I have been considering a Lifeproof case for my iPad 3 for a while now, but the $129.99 price tag was a bit much to swallow. Since the iPad Air came out, I have been thinking that it is time to get the case before they stop making it. (I should mention that I am not sure they are discontinuing it, but it is always a possibility when Apple changes a design and case makers move on)
To my surprise, Amazon had the black version of this case for 74.99. While still expensive, I couldn't pass it up. I really wanted a "water proof" case that I could use with the iPad 3 while lounging in the hot tub. I have never use the iPad 3 near the water because I never wanted to risk getting it wet. As a result, instead of reading magazines and books on my iPad, I would buy a paper copy of them and they would end up getting wet. Also, with Zinio, Flipboard, Kindle, and the Next Issue apps on my iPad, I would rather not spend extra money on paper versions of magazines I am already paying for. The other benefit is that I have an Airport Express in my sunroom (where we have the hot tub) and I can use airplay on the iPad to send audio to it. It makes it easy to pull up my iTunes library or MOG and listen to music with volume control right on the iPad.
I tested the case in the sink by submerging it for 30 minutes and there were no leaks, so I was ready to insert the iPad into the case. The main difference between the 4S case and the iPad 2/3/4 case is that the iPad has a "nuud" (nude) screen. The 4s case has clear plastic over the screen that adds more protection. However, the downside is that the screen is less responsive, loses some of its feel, and affects the clarity of the retina screen. The Liferproof for the iPad doesn't have anything protecting the screen. As a result, I would not recommend using it on a beach, around sand, unless you get a Zagg invisibleShield or something similar. I will never use it on a beach, so I won't be putting on an invisibleShield.
I submerged my iPad 3 in the water and took it out fairly quickly and it was no worse for wear. I also noticed that despite steam coming from the hot tub, the screen did not fog up. As I mentioned, I never used my iPad around water, so that was a bit of a surprise.
While I really like this case, there are still some downsides. The main issue is that it adds more bulk than most cases and the cover (that protects the screen when you aren't using it) needs to be detached when you want to use the iPad. They do make a better cover for it, but that will add another $39. The other issue is that the speaker gets output to the back of the case. Therefore, if you are watching a video on the front of the screen, it will blow the volume out the back instead of the bottom. I have a few bluetooth speakers and Airplay devices, so it won't be a big deal for me, but it is something to consider if you watch a lot of video and use the iPad's speaker. Also, the charger port is set deep into the case and it makes it difficult to unplug it. I actually broke a cable trying to remove the plug the first time I plugged it in. You also have to use a supplied adapter if you want to connect headphones. Finally, the see through back seems to scuff easily.
I plan to keep the case on the iPad until at least the end of winter. It may permanently stay on the iPad since I plan to buy a new iPad when they add the fingerprint scanner to it. At that point, the iPad 3 will only be used in the kitchen, hot tub, and by the pool. That will probably be late 2014, but with Apple, you never know.