Hawk vs. Hosoi, Slater vs. Irons, Real Madrid vs. Barcelona. Whatever sport you love, whether it be skateboarding, surfing, football, or something else entirely; you can virtually guarantee that its history books have been shaped by some seriously epic rivalries. This thought came to me, if you can believe it, as I stared down at a phone case. Not just any phone case, you understand, one that had been designed to withstand anything an action sports and adventure lifestyle could throw at it. If only I’d known at the time that this phone case would go on to be my greatest adversary - a rival to make all other rivals obsolete.
My mission, which I had chosen to accept, was to see how tough the LifeProof FRĒ for Galaxy S7 case really was. No giving it an easy ride here. I was to hit this phone case with everything I could, and discover for myself precisely what type of punishment it could take. I wasn’t just going to tickle it with a feather duster, and then bang on for 1,500 words about how great it was. I was going to attack it from every angle, and put the words on its packaging - “TOTAL DEFENSE FROM WATER, DIRT, SNOW AND DROPS" - well and truly to the test. This is the story of what happened next, a tale of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.
I start early one Thursday morning. Not entirely sure what my first angle of attack should be, I put the LifeProof FRĒ (containing a Samsung Galaxy S7) inside the freezer while I go about my morning errands. It isn’t the most exciting way to start proceedings but I figure a 15 minute spell at -18°C will let the phone case know what type of day I have in store for it. After chomping down a bowl of breakfast cereal, brushing my teeth and putting some clothes on, I open the freezer and inspect the phone case. There’s some ice on it, and a bit of moisture, but other than that it’s clear that the LifeProof phone case has found this initial challenge far too easy. I decide to take things up a notch.
I open up some drawers in the kitchen and pull out a collection of things that I think, in my state of early morning wisdom, might be capable of doing some real damage. First up, the hammer. I hammer the case once. Nothing. I hammer it again. Still nothing. I hammer it multiple times, and the phone case just looks up and laughs at me as if it to say: “mate, is that all you’ve got?!"
Reaching for the Tabasco bottle, admittedly not my best idea of the day, I cover the back of the phone case with the notoriously hot pepper sauce on the off-chance that this fiery substance will be some sort of Kryptonite for the LifeProof product. It isn’t. After wiping the back of the phone case clean with some handily-placed surface wipes, I go at it with a spatula and a bread knife. The spatula, it’s fair to say, does nothing. The bread knife fairs a little better, in that it “succeeds" in giving the phone case slightly gnawed edges; almost as if it’s been chewed by a ravenous dog. Still, it’s clear to me that the phone case has won the initial skirmishes. Time for a bath.
Ideally, of course, I would be testing the LifeProof’s water durability in the Pacific Ocean on an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii. But, alas, it’s not to be. After filling up the bath, almost to the very top, I decide to just get on with it and toss the phone case at my bathroom’s tiled wall. The phone case bounces off the wall, splashes into the bath, and sinks beneath the surface of the water. I let it lie there for a bit, at the bottom of the tub, before fishing it out and doing the same thing two more times. The phone case holds up incredibly well, with even a shower-head blast and zingy lime shower gel combination incapable of breaking its resistance.
I realise that I’ve massively underestimated my new foe. The LifeProof phone case not only talks the talk on its packaging, it really does walk the walk in test conditions. Wanting to see how the phone case holds up in the great outdoors, I decide to take it to my local park. On the way out of my flat, I fling the phone case down the stairs a few times just for kicks. It passes this impromptu test with flying colours.
Upon arriving at the park, I see a sizeable tree log. It seems like a great starting point for outside testing, so I spend the next five minutes throwing the phone case at it from a variety of angles. Every single time, the phone case bounces off the log and lands snugly in the grass. And, every single time the phone case comes away unscathed. I’m getting some funny looks from weekday joggers and dog-walkers now, but I’m far too wrapped up in the rivalry between man and phone case to stop doing what I’m doing. I grab a frisbee from my bag and toss it hard in the direction of the phone. The phone falls to the ground and, wouldn’t you know it, is absolutely fine.
What follows next is a brutal park-based onslaught. I stamp on the phone, I drop it from head-height, I throw it large-distances across the field and kick it along the footpath in the style of Riyad Mahrez. When I see a big puddle on the way back to my flat, I lob the phone in; more in hope than expectation, it has to be said. The LifeProof phone case is starting to give off an air of invincibility. I momentarily picture a nuclear apocalypse whereby the only survivors are cockroaches, and the phone case I’m now fishing out of a dirty puddle in South East London.
I get home, throw my bag down, and feel utterly dejected. Then I see my car keys. Suddenly, I’m overwhelmed by the most villainous idea I’ve ever had. I cackle like Montgomery Burns. “This is it," I think, “a way to finally defeat the LifeProof phone case." Before I can talk myself out of it, I’m in the car park with my front wheel positioned ominously over the case. I put the car into first gear and drive slowly, sadistically, over the phone with both wheels. Surely, that’s done it. I inspect the phone, and genuinely can’t believe what I’m seeing. The phone has survived.
I commiserate myself by throwing the phone against a wall, stamping on it a bit more, and dunking it into a hot cup of coffee. And then, knowing in my heart of hearts that I've been well and truly beaten by a phone case, I hold my hands up and decide to call it a day.
The LifeProof phone case has stood up to all of the things it was designed to stand up to, and a load of things it wasn't. There's minor damage to the case, but it's more of a flesh-wound than anything. The phone is still, against all odds, very much in working condition. If action sports and adventure are your bag, and you're always worrying about busting up your phone, you need to make this phone case a part of your life.
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