iPhone Defender Case From Otterbox

My Review: 7

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So I have been using the iPhone Defender case from Otterbox for about 5 days straight now. I have some thoughts. I think the easiest thing will be to break this up into several categories:

  • Beauty
  • Fit and Finish
  • Protection
  • Accessibility
  • Functionality

Beauty: 8

The case looks great. There is no question that it bulks the phone up a bit, which is an unfortunate side effect of almost any case you put an iPhone into. But if you are into the rugged, rubberized look then I think you will dig the appearance of this case. I have the black model, and it looks serious.

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Fit and Finish: 6

Ok, the rubberized, silicon skin is great. It doesn’t feel sticky, but it has the right amount of tack to keep it firmly in your hand. I like the feel of it. However, when you peel off the skin, the plastic underneath feels a little bit cheap. Also, it is nearly impossible to figure out to open the darn thing. At first I didn’t actually realize that the skin comes off. Once I figured that out, I couldn’t see how to open the plastic case itself. No doors, no levers, no buttons. I finally noticed that there were small holes in strategic locations around the outside of the case. I took a small screwdriver and pried those open, and the case finally popped free.

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The whole time I was holding my breath because the plastic felt friable and likely to snap. It didn’t and the thing opened fine, but it was definitely not intuitive. Later, when I looked on the website I found this video about using the case – I wish I had seen it earlier. To be clear, you NEED to watch this video if you are going to own this case.

Protection: 8

This is a”lifestyle” case from Otterbox, meant for every day use. It is not waterproof, but it will certainly protect from every day bumps and drops, and a light rain sprinkle. For it’s intended purpose, I think this case performs admirably. It’s not supposed to protect from full immersion or nook-u-lar attacks. It works very well for casual, every day living and usage.

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Accessibility: 6
As the website notes, you can not access the “silence” the phone using the the slider button on the top left of the iPhone. While they did disclaim this issue in the product write-up, the fact remains that this is a pretty core piece of functionality to be able to access. I was in a meeting, and then later ewnt to the movies (to see Rambo IV.) I did not want to go through the hassle of removing the case (it’s a process.) Both times I was forced to power off my phone, and it would have been much simpler use the silence button.

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I could also have put it in Airplane mode, but that required more steps, and is not much quicker to come back than a straight up power-off. I don’t see why they don’t use another flap in the silicon cover or create some kind of toggle. There are plastic bumpers at the corners, presumably for both protection and for structural integrity, but this is not a bomb-proof case. I think they need to integrate this feature, it’s something I use every day.

Aside from the issue of the silencer button, this case give pretty good access to all the other features. The camera lens, home-screen button, volume buttons headphone plug and power plug all work fine. It is not possible to set the phone into its cradle while in the case, but it is easy enough to simply plug the cord directly into the phone’s base.

Functionality: 5

I did run into one major problem with the functionality of the phone while in the case. The issue was typing. Trying to type text messages and emails is SIGNIFICANTLY more difficult with the case on. The problem is the ridges on the side of the case. They stick up and make it very difficult to hit letters that are close to the edge of the screen. The touch screen is already difficult enough to type, and this makes it worse.

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One other small problem was a weird issue. With the case and cover on, a wet spot would appear under the clear plastic cover, over the screen. It almost looked oily. I took the case apart and thoroughly cleaned both the plastic cover and the screen of the phone, but the problem persisted. Really weird, and very annoying. However, when I watched the video, I discovered that Otterbox is well aware of the problem, and has a solution. As the video demonstrates, before you put the phone into the case, you should clean it off and then rub your palm over the screen. This fixes the problem. I don’t know why or how, but it totally worked. If anyone knows why this works, please feel free to comment below. Bottom line, WATCH THAT VIDEO if you buy an iPhone Defender case.

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On the positive side though, I am very impressed by how well the touch screen works, even through the plastic covering. It seems to me to be 95% as sensitive as it was without any covering at all, and that’s excellent.

Now for the total. If I add up all the scores (8+6+8+6+5) I get a total of 33. Divided by 5 we get an averaged score of 6.6, and we come out with a (rounded) total score of 7. So that is my review total for the iPhone Defender case from Otterbox, 7 out 10 and a confident recommendation. If you want a good looking case that will protect your phone and give you access to most of its features, this is a good purchase.

At $49.95 (plus tax and shipping) they are not cheap, but it could well be worth it to protect your (rather) expensive phone. Just be prepared to suffer a new learning curve in typing – if you are iPhone email freak or text-master then I would be wary of this case. And WATCH THAT VIDEO.

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