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Otterbox Defender For iPhone- A Hands On Review

Updated on April 22, 2012

There are a lot of cell phone cases on the market. They range from thin "skins" that provide a small amount of protection, to heavy duty cases. The Otterbox Defender definitely falls into the latter category. It offers two layers of protection, a hard plastic case and an outer rubber layer. Although I am usually careful with my phone, I wanted to make sure that my iPhone was well protected.

I've used the Otterbox Defender case for about two years and I decided to write a quick review with what I like about it and what I dislike. These are my personal experiences with the Otterbox Defender case. If you're considering buying the case for your iPhone, no matter what model, hopefully I can help you make an informed decision.

Otterbox case
Otterbox case | Source
Otterbox parts
Otterbox parts | Source
Otterbox Plastic case
Otterbox Plastic case | Source
Otterbox rubber case
Otterbox rubber case | Source
Otterbox belt clip
Otterbox belt clip | Source
Otterbox belt clip case
Otterbox belt clip case | Source

How It's Made

As I mentioned above, the Defender case consists of two main parts. The first part of the case you install is the hard plastic case. You can tell by the shape that it wouldn't be very useful by itself. The nice thing about the plastic case, is it includes a built in screen protector. The screen protector is thick enough to keep your screen from getting scratched, but thin enough to still allow the touch screen to function normally.

Once the plastic portion of the case is installed, there is a rubber case that goes over it. This provides some extra traction so that the phone doesn't slide around. I also think the rubber is a little more forgiving when it comes to impact compared to a plastic case.

The defender also comes with a belt clip case. The defender case clips into the belt clip. The belt clip itself can be locked into the open position so that you can stand the iPhone up on a table to watch movies.

What I Like About The Defender Case

First off, the Otterbox Defender is probably the sturdiest iPhone case that I have ever seen. Between the hard plastic and the rubber part of the case, you can't really protect your iPhone any more than this. I try to be careful with my phone, but I've still dropped it several times. I've even dropped it a couple times onto the sidewalk. The Defender Case has a few scratches in the exposed plastic, but there is not damage to the phone itself.

Along with the great impact protection, the Otterbox case covers most of the phone, including rubber guards over the charging port and volume controls. It isn't quite waterproof, but it is very resistant to splashes and other exposure to water. I've dropped the phone in the snow and although the outside of the case got wet, the inside did not.

I don't use the belt clip case very often, but I'm glad it came with one. Sometimes the iPhone is a little to big to keep in your pocket. The belt clip gives you another option for holding onto the phone. (Some people prefer to keep their phone on their belt. If that's you, this case would be great for you.)

What I Don't Like About The Defender Case

Although I really like my Defender case, there are a couple drawbacks. These are the main two disadvantages of the case:

The first is the size. The iPhone is already a larger phone than some. The Otterbox Defender case definitely adds to the size of the phone. How much this matters to you will depend on how you hold or carry the phone. I typically carry my phone in a cargo pocket, so the size doesn't matter too much. The problem arises when I am not wearing pants with a cargo pocket and I try to keep the phone in a front pocket. The case is not very comfortable in that pocket. This is when the belt case comes in handy.

My next complaint is the way the screen of the phone and the screen protector fit together. Although I like having the screen protector in place, it often leaves a "water mark" between the two. Although this doesn't affect the way the phone or case works, it is definitely annoying. There are some fixes to make it go away, but they are typically temporary.

How To Remove The "Watermark"

How To Install An Otterbox Case

Is This Case Worth Buying?

Overall I really like this case. I would recommend it to a friend and I will consider getting another Defender case if (or more likely when) I upgrade to a newer version of the iPhone. Hopefully this has helped you decide whether or not the Otterbox Defender case is worth buying.

Do you have any questions about the case? What is your favorite phone case and why? Let me know in the comment section below.


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    • Adventure Colorad profile image

      Adventure Colorad 5 years ago from Denver,CO

      I haven't seen that specific problem. Make sure that the plastic surface is clean and there is nothing in the way of the pieces fitting together. If you still can't get it to fit, give Otterbox a call and see if they can help or if they'll replace it for you.

    • profile image

      demetre 5 years ago

      So I have the Otterbox Defender for my iPhone 4S, and I was wondering if anyone can help me fix my problem! So where the two hard plastic shells fit together on the bottom of the back of the phone, they don’t quite fit and fully click together, and it makes the top corners squeaky and not secured properly. Has anyone else had this problem? Please help me!

    • Adventure Colorad profile image

      Adventure Colorad 5 years ago from Denver,CO

      It's a great case, just don't drop it off of the canoe! I also like the new layout.

    • Outbound Dan profile image

      Dan Human 5 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

      Great review on this case and cool to see the new tech layout. I may pick up an otterbox for my wife's iPhone for our next canoe trip. Thanks!