It was almost hard to cover this product for the second year in a row because I pretty much already said it all. But, it turns out, I didn’t.

I was having a beer with a friend the other day. He’s a firefighter full time and a heli ski guide in the winter. He carries his phone everywhere and uses it as not only a phone but as a music player, a calendar, and probably a skeet disc. He’s the one who first showed me the Lifeproof case as we rode the ski lift two seasons ago. Over beers he showed it to me again, and it’s pretty much destroyed. The gaskets are broken, the seals are peeling, the little screw-in plug cover is missing. It’s trashed. But the phone it was protecting all of this time was completely fine. Whatever killed that case would have probably liquefied the phone had it been unprotected.

My friend was super excited to go out and buy a new Lifeproof case. He wasn’t even flinching at the price, because his first case had done such a great job protecting his phone. This, today, is the hallmark of a good product. One that, at the end of its reasonable lifetime, inspires the user to go out and buy another one without complaint.

Me, I don’t need a new one, but I’m anxiously awaiting the Lifeproof case for iPad mini. I’m so addicted to being able to take my phone in the water and in the shower and out in the rain or whatever, it’s now weird to me to have to be careful with my electronics. My camera is waterproof already, and my phone case is waterproof – if I ever have anything actually damageable by water, I’ll be in trouble because I’m bound to forget and leave it out under the sprinkler or in my pocket when fishing. All that and the case is so low profile you’ll probably forget your phone is even in a case.

Speaking of, all of the Lifeproof cases have Life Jackets that you can use to ensure you can find your device if/when you drop it in the water. It floats and is pretty cool. I think by the time you need a Lifeproof case AND a Life Jacket to keep your device safe and in your hands, maybe your device just needs to get away from you. But the products are cool and we do have dominion over our phones, for now, so they can’t just run away into the wild. Especially not with a bright orange life jacket preventing an undersea escape.

Right now there are Lifeproof cases for iPhone 4 and 5, iPod touch, and iPad. They come in a few different colors and are accompanied by a line of accessories, like a bar mount, belt clip, and armband. If you’re like me, and can’t be bothered to be careful with your phone, getting one of these cases would be a great idea. I’m reasonably sure I’d have done in at least four phones by now had I not had a Lifeproof!