A number of weeks ago I got into a fairly serious car accident. While there was a significant amount of damage to my Subaru Outback no one was hurt and that is all the really matters. I needed a rental while my Subaru was being fixed and when I got to the rental place all […]
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Review: The Otterbox Defender Series for iPhone – the SUV of Iphone Cases (and that’s a good thing!)

A number of weeks ago I got into a fairly serious car accident. While there was a significant amount of damage to my Subaruotterboxdef1 Outback no one was hurt and that is all the really matters. I needed a rental while my Subaru was being fixed and when I got to the rental place all they had was a big SUV. Beggars can’t be choosers so I took i t. 

How was it? It was BIG!

Big as in “I eat Outbacks for lunch!”.

Big as in “Look at me… I’m king of the world!”

Big as in “Gallons per mile rather than miles per gallon.”

Okay, maybe it wasn’t THAT big, but coming from an Outback it sure looked that way when I first saw it.

Then I got in the truck. Boy was I surprised. It didn’t FEEL nearly as huge as it looked. Moreover, it was amazingly comfortable and it drove and handled far more smoothly than I could have possibly imagined. Best of all, while driving it I felt safe, even invincible, which, having just had an accident, was a welcome feeling. 

That kind of sums up my experience using the Otter Box Defender Series for iPhone. When I opened the box my first thought was, “Boy is that one big case!”  Once my phone was in it and I actually started to use it I was pleasantly surprised. It no longer felt that big at all.

The Otterbox Defender Series for iPhone is a complete protection system. It comes in four parts. 

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–The hard case that completely surrounds the phone. This “plastic lid” as the folks at Otterbox refer to it, comes in two pieces that snap together tightly around the entire device. Since I have a permanent transparent skin on my phone it was a tight fit but it worked nonetheless. Once in the hard case all controls remain accessible with the exception of the switch to silence the phone. In addition, the sim slot is inaccessible but that only becomes an issue if you are looking to swap out your sim. 

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If you need a reminder of which phone you are using the back of the hard case has what can only be called a “vanity window”. It allows you, or the person to whom you are showing your phone to still see the Apple logo. A bit gratuitous for my taste but an indication of the attention to detail nonetheless.

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–The silicone skin that surrounds the hard case. This skin wraps the hard case in a soft material that is pleasant to hold while covering both the headphone and charge/sync ports whenever they are not needed to ensure that dust does not get in. 

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The three pieces fit together well and surround the iPhone like a glove. This is one well designed and executed case!!

–The swivel belt clip to carry the phone and to protect the screen. The phone slides into the case screen down so that it is completely protected.  The fit is so tight (but not too tight) that there is no possibility it will unintentionally slip out. The belt clip itself is a large, heavy duty clip that ratchets a full 360 degrees. It feels solid and is clearly a belt clip you can depend upon. Having had the experience of previous phones slipping out of a holster or the belt clip coming off unintentionally I really appreciated the high quality materials and construction of the belt clip.

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Getting the phone into the case was a bit tricky but Otterbox provides excellent instruction. Moreover, their website provides a how-to video of the process that can be fond at 

http://www.otterbox.com/products/ipod_cases/iphone_case/iphone-instructions.htm

The case looks good and fits perfectly, but the real test is in the usability of the phone while it is in the case and this is where Otterbox got just right.

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A day after I got the Otterbox case I left town for a vacation. This was the case I used during my trip and I was happy I did. Between the packing and unpacking, the sand and the sun, I liked knowing my phone was well protected. While the Defender series case is not waterproof, it did keep my phone protected from everything but submersion.  

I had been concerned the protective film that sits on top of the screen might negatively impact the sensitivity of the screen but my concerns were for naught. It worked just as well in the case as it did out of it. However, while the instructions explain how to eliminate the “oil slick” appearance in which the screen appears to have lighter and darker portions, a potential problem whenever a film sits on top of a touchscreen, I was never able to completely eliminate it. In fairness, however, this may just be my own issue and it was only noticeable when the screen was off, and had no impact on the screen during use. I did not like the fact that while in the case the touch screen is slightly lower than the bezel around it. While this “ridge” is part of the protective aspect of the device it was something to which I had to adjust since the iPhone screen itself is flush with the surrounding case.

I found that while in the case the iPhone’s single button was recessed and slightly more difficult to press. It still worked but it required a bit more pressure. 

Finally, I had worried the material covering the mike and speakers might impact the sound quality of the phone but, magically, this was not the case at all. There was no impact on sound quality in either direction!  

Pros

–Real, complete protection from everything but submersion in water

–Well conceived and constructed

–Allows almost complete usability (with the exception of the ringer off switch) while providing the most complete protection yet

–Good value for what you get

Cons

–Adds size and weight (although rather minimal considering the CIMG3423degree of protection)

–Sim inaccessible while in the case

–Allows syncing and charging with cable but not the cradle

Conclusion

My Subaru is back from the shop and I am glad. While driving an SUV for a few weeks was a better experience than I expected I was glad to give it back. I’m still using the Otterbox Defender Series case and am thinking  about getting one for my iPod Classic as well. 

Otterbox hit a home-run with this case. If you are traveling, tend to be clumsy or just need the most protection possible while maintaining full use of the iPhone this is the case for you.

The Otterbox Defender Series case for iPhone is the SUV of iPhone cases… and it gets far better mileage!

The black Otterbox defender goes for $49.95.  To learn more and order an Otterbox now, go to:

http://www.otterbox.com/products/ipod_cases/iphone_case/

 

 

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