Here is my review of the Lifeproof Samsung Galaxy S4 fre black colored Motorola Fre Droid Turbo 2 Black case I purchased for a total of $79.99 (and $10.64 quarterly?) – Note, since I purchased this case, I’ve had to replace it three times now! The company has never given me any hassle on the return and I appreciate that, but it’s still disturbing that there have been so many defects.lifeproof-fre-inside

$80 is not cheap but everything I read said this was a fantastic waterproof case that is well worth the money. Besides protection from water, the scratch protector, drop, dirt and snow protection were extra bonuses.

UPDATE! WARNING!!! on 7/16/2016 My Turbo 2, only a few months old, ended up with water damage. I keep it in the case, and how moisture got in, I’m not sure, but the phone turned out to be irreparable. I called Lifeproof and for some reason, (perhaps LIFEPROOF label) led me to believe that the phone would be covered. I was told yesterday (7/28/2016) by LifeProof staff that they DO NOT cover anything they don’t make. This makes sense, but for some reason, I’ve been under the impression that if my phone is waterproof for life – LIFEPROOF, right? WRONG!!!Lifeproof apologized, waived my $4.95 shipping fee, and is sending me a replacement. Their representative said that if I had dropped it, it may no longer have a proper seal. I concluded that if you drop your phone, you need to take it out of the case, perform a water test, and then put it back in.

Luckily, the phone was under warranty and because it is water resistant, and inside a waterproof case, Verizon will replace the phone at no cost.

MORAL OF STORY – DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF BELIEVING “LIFEPROOF” WILL REPLACE YOUR PHONE! They claim my phone is protected but when it’s damaged, the only thing replaced is the case.

Since using the case, I’ve dropped it a number of times, had it fall in the snow, splashed with water and the S4 fre protected my phone as promised.

There is a small charging port protected by a snap style cover on a hinge and in Jan 2014, it broke. The cover still worked, but was no longer a tight fit and could be a pathway for water. Having paid $80 for a protective case I used for only for 3 months, I was disappointed, after all, that protective cover is opened and closed daily so you would expect it to be built to last.

lifeproof-phone-case-broke

I contacted Lifeproof and explained the following:

The snap at the bottom middle of the case is broken (it is the part that you snap shut to secure the case). The little plastic c shaped nodule that snaps around the metal rod is broken. If you have any questions or need me to send you a picture, please don’t hesitate to call.

Thanks and have a great day!

Within a few days, I received the following message from company support staff:

Update for Case #0123456789 – “Warranty/Returns – Galaxy S4 – Other”
Thank you for contacting LifeProof Customer Support! I would like to personally apologize for the delay in responding to your e-mail. We are currently experiencing high e-mail volumes.

Thank you for providing me with that information! Your request for a warranty replacement has been submitted. You will receive an e-mail with your sales order information shortly. Once your order ships, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with a tracking number.

Please return the original damaged product(s) once you receive the replacement(s). You will receive an e-mail titled “Return Instructions”, which will provide you with the details for the return. Make sure to check your Spam and Junk folders in case that e-mail was filtered there. Please include a printed copy of the return instructions e-mail with your return as well.

Also, please disregard any invoices or prices that you may see, as all warranty replacements are provided free of charge.

Please contact us with any other questions or concerns! Thanks for choosing LifeProof! Have a wonderful day!

and the following day I received:

Dear James,

Your request for Advance Replacement Exchange Authorization was processed and approved. Subject to product availability, LifeProof agrees to ship Advance Replacement exchange product upon RMA approval.

Reason: Cases Not Closing Properly

Replacement product will be shipped to the order’s original shipping address by USPS. Please notify us if an alternate address is preferred.

Please carefully package the products and address your package as follows:
SD LifeProof/OtterBox
Attn: US-92043687 -AR
11870 Community Road
Suite #220
Poway, CA 92064

Please note that we will not accept any product(s) that have been damaged as a result of abuse, misuse, natural or personal disaster, or any unauthorized disassemble, repair or modification.

Once you have obtained the replacement product(s), you must send the original to the address above. We strongly recommend the use of a shipping company that can demonstrate proof of delivery. LifeProof does not accept responsibility for any lost shipments unless proof of delivery to LifeProof is provided.

