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Hands-on: The FRE LifeProof case is great for protecting your Google Pixel, but at a cost


When it comes to protecting your smartphone fully, LifeProof has long been one of your best options. By simply installing this case, you’re not only adding drop and screen protection, but also waterproofing it for up to two meters of water. At $90, this is definitely one of the most expensive, but maybe one of the best, premium cases you can get for complete Pixel protection…

With the hard plastic and soft-touch rubber combination found in the Frē, the case feels very like a premium accessory compared to similar cases from some other manufacturers. Unfortunately, though, to keep it waterproof, there is a small piece of plastic that covers the fingerprint sensor. It’s still usable, but you have to apply extra pressure to make it work. It also tends to interfere with the fingerprint reader’s accuracy.

In addition to the plastic over the fingerprint sensor, you also have to work around the screw-cap covering the headphone jack and the plastic flap protecting the USB-C port. The opening for the charging port should be big enough to fit any USB type C cable that you own, however.

The headphone jack is a different story. LifeProof includes a short 3.5mm extension cord because the slot is too narrow and will not allow most headphones to reach the jack. Although it’s a bit of a hassle to use, the extension does include a seal to keep the case waterproof when using headphones.

So what about day-to-day use? As mentioned before, the feel of the case in the hand is pretty much perfect. Unlike other rubbery cases, the LifeProof Frē doesn’t collect any pocket link and it doesn’t even catch when you’re pulling it out of your pocket. The biggest downside honestly is the power and volume buttons. With this case, pressing any of the hardware buttons requires a little extra effort.

The price is also pretty high. You can purchase the LifeProof Frē case in asphalt black for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL for $90 each. If you are interested in picking one up for any of your other devices, you can scroll through LifeProof’s offerings on their website or on Amazon. Or if you want a case with a little less protection and a little more style, check out our case round-up for the Pixel.

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Avatar for Justin Duino Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at Tips are always welcome.