I’ve never dropped a cellphone or laptop into the toilet, but I have spilled drinks so close to my beloved gadgets that I stopped breathing.
So while I’m not planning to drop my iPad mini into a body of water, offers to protect my tech from my coffee habit have the irresistible sound of protecting me from myself. The LifeProof nüüd case for the iPad mini (retail price $120) suggests that it will keep my mini safe from a life filled with liquids, dirt, snow, and falls. I used it for several months and tested the watertightness. I was not disappointed in its protective claims. Those of you in the Northeast and Midwest may be particularly interested in the claims of snow protection.
The nüüd case is unique in that it offers protection against water while simultaneously offering direct touch access to the iPad’s actual screen. This is achieved by a tight, waterproof gasket that runs around the screen edge–it truly stopped water leakage in my tests. I much preferred touching the screen rather than transferring touch through some intermediary material.
What’s in the Box
– back cover (clear, so iPad’s design shows through)
– front cover (just a frame holding the waterproof gasket)
– shoulder strap, not adjustable
– screen cleaning cloth
– plastic water testing test unit (substitute for iPad mini)
– owner’s manual
– 1-page quick start
– Limited warranty statement (for nüüd only, not for your mini)
Not in the Box, Available Separately for Additional Cost
– Screen cover/stand
– Warranty for non-LifeProof items (for example, your iPad)
– Extra-rugged bumper and float jacket
Features and Experiences
I like to always have a lightweight, low-profile case on my iPad to protect it from drops and scratches. I used the nüüd case on my iPad mini, 24×7, for several months, and I applied it and removed it several times. It comforted me knowing that any liquid demon had to sneak past the nüüd’s gasket. The protection from drops and dust was also welcome (no snow or ice here).
LifeProof says that watertightness is tested at the factory for nüüd cases. The contents of the nüüd box include a testing unit (a plastic unit the size and shape of a mini) so each of us can test our own case on an iPad-like unit. I applied the case to the test unit, closed the ports for the audio and charging, and submerged the case into the bottom of a bucket, weighted down with a coffee cup for the suggested 30 minutes.
I tested like this twice, removing the case and re-applying it in-between. In each case, there were just tiny beads of water at the edge of the gasket and no visible leakage at the ports. Of course, this doesn’t test what happens at greater depths with greater pressures, more agitation, or bumping and fumbling, like dropping over the side of a boat.
LifeProof’s specs say the case protects to a depth of 6.6 feet for up to 60 minutes, and there are stories online of iPads surviving short immersions or splashes. In spite of the waterproof case, I kept mine as dry as possible.
The case adds slightly to the weight (4.64 ounces) and increases the measurements to 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.63 inches.
No one wants their mini to have a bigger footprint but I especially liked the easier grasp that I got with the nüüd– instead of the smooth, slippery glass at the margin of the iPad, I now had a small plastic lip that ensured a good grip. That raised lip also made touching the screen at the very edge difficult because my finger or stylus would bump against the edge of the case. At the same time, that elevated lip protected the screen when lying face down.
There are rubber flaps that work well for sealing and accessing the ports for the audio and charger. The case meant there was extra depth for the connector for my favorite earbuds, which have a bend where the pin meets the cable. An adapter solved the problem, and most connectors have no bend at all.
Rubber buttons on the nüüd transfer presses for volume control, on/off, and orientation. These are not as responsive as the iPad’s own buttons and my sense of touch did not let me mindlessly work controls with the oddly shaped rubber buttons as I do with the iPad native buttons, but they do work.
The sound was good when the case was on, and the camera is covered by an optical glass lens that preserved high fidelity for my snapshots.
Removing the case is a bit of a struggle, requiring a large coin as a twisting lever and quite a bit of torque, but my case worked after being removed and re-applied. The case actually survived removal even though I feared I was breaking it.
In addition to the water protection, LifeProof offers three other “proofs” in the nüüd case: protection against dust/dirt, drops, and snow/ice. The specifications suggest drops of 4 feet are survivable; I dropped mine a couple times from hand-held height on carpeted and hard floors and the case and the iPad survived unscathed.
The LifeProof nüüd case for iPad mini is available in black or white. A separate cover/stand is available, which I was unable to test, but would recommend on principle since otherwise your screen is exposed to the cruel world and the inside of all my tote bags. You also can purchase a float jacket that pops over the edges of the nüüd, like bumper pads, to help it float or survive harsher drops.
The nüüd iPad mini case passed the watertightness test and protected my mini from falls. It was lightweight and made the mini easier to grasp and protected the screen from face-down contacts. I believe it will also offer protection from snow and dust but I did not test for those conditions. I found the edges of the case somewhat awkward when I was touching, tapping, dragging or pinching at the margins of the screen and could not be comfortable with the unprotected screen. Overall, the case was useful as long as the screen wasn’t threatened and I didn’t need to carry a keyboard.
The nüüd iPad mini case is available from LifeProof and other vendors.