There are a lot of cases on the market for iPads, but few boast the protection that Lifeproof Nuud Case offers – waterproof, dustproof, snow proof and shock proof to military specifications. Designed for the iPad 2, 3 and 4, the case is a two-part affair out of the box that requires some careful assembly. However, done according to LifeProof’s meticulous instructions, that process is not overly complex – though I will admit it does take a bit of effort and focus to securely snap the two sides of the case together while ensuring the rubber gasket remains secure.
The case itself comes in two parts. The front of the case is essentially a hollow rectangle that sits snugly over the face of your iPad, leaving the iPad screen naked and exposed – i.e. without any artificial cover and, thus, “nude.” LifeProof advises against using any third-party screen protector as that might interfere with the seal and protection of the iPad – so, in testing, I left the screen bare. The back of the case is fully sealed, with a clear back, and when snapped into the front piece, it forms a protective shield that envelops your iPad with a plastic bumper that feels remarkably secure in hand.
Once installed, the case measures 10.4 inches long by 8.2 inches wide and .8 inches thick so it certainly adds a bit of bulk to an otherwise sleek iPad. The weight of just under 8 ounces adds some heft to your portable iPad too, which certainly gave me pause as I considered how lightweight my iPad once was — and now suddenly wasn’t.
Still, I was off to sail around Fiji for several weeks, before serving as crew on a yacht making the crossing from Fiji to New Zealand. Protection against salt water, dirt and possible raindrops during stormy weather outweighed any concerns about the former sleekness of my iPad.
With the Nuud in place, I still had access to all of its ports and buttons, with a few caveats. The sleep/wake button that resides on top of my iPad is located a bit toward the back of the Nuud case because of design, which took a bit of getting used to. Still worked very well, but sometimes was hard to find in low light and times when I was trying to hold onto the boat with one hand while powering down the iPad with the other. All other buttons worked just fine.
While the headphone jack is accessible, I was forced to use the headphone extender/adapter cable that comes with the LifeProof simply because my headphone plug would no longer reach into the deeply recessed port. While I appreciate the need for ensuring the case remains watertight at all times, having to remove the port plug, then screw in the adapter cable (which I kept managing to lose inside my duffel on the yacht) whenever I wanted to use a headset was a pain.
LifeProof was quite big on touting the part of the case that covered the iPad speaker as a “Sound Enhancement System” but my experience left me wondering how bad the sound would have otherwise been without the feature since it still sounded tinny and at times echoed. Sans case, the sound emanating from my iPad had been significantly better.
The iPad’s front-facing camera remains unimpeded by the case and the rear-facing camera is covered with what LifeProof bills as “CrystalClear double anti-reflective coated glass lens,” to ensure image quality. In all cases, videos and images shot with my iPad were quite good.Stormy weather between Fiji and New Zealand — shot with my iPad protected by the LifeProof Nuud.