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Review: The eco-friendly LifeProof WĀKE iPhone case offers oceanic benefits

Help clean up the oceans while you protect your iPhone.

I think after reading this LifeProof WĀKE iPhone case review, you’ll see why I included it in our best iPhone 12 mini cases guide. It does come in other sizes, of course, but I’ve been using it in regular rotation on my iPhone 12 mini for the last few months. I like that it’s slim but it feels pretty protective. The dusty purple shade suits me, though it comes in three other colors as well. The wavy texture on the back, reminiscent of the ocean’s waves, adds visual and tactile interest. The case is drop tested up to two meters (over 6.5 feet).

What sets the LifeProof WĀKE apart is that it’s actually made from salvaged fishing gear — it’s about 85% ocean-based plastic. Plus, each purchase of a WĀKE case donates a dollar to water-conscious nonprofits.

Bottom line: This slim, attractive case benefits the ocean with each purchase.

The Good

  • Made from over 85% ocean-based recycled plastic
  • Attractive wavy texture design
  • Slim but pretty protective
  • Two-meter drop protection
  • One dollar from each purchase goes to water-conscious non-profits
  • Wireless and MagSafe charging works (without the click)

The Bad

  • Smooth edges aren’t very grippy
  • Most of the bottom of the phone is exposed

iPhone 12 mini: From $35 at Amazon
iPhone 12/12 Pro: From $35 at Amazon
iPhone 12 Pro Max: From $35 at Amazon
All sizes: From $34 at LifeProof

Eco-friendly and good-looking

LifeProof WĀKE iPhone case review: What I like

The LifeProof WĀKE iPhone case is notable because it’s made from plastic fishing gear waste salvaged from the ocean. That alone makes this case a greener option, but LifeProof also donates a dollar from each purchase to water-concious non-profits. You can even recycle this case when you’re done with it through LifeProof’s LifeCycle Program (NOT through your own recycling bin or compost).

I find the LifeProof WĀKE iPhone case aesthetically appealing. The case is hard plastic but smooth and pleasing to touch. The wave design adds and nice texture, both in terms of the way it feels and looks. The waves keep it from looking like just another iPhone case, but it’s subtle enough to appeal to folks who prefer simpler cases. The buttons over the Sleep/Wake and volume buttons are satisfyingly clicky and work great. There’s a precision cutout for the mute switch, while the bottom of the case is entirely open. The open bottom makes the case easier to put on and take off, but some people may not like the bottom exposed that way. The case fits securely and properly.

The case is thick enough that the edge of the case comes up over the screen for face-down protection. The camera module is also protected this way. Though I did not perform drop tests myself, LifeProof claims two-meter (6.5-foot) drop protection.

Wireless charging works fine. This is not a MagSafe-specific case, but it does work with my MagSafe charger. You just don’t get that lovely click into place.


LifeProof WĀKE iPhone case review: What I don’t like

My biggest issue with this case is that the lovely smooth edges are unfortunately slippery. If you’re prone to dropping phones, this smooth plastic case may not be ideal. I haven’t dropped it myself, but I could see it happening, especially if my hands were a little bit moist.

The other design choice that’s not ideal is the open bottom — the entire area encompassing the Lightning port and speakers is exposed. While I doubt that would cause any serious damage, that area could possibly get scratched up. Generally, hard plastic cases are open that way; otherwise it would be impossible to get the case on and off. Branding isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but LIFEPROOF is engraved on both the back and one side of this case.

The competition

The Otter + Pop Symmetry Case is a perennial favorite of mine, not only is it a very protective case, but it has a built-in PopSocket PopGrip which can be swapped out for different looks. The PopGrip gives you a secure grip on your iPhone, even if you’re using it one-handed. Plus, it can be used as a stand for watching videos.

Other option to consider is the Casery iPhone case. The slim, protective case meets military drop-test standards and comes in tons of trendy designs. The flexible edges do go all the way around the phone with cutouts for the Lightning port and speakers.

LifeProof WĀKE iPhone case review: Should you buy

You should buy this if …

You want an eco-friendly case

Made from salvaged fishing gear, over 85% ocean-based recycled plastic, LifeProof seeks to clean up our oceans with this case. A dollar from each purchase is sent to a water-conscious non-profit. You can even recycle this case when you’re done with it through LifeProof’s LifeCycle program.

You like the aesthetics

I love the color and oceanic wavy texture of this case. It looks and feels so nice.

You want slim protection

This is a fairly slim case, but it’s been drop-tested to two meters (6.5 feet).

You should not buy this if …

You have butterfingers

The smooth edges make for a somewhat slippery case, especially if your hands are moist.

You tend to scratch the bottom of your phone

The bottom of the case where the Lightning port and speakers reside is largely exposed.

This is the case for you if you want something attractive and eco-friendly that strikes a balance between thinness and protection. If you tend to drop phones or scratch up the metal at the bottom, this won’t be your ideal case.

out of 5

The ocean-friendly LifeProof WĀKE iPhone case is made from salvaged fishing gear, over 85% recycled ocean-based plastic. Each purchase means a dollar goes to one of LifeProof’s water-conscious non-profit partners. You can even recycle the case when you’re done with it by sending it back to LifeProof as part of the company’s LifeCycle program. The case is aesthetically appealing with its wavy texture and slim form factor. Drop-tested to two meters, it’s a pretty protective case, but you should be aware that it’s fairly slippery and the bottom of the case it largely exposed. You can get this case for a number of iPhone models as far back as the iPhone 7. There are four different colors to choose from too.

Bottom line: Aesthetic appeal and eco-friendliness define this iPhone case.

iPhone 12 mini: From $35 at Amazon
iPhone 12/12 Pro: From $35 at Amazon
iPhone 12 Pro Max: From $35 at Amazon
All sizes: From $34 at LifeProof

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