LifeProof FRĒ Power
doubles battery life; lots of protection
doubles iPhone weight
Take a look at your iPhone. If there were two things you could change about it what would they be? It’s a fair bet many of you would answer that it needs better battery life and that you are concerned with its durability.
The LifeProof FRĒ Power case attempts to deal with both those issues simultaneously. The case integrates a 2600mAh battery with a ruggedised case that offers a scratchproof cover for the display and a body that is water, shock, snow and dirt proof.
Ruggedised cases are notorious for adding weight and bulk to devices. The LifeProof FRĒ Power took our iPhone 6 from 128g to 253g. Although the FRĒ Power completely cocoons the iPhone, all of the buttons, switches and ports can still be accessed although there are some compromises.
As the LifeProof FRĒ Power delivers power to the iPhone, via an internal Lightning connector, the external charging is now done via a regular USB cable. When connected to a Mac, the same cable handled synching to Photos and iTunes as well as charging from our Mac’s USB port. That port is securely covered with a flap that stays in place even after the iPhone is dropped onto a solid surface.
The headphone port is a little trickier to manage. In order to protect the port from external contaminants, LifeProof uses a screw system that covers the port. The cover is unscrewed, exposing the port. However, to plug your headphones in, you need to use an extension cable that is included with the case.
That’s a little annoying, but you can leave the extender on your headphones permanently.
Although the LifeProof FRĒ Power almost doubles the weight of the iPhone 6, it doesn’t make the smartphone massively unwieldy. We could still carry it comfortably in our hand for making calls and tapping out messages. However, it was not as comfortable when stashed in a pocket.
The scratch-resistant screen cover is clear and doesn’t make the screen harder to read. However, it doesn’t sit right against the iPhone’s display. So, when we were typing, the cover moved a little. This didn’t result in any typing errors for us – or any more than we’d usually produce – but it felt a little weird.
The screen cover also goes over the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor. Although LifeProof says it doesn’t affect the sensor’s performance, this wasn’t our experience. We found the sensor accuracy was significantly altered. Whereas Touch ID used to work first go almost every time, we found with the LifeProof FRĒ Power on it sometimes took two or three attempts to recognise our fingerprint.
LifeProof boasts that the FRĒ Power case will double the iPhone’s battery life. The case’s battery is activated by pressing and holding a recessed button on the back of the case for three seconds. There are four, small white LEDs that tell you the battery’s charge level.
When plugged into power, the case passes the energy through to the iPhone so its battery is charged first, then the FRĒ Power battery gets its turn.
The FRĒ Power case, like many of LifeProof’s other cases, works in with the company’s universal, LIFEACTÍV accessory line. By sticking a small tile to the back of the case, it can lock into armbands and mounts, so you can securely carry the iPhone when exercising.
We’ve used the LIFEACTÍV Bike and Bar Mount on a number of bike rides and it does a great job of securely holding the iPhone while keeping it accessible, so we could use Maps and access data from Strava while out on a ride.