The Season: Bang That Phone in Confidence

Sometimes I get that ol’ cranky feeling of wanting everything to go back to about 1974 when we had three television networks and “the educational channel,” rotary dial phones, cars with giant engines and old military surplus jackets for hunting.

By Alan Clemons, Southern Managing Editor

And, well, y’know those times are gone. A few remnants still linger. We still can watch the networks and “the educational channel” along with a bazillion others. My wife’s late grandparents had a loud, heavy, black rotary dial phone until the late 1990s. We still can buy military surplus jackets and red/black check wool from Johnson Woolen Mills or LL Bean.

We also can enjoy the spoils of technology. Virtually everyone has a cell phone now, whether it’s the basic no-frills model with keys and a ringtone or the latest super-duper iPhone or Android. Want to find an app for that, or that, or that and that and that? There’s an app for it. Probably a bunch of them.

When they first came out, users watched in slow-motion horror whenever they dropped one of the glass-plated phones. “Noooooo …” they cried, reaching vainly, hoping it didn’t shatter. It sometimes would. They recoiled as their snazzy phones fell in the toilet, over the side of the boat, into the pitcher of beer (yeah, like no college student didn’t do that).

If only there were great protective covers for these! And, there were. Several companies began producing covers made of hard plastic, soft plastic, rubber, squeezy rubber, a combination of both of those. They had reinforced corners, protective screens … and often were clunky or ugly.

Like the phones, the phone covers have evolved. They’re lighter, stronger, faste … wait, this isn’t the Bionic Man. But they are stronger and lighter. Materials have improved. They’re even waterproof now, so when Steffaniee decides Billy Bob is a two-timer and dunks his phone in the pitcher of cheap Natty Light he can just wipe it off and call up another gal.

LifeProof makes a case like that – tough, durable, waterproof. They’re designed for the iPhone and iPad, and can withstand kid testing. More on that in a minute.

The LifeProof cases are made in two pieces that snap together to form a tight seal. A special screw is included to cover the port for your earbud plug. Not using it? Put in the screw and it’s tight as a tick. You can easily operate your iPhone touchpad.

What’s the big deal? Well, with so many hunters out there climbing trees, shooting video, snapping photos and texting Steffaniee to see about a date Saturday night (she won’t go out with you again), that’s a lot of outdoors phones being around mud, water rocks, truck tailgates and so on. They definitely could use some protection.

I got one for testing and let our two children try it for a few months. Our almost-15-year old son nabbed it first, citing the cool factor. He plays a lot of golf and swims in summer, so the phone got a workout in the golf bag and at the pool. Said it was “awesome.” Our 16-year old daughter wrangled it from him and loved it. She was working this summer, hit the beach a few times with friends and was at the pool a good bit, too. As teenage daughters are, she decided she needed another cover and changed. But the LifeProof case passed the two-kid test with flying colors.

Key thing here: If you get a LifeProof case, definitely, and without any “Oh, it’ll be OK” mentality, watch the procedure video as the LifeProof folks suggest. Don’t just snap on the case and go. One, you can do it incorrectly and ruin your phone. Two, they won’t pay for your phone if you’re a doofus and screw it up. Read the instructions and watch the video.

And when you drive off and your phone flies off the tailgate, chances are good it’ll be protected when it hits the dirt.

— Alan Clemons