The promise of taking our iOS devices everywhere is something that many people always dream of doing. Unfortunately, up until this point, no device to have come out of Cupertino has come with rugged capabilities. While they will withstand day-to-day use, none are really designed to take a beating. This has been a promise that many case manufacturers have taken upon themselves. The idea of taking your Apple devices everywhere and have them be protected of any circumstance you might encounter is, ultimately, what many companies promise. The ever-popular LifeProof case series for iOS devices is no exception. They claim to have your precious devices covered against drops, water, snow, and dirt. We managed to get our hands-on the LifeProof Nuud Case for our iPad Air 2, and here is what we found.
First and foremost, the petite and svelte design of the Air 2 is completely eaten up by this case. The iPad’s thinness and light weight are the first things to go in exchange for the added ruggedness. In its place are a slip-resistant rubber edges and a thick plastic casing surrounding the device. In the typical LifeProof fashion, you will need the headphone adapter if you plan on using headphones with the case. Moreover, all of the buttons on the case are offset towards the back of the device which, more often than not, gets annoying if you are already accustomed to where your iPad’s buttons are. They are also a bit harder to press than normal, but then again this is a rugged case.
Moving on to the most important part of this case is the screen. LifeProof claims that you can have your awesome iPad Air 2 screen and use it too with this particular case. While the screen is elevated with the help of the plastic casing that goes all around it, this only protects your iPad in case it were to fall screen-first on the bare floor. This feature is like a double-edged sword. While you will not have to suffer with plastic-inflated screen protectors, anything else within your environment can still damage your screen. While I have never had the film covering the TouchID sensor rip on any of my LifeProof-protected devices, the idea of a simple plastic film (bubble?) being the only thing protecting the iPad from water intake never seems to convince me.
The two biggest problems with the LifeProof Case series are still here to stay, however. First is the terrible audio quality that can come out of the iPad with the case on. It can sound muffled and can never get loud enough despite the cutouts at the bottom. Most of the times, it sounds like the speaker is actually projecting the sound to the back of the iPad instead of the bottom/side. The other problem that has always plagued LifeProof is the scuffing and scratching that comes with simply putting the case on and off. While they are mindful enough to include a tool now, the problem persist. The case will still get chew marks near the corners that are used to take the case off.
While we would have loved to test this case against all the elements it claims protection from, we could only test the drop and water protection at the time of writing this review. We will, however, update accordingly in case we are able to test out the remaining elements.
When it comes to water protection, this case performs like any other LifeProof case before it. The port coverings, latches, and seals all work perfectly keeping your precious device safe.
When it comes to drops, the case will also keep your device safe and sound as long as the screen is not involved. The rubber top and bottom absorb drop shock and the plastic edges take the beating quite well.
After spending some time with this case, we decided it ultimately comes down to two types of people. If you do not care about size and weight increase in your iPad in exchange for ruggedness, this case will definitely do the job. On the other hand, if you appreciate the thinness, lightness, and portability of your iPad (as well as using the speakers), and do not feel like you can let these things go then this case might not be for you.