Lifedge vs Lifeproof Phone Case Review

21st Nov 2014

A few months ago I wrote about an iPhone case I'd been using made by the company Lifeproof (you can read it here).  Having a waterproof and shockproof case that still allows full functionality is a great option for outdoor people who want to use the phone in all conditions and the Lifeproof case, which ticks all these boxes, has served me well.  
Then a friend told me about an alternative model made by a British company called Lifedge and I was really keen to give this homegrown case a shot.  Lifedge kindly agreed to supply a case and an additional useful clip (they call it the Multiclip and it's described below) which allows the case to be attached to other things.  I've now been using the Lifedge for a few months through a range of weather and activities.......
Lifedge cases come in a choice of 4 colours (I received the white colour which is shown on the right in the photo and my black Lifeproof is shown on the left) and they have sizes to suit iPhone 5 and 5S models plus an iPad case.  They also have an iphone 6 case in development which will be released in the new year.  The cases are totally waterproof (rated to be submersible to 2 metres) and shockproof (engineered to allow drops on to concrete from 1 metre) plus they offer full protection for the device's screen.  They also allow full functionality of all phone or iPad features and protected slots in the case allow chargers or headphones to be plugged in.
So, the Lifedge is undoubtedly a comprehensive protection package but my direct previous experience, and perhaps its closest market rival in terms of design, is the Lifeproof Fre case which we featured previously.  So, the question was how would they both fare in a head to head comparison?
The Lifedge is a very neat looking case and the choice of vibrant colours is a nice touch if you want a change from the usual.  Fitting is easy because you just open it up, pop your device inside, then close the case sides firmly.  That's it.  It feels very protective and all the functions operate perfectly.  But the same can also be said of the Lifeproof - so what sets the cases apart?  Well I'm a big fan of Lifeproof cases and you certainly won't go wrong with one, but there a few differences to consider when making your choice.  
Firstly, the Lifedge is a slightly bulkier unit - but this may be a good thing!  The thickness comes from a slightly bulkier edging casing which surrounds the phone.  I have now used the case in a wide range of situations and I think this case edging is great.  It is made from a rubberised non slip material which makes it very easy to grip even with wet hands.  This easy gripping is also helped because the case side is slightly curved towards the centre which helps it fit neatly in your hand.  In comparison, the Lifeproof is a smoother plastic material with straight sides.  Although I'm not saying the Lifeproof is hard to hold, I do like this Lifedge feature.  The edging also makes the Lifeedge feel like it will survive a drop onto a hard surface well.  Indeed, I have accidentally dropped mine a few times from well above the rated 1 metre height without any ill effects to the phone and with only very slight marking of the case.  Having said that, I also dropped my Lifeproof and the phone was unscathed.  The only disadvantage to making the casing thicker is that the phone won't always fit in desk stands.
The Lifeedge and Lifeproof both allow full use of the device camera and I have never noticed any loss of photo quality because of the high quality lens material they use.  In terms of using the camera in challenging environments Lifedge have added a very useful feature.  As these devices allow the volume buttons to be used for taking photos a large volume button has been added which is very easy to find by feel and is also easy to use with gloves on - a great feature.  Of course the Lifeproof allows use of these buttons but they are all normal size.  
The protective flap which covers the charging socket on the Lifeedge is a clip over flap and Lifeproof use a similar system. Both do the job but if I had to choose between them I'd say the Lifeproof feels like a more secure click closure.  A few times I've felt like the Lifedge needed to be reclosed but it has proved to be waterproof during lots of full immersion water activities.  Both cases use a screw thread closure for the headphone socket which works equally well.
Apple devices rely completely on touchscreen technology which means the performance of the touchscreen compatible screen protectors on both devices is key to their functionality.  I'd say the material used on the Lifedge feels thicker (and so maybe more protective?) but they both function extremely well.  They have also both proved very durable despite being thrown in a rucksack lid pocket most days and carried in all kinds of pockets and vehicles.
If you use a 5s phone (and, I understand this is a feature now being introduced on the new iPad model) you also have a fingerprint reader option to unlock the phone.  Somehow Lifeproof have managed to find a waterproof material which still allows this function to be used but the Lifeedge doesn't offer this so unlocking your phone will always be via the numeric keypad.  As this is such a useful feature of the phone it would be nice if Lifedge found a way around this.
One of the things that interested me about the Lifeedge was also the accessories they offer.  I often use my iPhone as a camera on climbs so a method for ensuring I don't drop it is essential.  When I explained what I would be using it for Lifedge kindly sent me on of their Multiclip accessories.  This is a plastic harness which clips securely to the sides of the Lifedge case allowing the phone to be attached to a belt or clipped to a carabiner or lanyard.  It works brilliantly.  I have used it with a lanyard when climbing which allows the camera to be carried under my outer layers but then it's ready for that swift action shot at anytime.  I've also used it for attaching it to a buoyancy aid for kayaking and gorge scrambling.  It's a great addition and well worth considering if you are going to use the case in any place where dropping the device isn't an option.
So, what's it to be?  I love the design and functionality of both these cases and you won't go far wrong with either.  I have both available and it's the Lifedge that now protects my phone all of the time.  Why?  The Multiclip is genius, the grippy outer edging is great and the enlarged camera button is so useful when lining up that quick snap.  These 3 features tip the balance but I also like the fact that, by using it, I'm doing my bit to support a UK company.  Neither case is cheap but they are certainly cheaper than replacing your phone and allow for great action shots in all conditions.
Lifedge products can be bought online via their website here.  They also have various offers on case and accessory bundles at the moment - maybe the perfect solution to that Christmas present dilemma?
Posted by Paul