Product(s) shipped to LifeProof must be properly packaged to prevent damage in transit. Please feel free to contact us with any questions by sending an email to [email protected] or calling 1-888-533-0735.

Sincerely,

LifeProof LifeSupport

Ten days later, I received my replacement. The only negative was that I have to pay to ship the broken part back to the company which ran me $10.64, so for me, the total cost of ownership so far is $90.63 (wow, almost half the price of my phone!)

The downside to this product beside the charging port cover is the port size and sound.

I have a charging cable with a built in light so you can see where your port is; however, the port on the case is smaller than the cable, so you have to use a standard flat charging cable for it to work.

lighted-cell-phone-power-cord

The other issue is with sound through the case, not sound through the earplugs. The sound when talking to someone seems a bit distorted, but over time, you get use to it.

I heard that a local doctor created quite a ruckus by pulling the phone out of his shorts while in a hot-tub at the local gym to answer a call. Although I have confidence in the waterproof feature, I’m not brave enough to test it on my new phone ;)

Overall, the case does what it promises and looks great! I’m very happy with the return service but worried that in three more months, I’ll be paying another $10.64 to ship the case back to Lifeproof for the same port cover problem. I’ll update this page if that happens.

Update 3/2014: lifeproof case breaks waterproof sealThe rubber plug (click on image to see close up) that is permanently attached to the phone which covers the ear bud connection hole broke from wear which makes it no longer waterproof.

To fix this, it will run me another $10.64 for shipping making the new total cost of ownership $101.27 ($90.63 + $10.64). I know I mentioned $10.64 quarterly, but perhaps I need to make that monthly ;) – A screw in plug rather than a push type would solve this problem.

Update 5/22/2014: The tiny plastic piece broke off that seals the case after charging. In the picture below, you can see the charging port closed and gap left by the piece shown to the right of the case.
leaks-now

In the image below, you can see where the plastic section of the Lifeproof Samsung Galaxy S4 FRE case missing and shown to the right of the case.

So, not two months after my last review, here we are again having to pay yet another $10.64 in shipping for a new total cost of ownership of $111.91 ($101.27 + $10.64) – That is a lot of money for a waterproof case and at this rate, it doesn’t look like I’ve reached the top yet.
broken-again

Update 7/17/2014: I went to Lifeproof’s website and visited the warranty page. The website had me take pictures and then upload them to their website. There was also a comment field where I expressed my dissatisfaction about having to pay the quarterly shipping fees.

To my surprise, they sent a prepaid envelope for the defective phone case. That little plastic flap over the charging port is not well built and I fear that I’ll be asking for another replacement, but I’m happy to have my new case.

The warranty is 1 year, so I’m hoping that’s 1 year from the time they send me the latest case. Time will tell, and I’ll keep you updated.

If you know of another waterproof case for my Galaxy S4, please, let me know and I’ll give it a try and post the results.

Charging Port Cover on my Lifeproof Case Broken Again – 05-13-15

Once again, the port door broke but this time it was the arm that connects the door that broke.

lifeproof-waterproof-case-port-door-broken-again

This time, as I submitted my information, I was presented with the following:

Almost done…

Based on your description, one of the below articles may address your issue.
Or, submit your request at the bottom of the page.

Will the charge port door wear out over time?

The LifeProof charge port door will last 10,000 cycles. That is about 10 years if you open and close the charge port door three times a day!

I’ve had this case less than a year and open and close the port cover / door about once every other day to charge – hardly 10,000 cycles!

I’m glad that Lifeproof is living up to their warranty but it’s becoming very frustrating having to repeatedly submit my case for warranty – this will be the third time! This is the message I received from Lifeproof after I submitted pictures of the defective product and serial numbers:

James — Your Lifeproof Warranty order has been received! (5/14/2015)Our Distribution Team will pack and ship your replacement as quickly as possible. We will send you a shipment confirmation with a FedEx tracking number as soon as your order has begun its journey to your doorstep.

Please review your order summary and our processing information, and feel free to contact Our Customer Service Team if you have any questions.

