lifeproof iphone 5 pic 1

Whether you’re going to a beach, skiing in the mountains or just staying at home for Spring Break keeping your iPhone protected is a big deal. The last thing you want is to go somewhere and have your phone break because it accidentally sliped out of your hand. While there are few good cases that offer decent protection for phones from companies like HTC, Samsung, and BlackBerry there aren’t many. The iPhone on the other hand has almost too many cases available.

We have been getting a few questions lately about good, strong cases for the iPhone, particularly for surviving things like a crazy Spring Break. So whether you’re still on Spring Break or are heading back to school, here are a few cases you’re gonna want to check out to make sure your iPhone is always safe.

otterbox armor iphone 5

The OtterBox Armor

If you’re someone who is always dropping their phone or is going to a beach over the break you’re going to want to check out these guys, the OtterBox Armor and the LifeProof Fre. Both of these cases are extremely tough and offer protection from water (up to 6.6 feet of water for up to 30 minutes), dust, sand, snow and of course, drops (between 6-10 feet). Basically anything you can imagine happening to your iPhone these will protect. (LifeProof and OtterBox also have similar tough cases available now for the iPad 2/3/4 and 4th gen iPod Touch).

lifeproof fre iphone 5 pic 2

The LifeProof Fre

We’ve been testing the LifeProof Fre over the last few days with our iPhone 5 to see if cases like these really lived up to the hype. Put simply, they do. We didn’t have a chance to go to crazy with our testing but the Fre easily survived drops on concrete, getting washed in the sink, being in a cup of water and even being tossed out in the snow. We also liked how even with all this added protection the Fre barely made our iPhone 5 any bulkier. Of course all this protection comes with a trade-off and for the Fre it is with its headphone jack. All this extra protection makes the headphone jack a bit harder to get to, and to use it while your phone is in the case will need you to use an adapter. One adapter is included with the case but its annoying to carry and easy to lose (which you probably will at some point). Replacement adapters also are pretty expensive at $20 a pop. The Lightning port for charging your iPhone however, is easy to get to, and if you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones you can always still use those.

Also, if you get either the Fre or the Armor make sure to follow the instructions for water testing the case before you put your phone in it. While both of these cases offer great protection, it is worth the time to make sure that everything works and that you know how to properly put the case on before you put your iPhone in and take it into the water. The test is fairly simple (for the Fre you just leave the case under water for an hour without the iPhone inside it to make sure that no water gets through), but the last thing you want to do is screw this up and accidentally break your iPhone.

incipio iphone 5 stowaway

The Incipio Stowaway

Now if you don’t need a case that’s indestructible we really like this case from Incipio called the Stowaway. This case is also pretty thin and provides some decent protection for your phone (not like the cases above, but enough to protect from basic drops). Now what we really like about this case is its hidden compartment on the back that’s perfect for secretly holding things like IDs, cash or credit cards (Incipio claims you can fit up to three credit cards in here). We tested this case briefly as well and found it to be perfect for when you’re going around campus or out to a party and don’t want to carry around a big wallet.

As we said these are just a few of the many cases available for the iPhone but some that we think are interesting and offer good protection. If you have any recommendations of your own feel free to share them below.

All three cases are available now in a variety of colors for the iPhone 4/4S and 5, with the Stowaway costing $35, the Fre $80, and the Armor $100.

More info: IncipioLifeProof, OtterBox