The LifeProof Nüüd Case and Cover/Stand Bundle offers serious protection for the iPad 2, as well as third- and fourth-generation iPads. The LifeProof team claims that this $120 bundle will protect your iPad from water, snow, ice, dirt, and impacts.
The case itself consists of two parts. The front piece is actually a hollow ring—even with the case on, your iPad’s own naked screen is exposed. LifeProof advises against leaving on a sticky screen protector unless it’s one from LifeProof itself, as the company says thicker third-party options could interfere with the case’s water-, dirt-, and snow-proofiness. The case is thick enough that, though the screen isn’t covered, it’s protected from impacts when your iPad falls butter-side down.
The case measures 10.4 inches tall, 8.2 inches wide, and 0.8 inches thick; it weighs 0.7 pounds. Getting the iPad into the Nüüd isn’t a struggle, though it does require some patience: There’s an o-ring in each side of the case that needs to be carefully reseated between uses, and snapping the Nüüd shut all the way around takes a moment or two.
With your iPad clad in the Nüüd, you still get access to all of its ports and buttons, in theory. Though you may think of the Sleep/Wake button resting atop the iPad, in the Nüüd, it actually sits on the back, thanks to the case’s design. But that button works, as do the volume controls and the Home button. The Mute/Lock Rotation switch is also accessible through the case, though it’s a bit less reliable in my testing: I generally had to try the case’s cover for that switch a couple of times before it worked.
The headphone jack is accessible, though it’s covered by a screw-in plug by default. The Nüüd ships with a headphone extender cable, because most headphones won’t be able to plug in without it, thanks to how deeply recessed the port becomes inside the case. The dock connector port is covered by a hinged locking mechanism. You can charge your iPad in the Nüüd, but you’ll need to use one of the cables Apple ships with the tablet, or a very similarly-shaped third-party cable; like the headphone jack, the port is very deeply recessed within the case, so deeper dock connector cables won’t fit.
LifeProof describes the area of the case covering the iPad’s speaker as a Sound Enhancement System port. The iPad didn’t sound terrible inside the Nüüd, but I don’t love the “enhancement”—it sounds simultaneously hollow and muffled.
The front-facing camera is unimpeded by the case; the rear-facing camera is covered with a “CrystalClear double anti-reflective coated glass lens,” which seemed harmless enough for my test photographs.
LifeProof claims that you can fully submerge your Nüüd-clad iPad to 6.6 feet (2 meters), drop it from 4 feet (1.2 meters), and expose it to dust, ice, and snow—all without risk of damage to the tablet. (If you’re into IP codes, LifeProof says the case merits an IP 68 designation.)
When you hold the iPad in the Nüüd case, it certainly feels bigger, thicker, and heavier. This isn’t a case that fades away: It has heft and girth. But the iPad remains eminently usable inside the case regardless. Though it feels a smidgen clunkier, it retains an impressive amount of usability.
Removing the case takes a bit more effort than putting it on, but it’s still doable. You’ll need a coin, which you twist in each of two bottom slots to being prying the case apart. Then you can slowly pull apart the rest of the case.
Then there’s the cover. The material feels flimsier and cheaper than the case itself, and probably is. That said, it fits snugly and goes on and off with minimal effort, and should seemingly do a capable job of providing the iPad’s screen with a little extra protection in transit.
The cover doubles as a stand. Inside it is a built-in kickstand with two options—an angle for typing (25 degrees) and an angle for reading or video watching (40 degrees off vertical). From the thinness of the stand, I worried about its stability for either action, but my worry was misguided: Wobbles were minimal if present at all, and both angles suited me just fine.
The Nüüd isn’t for everyone. If you don’t need such serious protection, you may well prefer a slimmer, lighter, less robust case. If, however, you regularly expose your iPad to the same elements which the Nüüd is built to protect against, it’s a great option. The innovation of leaving the screen exposed means that, of course, the screen behaves flawlessly, with the tight seal of the rest of the case protecting your iPad’s internals.