LifeProof's $130 Nuud (pronounced "nude") case protects your iPad against water, dirt, snow and shock while still providing unfettered access to your tablet's display. We got our feet and iPad wet with the Nuud to see whether it lives up to the company's claims.
The LifeProof Nuud, compatible with the iPad 2, 3 and 4, is made of a combination of ultra-high impact engineered plastic and a special rubber along the edges and back of the case.
There's nothing protecting the iPad's display, which may seem unnerving to the accident-prone, but it does let you interact with the screen directly, instead of having to go through a membrane that may degrade visual quality and responsiveness.
On the back of the case, a clear, plastic scratch-resistant screen protects the device while allowing you to see the back of your iPad. A latched cover at the bottom of the case protects the charge port of the iPad, while a plug sits in the headphone jack at the top to prevent water from entering.
Weighing 11.2 ounces, the Nuud case adds a significant amount of weight to the iPad, bringing the total weight of the device to 2.14 pounds. The case measures 10.4 X 8.2 X 0.8 inches, meaning it adds about an inch to the iPad's length and width, and half an inch to its thickness.
The LifeProof Nuud case for iPad comes with a separate cover/stand, and is available in black or white.
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Some assembly is required when encasing your iPad with the Nuud. The case comes in two sections -- front and back, and there are two yellow o-rings that need to be seated firmly between the two halves of the case.
Getting the iPad into the Nuud takes some effort, as you have to make sure the o-rings are installed correctly, then snap the two halves of the case together, which requires a good deal of force. Lifeproof advises you first test the Nuud case with the included iPad-shaped plastic insert, to make sure that you seal it correctly -- if any water gets in, try again. Once your case is proven to be in working order, you can insert your iPad.
LifeProof boasts that its "naked" screen design offers direct access to the iPad's screen. While the screen isn't covered, the front of the case is raised and acts as a bumper that prevents the screen from touching the ground if you drop the iPad on its face.
LifeProof claims its Sound Enhancement System allows you to hear your music clearly even with the case wrapped around your iPad. We listened to "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk and found that the speaker was somewhat muffled by the Nuud. The music echoed and sounded canned, as if it were coming from a radio in a box, but the speaker was still able to fill a small room with sound.
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A double AR coated glass lens protects the rear camera without distorting images. Pictures we took on the iPad with the case on looked almost identical to pictures taken without the case.
Rubber buttons that align with the iPad's home and volume button worked well, but we found the latter to be on the stiff side. The headphone jack cover, which screws into place, can also be a little difficult to remove.
While LifeProof wants to reach everyday users, it also made the Nuud with adventurers, construction workers and first responders or emergency workers in mind.
The Nuud was designed to withstand falls from up to 4 feet, be fully submerged in 6.6 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, and meets IP-68 certification, a rigorous industry standard for Ingress Protection from water and dust.
We dropped our iPad in the Nuud case 10 times from different heights up to 4 feet, and the iPad came out unscathed. We then submerged the iPad in half a foot of water for about 10 seconds. After the quick dip, our iPad was still fully functional. You can't use the tablet underwater, though, since capacitive screens aren't designed to work that way.
Having our iPad protected with the LifeProof Nuud case definitely provided some peace of mind. At $129, this case is not cheap, and you'll have to put up with some added bulk, but the Nuud will help keep your iPad ticking, should it get in harm's way.