I’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a LifeProof Nüüd case for my iPhone 5. First announced in June, the case is the first to use LifeProof’s patent pending “screenless technology” to provide the device with the “four proofs,” – water, dirt, snow, and shock proof protection.

Is the case worth $89.99? It’s time to find out.

The Facts

  • Company Name: LifeProof
  • Product Name: iPhone 5 Nüüd case
  • Price: $89.99
  • Compatibility: iPhone 5; also available for Samsung’s Galaxy S III
  • Website: lifeproof.com
  • Date Reviewed: Aug. 14, 2013

The Basics

Nüüd

Nüüd

What Is It?

The Nüüd offers full iPhone protection without a lot of bulk. Unlike the slightly older Lifeproof Frē, this one doesn’t come with an attached touchscreen scratch protector. However, an optional scratch protector is included in the box at no extra charge.

Integration With The Device

Buttons and other controls are covered by plastic. The only part that remains uncovered is the iPhone’s display screen.

The Buttons

Button covers

Button covers

I’ve never been thrilled with using cases that cover volume control buttons. Most times, the snug fit makes using the buttons with success next to impossible.

With the Nüüd, things are greatly improved. Yes, the buttons do tend to stick. However, a short break-in period eliminates this problem after a few tries. The mute button also works as intended, although it too may stick at first.

The Jacks

I am also thrilled with the slight change made to the headphone jack between the Nüüd and the Frē. Each case still protects the port with a plastic screw cap that needs to come off when listening to audio.

With the Nüüd, this piece is now connected to the case, which makes losing it next to impossible. The Frē comes with two caps, neither which is attached to the case.

Proximity Sensor

No worries here. The sensor works just fine.

Camera And Flash

The Nüüd adds a very thin layer of protection over the iPhone’s camera and flash. This doesn’t seem to affect the quality of the photos or videos taken.

Accessories

LifeProof ships each Nüüd case with a microfiber cloth, weatherproof headphone adapter, and scratch protector.

It also includes an iPhone test unit so that you can do your own water test prior to installation. This test isn’t necessary since each Nüüd shipped has already been water tested.

Nüüd accessories

Nüüd accessories

Additional accessories for the iPhone 5 Nüüd are available. These include an armband, bike and bar mount, suction cup car mount, and more.

Use and feel

The case weighs just 0.96 oz., which feels like next to nothing in my book. This light weight doesn’t mean that the Nüüd blends away into obscurity.

The Nüüd uses a slightly elevated shelf to form a waterproof seal to the device’s touchscreen. This shelf is most noticeable when trying to use an app from the home screen dock, depending on the size of your thumb.

This doesn’t cause an issue, at least in iOS 6. However, when I tested the Nüüd on an iPhone with iOS 7 installed, I ran into a problem.

iOS 7 difficulties

Raised shelf

Raised shelf

To activate Apple’s Control Center in iOS 7, you must move your finger from below the dock in an upward direction. This task is next to impossible with the Nüüd installed, especially for those of us with big fingers.

As a result, I found that activating Control Center with a Nüüd case is hit or miss at best. Interestingly enough, I didn’t have a similar problem when launching Apple’s Notification Center at the top of the screen.

It probably isn’t fair to judge a case on how well it interacts with an operating system that remains in beta. However, $90 is a lot of money to spend on a case, so mentioning its likely flaws is important nonetheless.

It should also be noted that the LifeProof Frē doesn’t have this problem since it doesn’t come with the slightly elevated shelf design.

Call quality

There has been some debate of late about LifeProof cases causing a reduction in call quality. I didn’t experience this with the Nüüd. Additionally, some have complained that the necessary headphone adapter for some LifeProof cases caused audio problems. Again, I didn’t experience this after nearly two weeks of tests.

For some reassurance, take a look at LifeProof’s limited warranty agreement, and new Total Water Protection Program.

How Long Will It Last?

Scratches, Scuffs, and Dirt

The Nüüd may be lightweight, but it feels tough enough to last a long time.

Drops

Lifeproof promises that the Nüüd will protect the iPhone 5 from falls of 6.6 feet, or 2 meters. Our tests confirm this to be correct.

What’s Hot

  • Lightweight
  • Access to buttons and plugs
  • Offers full protection

What’s Not

  • Price
  • Only available in two colors, black and white
  • Might not work as expected with iOS 7
  • For $10 less, the Frē might be a better choice.

How Does It Stack Up?

For active folks, owning an iPhone case that offers full protection is important. Nüüd is one of those cases, and one that holds up pretty well.

Where Can You Get It, And How Much Does It Cost?

The iPhone 5 Nüüd is available through the LifeProof website and through retailers such as Best Buy. It is priced at $89.99.

Our Advice

The iPhone 5 Nüüd is a nice all-in-one solution for those who are active. However, we’re not thrilled about the possibility that the case won’t play nice with iOS 7. Because of this, we’d recommend buying the iPhone 5 LifeProof Frē case instead, which provides the same protection at a lower price.

The iPhone 5 Nüüd Overall Scores:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: ★★★★☆
  • Wow Factor: ★★★☆☆
  • Build Quality: ★★★★☆
  • 
Value: ★★★☆☆

Buy now: Get the Nüüd from LifeProof.