’s screen. If you toss your iPad in a bag, there is nothing there to protect the screen from getting scratched by whatever else happens to be in your bag.
That being said, included with the $130 bundle, you do get a Tupperware-like cover / stand which can be placed on the case during travel. This cover does a rather nice job of protecting the screen in a bag (mine has the scratches to prove it), but it is a bit awkward to take on and off. It fits tightly onto the case which is great, but it makes it a tough to quickly get off and on, and there is no way to attach it to the back of the iPad when not it use. On the plus side, the stand piece of the cover offers two conveniently angled positions for holding up your iPad for either viewing content or typing and feels sturdy in both situations.
Like its iPhone predecessors, the Nüüd comes with a dongle that can be used to allow you to plug any set of headphones into the case, however I did notice that this interfered with my ability to use my headphone’s on-cord quick controls. LifeProof highlights the case’s Sound Enhancement System, claiming that it “channels the sound through the case cavity, providing a richer, fuller sound”, but I found it to be a bit distorted. To be fair, for the most part it doesn’t sound too bad until you reach the highest volumes, at which the iPad sounded a bit tinny and there was a pretty noticeable amount of vibration throughout the case. There are also a couple of pricey additional accessories available like the hand / shoulder strap ($34.99), which is quite nice if you want to just carry your iPad like a messenger bag, and the LifeJacket ($59.99) to keep it afloat (ideal for boaters).
It is worth noting that the standard warranty that comes with the case DOES NOT actually guarantee the safety of your device in any way. It only reimburses you for the cost of the case should it fail or have a manufacturing defect. This often overlooked limitation is not exclusive to LifeProof, in fact this is how the warranties on most iPhone and iPad cases work (pretty scary huh?!)
However, most likely in direct response to Incipio’s ATLAS case, LifeProof has started offering an optional Total Water Protection Program for US buyers for an additional $10 on iPhone Cases and $20 on the Nüüd, which (with some limitations) actually guarantees the replacement of your iOS device in the case of water damage for the first year of ownership. Maybe it’s just me, but charging extra for this type of warranty just doesn’t seem kosher to me. If I am already paying $130 for your “waterproof” case, an absolute guarantee that it will work should be included at NO EXTRA COST, otherwise, what confidence should I really have in your product?
The Nüüd case supports all current models of the iPad (second gen and newer) and LifeProof also just recently released a comparable model for the iPad Mini called the Frē for $99.99.
At a hefty $130 (or $150 with the Total Water Protection Program) the handsome, albeit expensive Nüüd definitely isn’t for everyone. Those who don’t require 24/7 waterproof protection of their iPad need not apply. However, if you do regularly use your iPad in extreme conditions or have a habit of dropping it in large bodies of water, then the LifeProof Nüüd could be the ideal choice for you. I found myself enjoying this case more than I anticipated I would. Its lack of built-in screen protection means that you won’t have any of that annoying oil slicking that plagues the iPhone 5 version of the case, but it also keeps the screen vulnerable. If you can afford it, the LifeProof Nüüd is definitely a case worth considering.