Thanks again for choosing LifeProof.
What you ordered:
Product: SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 FRE BLACK/CLEAR Item No: 1802-01
Qty 1
Price $0.00

Processing Information:

Our Distribution Team works tirelessly to get orders out the door as quickly as possible. Most are dispatched within 24 hours, but at times it may take up to 72 business hours to send an order on its way. As soon as processing is complete you will receive a shipment confirmation via email.

James — Your warranty order has shipped! (5/14/2015)

Great news, your LifeProof warranty order has shipped. It’s now in the caring hands of FedEx SmartPost and on its way to you.

**Allow up to 24 hours (during normal business days) for tracking number to return information.

If you have any questions, please contact customer service and provide them with order number [snip].

Thanks again for choosing LifeProof.
What you ordered:
Product: SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 FRE BLACK/CLEAR
Item No: 1802-01

What it cost and how you paid:
Order Subtotal $0.00
Shipping $0.00
Order Total $0.00

Total Due: $0.00

Update on 3rd Repair – 5/22/2015

I received my new Lifeproof Waterproof FRE Case and the process was fairly easy. The case appears to have a modification that the other did not. I’m not sure what it’s for, it doesn’t seem to go through to the other side of the case (as you might for better sound) so perhaps it is an extra barrier to prevent damage?

Lifeproof phone case return process

Anyone have an idea of what that new case modification is for?

4 replies
  1. Dean says:

    Regarding the Lifeproof charge port door… I have recently purchased an Samsung S7 and wanted the best protection so I obviously purchased the case as recommended by my Sprint phone dealer. I having engineering background immediately knew that the door catch would not last long. It was too tight to open and close. It will not cycle as long as stated. I have had the case for less than 2 months and the plastic lip on the inside has sheered off. I feel as though I even prolonged its life by putting a small amount of pressure on the back side by the hinge pin to relieve tension making it easier to open and close, otherwise I could not even open or close it. The charge port door clearly needs to be re-engineered.
    Otherwise I’m very happy with it! O will be contacting customer care soon to see if they can assist in replacing my unit with another one. I think at least one that was not so tight when closing would last longer.

    Best Regards,
    D.
    Cleveland, Ohio

  2. G. Walker says:

    Just received my 3rd replacement case (since 12/10/14) due to charge port door hinge breaking. 8/19/15. I never had to send in the old case. Now they say then don’t have anymore black/clear cases only blue or grey on white. My new case looks just like the older ones, no modifications to the cover like the one pictured. I am guessing that since black is no-longer available that they are phasing out these cases altogether.

  3. Sheila Downey says:

    My charge port cover disappeared off my case within a month of ownership. I was told (Sprint) that I would have to buy a new case, so let it go.

    I have to admire the case’s ability to protect the phone as I took off with it on the roof of my car one day. After hearing something I thought I had best go back and check, I found my phone in the middle a busy, paved road. It survived sliding off my roof and possibly being run over before I got to it. Screen intact..

    However, I have trouble with phone calls. People cannot hear me during a phone conversation. I have added a volume booster, I have used speaker and I have yelled into the phone from different angles – Still, people hung up on me because they could not hear me.

    I am a dinosaur when it comes to tech knowledge and had a youngster tell me it was my case. She had researched cases before buying one for her own phone. The inability to be heard during a call killed her desire to buy the Otter case.

    I also bought Otter for my Galaxy tablet at the same time. The tablet went all weird on me one day and refused to recognize my pressing buttons, was blacking out, refused to take a charge – I don’t remember everything it did exactly, except it was really strange and extreme enough for me to take the cover off. So, I removed the case and have had no trouble since. I just have to treat it like the most fragile piece of glass on the planet Earth. However, my phone is more apt to experience damage – however unintended – And I am terrified to remove the case for fear my screen could look like some of my friends’ screens…

    So – Here’s the question. Do I want a Rapunzel phone, or do I want a phone I can use?

    Any advice on a next best protection?

  4. Michael T Heighes says:

    I will be filling my second claim for the same problem as your 05/22/14 update. I’m not sure how many changes I am going to give them.

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