I’ll be the first to admit I’m not normally a fan of these protection minded phone cases in most scenarios. I’ve run across a few I liked, but generally speaking I prefer cases that just cover the phone for a basic level of protection but make it look good. Once you get into cases that are waterproof, withstand a 40 ft. drop, or can be used as a brick they start to lose their sex appeal to me. I can be honest that I’m not normally a fan of the niche market stuff, although I completely understand the value in them.
Again, I try to give the benefit of the doubt. I can usually find some redeeming qualities to offset my annoyances in them. I was recently sent the Nuud series case from Lifeproof for the Galaxy SIII, and here is a case I dislike so much that I really didn’t want to do the review at all. Normally, when I get a case in I can road test it for a couple of days and have everything I need to get a review done. They are cases after all, there’s not that much to them. This time around, I ran with this one over a week trying to find something I liked about it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t.
Cosmetically, protection cases usually aren’t impressive as they’re geared toward a certain function instead of visual appeal. You expect this. One thing that was disappointing was the lack of effort put into being able to use the phone in day-to-day scenarios. The case is very bulky and drastically increases the overall size of the SIII by a large margin. Even some of the dual-layer cases from Otterbox and Incipio meant to absorb a lot of shock didn’t add this much bulk. Normally, along with the larger case, they make up for it in improved grip for the user which is always solid. Unfortunately, you don’t get that with this one as it’s really just a big plastic shell.
No frills, and nothing fancy.
Suck a thin silicone layer inside for “shock protection” makes me question how well that works.
When I started looking this thing over I had a feeling installation might be a bit tricky. If you look around the case, there’s plastic seals all over that maintain the water-resistant aspect, which is their selling point, so I knew it wouldn’t be a quick snap on and go. The upside is they give you a plastic shell fit to the dimensions of the SIII itself so you can test it in advance to make sure you’re putting it together correctly and the waterproof part is working. Kudos given for that to avoid users from destroying their phones if they don’t get it right the first time. OK, there’s one good point to this whole thing. One.
Installation proved to be more than tricky. I think it’s better described as completely impossible. I spent way more time than should have ever been necessary trying to snap together the top and back panels. I knew it would be tough with the seals around it, but you shouldn’t have a case so hard to assemble you actually consider laying on the floor and standing on it so your full body weight goes into snapping it together. I tried different starting points with the corners and top or bottom of the phone and none seemed to make any real difference in snapping it together. Even once I got it together, it didn’t seem flush all the way around.
I went ahead and did the water testing after finally getting it together and was rather thankful that they included the insert for testing. To their credit, the water resistance held up and nothing leaked through. The case seals pretty tight along the outside of the phone itself, and with the rubber plugs to cover the exposed ports.
It did, however, take an even longer amount of time getting the case apart so I could check for any water. It’s supposed to be as simple as prying it apart with a coin to disassemble. Prying is a very loose term I would use. It was more like cranking with an insane amount of torque in some cases, much profanity, and some praying. The entire time I was glad I opted to use their test piece for this instead of a real phone over the risk of scratching or damaging the device in the process. I got it pried open just enough to shake it for any water leaks and just snapped it back shut.
The after effect of using a coin to get this case apart as recommended.
User-friendly this thing is not, which to me is not a good trade-off for protection. There’s really no reason to have a case so difficult to get on and off that a standard consumer can’t freely switch it when they see fit. I never got to the point of testing with the real phone in it, as this thing was too much work with just the test piece and it wasn’t honestly worth the additional effort.
If you’re looking for a waterproof case, it certainly does the job and I won’t dispute that. However, it lacks in essentially every other user functionality aspect there is. And don’t plan on taking it off and putting another one on. It won’t happen, not without some real work and patience. Now to go pop some more Ibuprofen for the headache I’ve gotten writing this review and having to relive the testing process.