iPhone 5 Otterbox Defender Review

Posted on Oct 16 2012 - 8:14pm by Spartacus


We posted a review of the new Otterbox Defender for iPhone 5 earlier and gave it a spot in our best of the best category for best protective iPhone 5 case. Now we have a hands-on review coming your way. Spoiler: It’s a beast!

Otterbox has been around the block a few times, they’ve been making protective cases for Apple’s iDevices since the beginning. By this time their designs have been tweaked to near perfection in terms of being protective, stylish, and useful. They are trusted by everybody from construction workers to Marines.

It’s pretty obvious why once you get your hands on one too. Check out our hands-on video, and our review below.

A Tri Layer Cocoon Of Safety

Layer 1: The first layer of protection is a hard polycarbonate internal skeleton that snaps around your iPhone 5 like a hard protective cocoon. In fact, it does such a good job of protecting your iPhone that you’ll have a very hard time getting it off! Until you learn the trick, be prepared for a few broken nails. The iPhone rests on a small cushion inside, so the back won’t come into direct contact with the plastic and get scratched up. I appreciated the larger opening for the camera though, the lens and flash have plenty of room to work, and there is a dark black ring around the opening to ensure there’s no funny hues in your pictures.

Layer 2: The second layer of protection comes in the form of the clear plastic screen protectors. There is a circle on the back to show off your Apple logo, and it is covered with a clear piece of plastic to prevent dust from getting in or scratching. The front of the case has a built in plastic cover as well to cover the screen. This was the only thing I didn’t like about this case. The plastic screen protector tended to bubble up and I had to press it down in order to make contact with the screen. It was more than a little annoying. So I’d recommend removing it first thing, and using something like the Zagg EXTREME as a screen protector.

Layer 3: The third layer is the outer silicone skin that wraps around the polycarbonate cocoon. This skin provides drop and shock absorption. It also covers the speaker and docking port. There is also a cover for the mute switch, as well as externally accessible sound, home, and on/off buttons. I really appreciate this feature because it prevents dust and grit from getting into the openings on the iPhone and accumulating.

We love the hip holster it comes with too. You can easily snap the iPhone into it with the screen in or out. The clip is super secure too with a hook on the inside to hook onto your belt and prevent it from slipping off. It can be positioned and adjusted to any angle, and it doubles as a nice little stand as well. Just because they can.

This is an amazing case overall with very few downsides. If you are in the market for a protective case, we recommend this 100% as the best currently on the market! It’s $49.95 well spent, and comes in a ton of different colors and styles to suit any taste.

Pros: Too many to count!

Cons: Plastic screen protector a bit annoying, really hard to get your iPhone out (not that you’d ever want to)

Check Out The Otterbox Defender Case

Protection for what’s next

Similar iPhone 5 Cases:

4 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Carol Lewis November 3, 2012 at 1:28 am - Reply

    The LifeBox has a drop rating of 6 1/2 feet which is a military spec. What is the drop rating for the Otterbox Defender series?

    • Leonerd January 3, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      I don’t know the drop rating of this case, but you can find several videos in YouTube of people throwing iPhones to concrete floors from their roofs without killing their devices. Just do a search for “Otterbox Defender iPhone 5″.

  2. Erik January 10, 2013 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    My defender case is awful. It constantly slides north and south within the phone. I have to push up from the bottom to power on the phone. Very disappointed!!

  3. Scott Armstrong January 30, 2013 at 12:51 am - Reply

    I hate the screen protector on my Defender. The case is awesome and no issues with buttons, but the screen protector with watermarks makes it a no go for me. I will be returning mine.

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