Mobility Digest Review: OtterBox Defender Case for the iPhone 5
September 21st arrived and many people lined up to get their preorders or take a chance on getting the new Apple iPhone 5. I was among two other people at Best Buy who had preorders and give appointment times before store opening to pick mine up. With the buy back program I paid for I got $280 dollars for my 16gb iPhone 4S as well as a $50 dollar gift certificate so I was pumped to get a 32gb iPhone 5. What I was not sure of is what cases would be available at launch. To my surprise, there were several choices and two of them were OtterBox. Displayed with several other brands was the OtterBox Defender Series as well as the Commuter Series, both in black only. So I decided to with the massive amount of travel I had planned, I better go with the Defender. I like traveling with the peace of mind that if an accident happened, I would be protected. The OtterBox Defender Series, which I have reviewed multiple times in the past had always done very well in my reviews:
Mobility Digest Review: OtterBox Defender Series Case for iPhone 4
Mobility Digest Review: OtterBox Defender for iPhone 4S
Mobility Digest Review: OtterBox Defender Series with REALTREE CAMO for iPhone 4 and 4S
The new OtterBox Defender Series is yet another progression in refinement and quality that I thought I would share with you in another Mobility Digest Review, so check out my full review below.
The packaging has changed some and instead of the cardboard box we have a clear plastic box with a metal peg hook loop on top. On the outside of the package, there is a sticker that I thought was interesting because it said for the new iPhone and not the iPhone 5. So Apple clearly did not divulged all of it’s secrets to OtterBox like what they were going to call it because OtterBox went the safe route and called it the new iPhone instead of the announced iPhone 5.
Inside the package you will find four pieces to the OtterBox Defender. First is the always included Defender Series Holster that allows you to carry your iPhone 5 on your belt or lock the clip out and use the holster as stand to view media in landscape mode. The actual case comes in three pieces. From left to right n the picture below, there is a silicone outer sleeve, the back poly carbonate panel, and last the front polycarbonate panel that also includes a built in screen protector. Assembly is as always dropping your iPhone 5 into the bottom of the front panel first, then putting the back panel on and clicking all the tabs shut. The Defender Case for the iPhone 5 has a better securing clip than in versions past and it is very difficult to pry them apart. Not only are the raised tabs difficult to pry free, there are four corner clips that do not have tabs that need to be separated as well. It is an incredibly secure fit but very difficult to learn to remove. Once the inner polycarbonate shell is put together, then you insert it into the silicone sleeve from the bottom first taking care not to damage the home button tab that we first saw used on the iPad Defender Series Case. I am not a huge fan of this and wish they would have used the same method used on the former Defender Case for the iPhone 4/4S. The new silicone compound used in the sleeve is even more stiff than last updated compound used on the 4/4S. It is actually difficult to wrap around the top of the case and once fitted, the sleeve is very tight and forms a perfect fit. As you will see in the photos below, OtterBox has taken great care to provide a case that is much stronger than ever before and is precision fitted to your iPhone 5.
The left side of the iPhone 5 is the volume mute on and off switch that OtterBox uses a silicone tab to cover up. A fingernail is required to remove it and access the switch to put the iPhone 5 into mute or silent mode. The bottom of the device has two more tabs that cover the audio 3.5mm jack relocated to the bottom by Apple, as well as the charging/sync port that Apple now calls Lightning. The port on the bottom is now an 8 pin connector instead of the 30 pin used in the past. so it is much smaller than before. The new Apple design has allowed OtterBox to reduce the size of the tab necessary to cover it and keep it free from dirt. In the past, I have seen many OtterBox Defender Cases wear out in this area and rip the cover off. This new design appears to be stronger and should last longer than the predecessor.
Once assembled as I stated before, the OtterBox Defender seems smaller on the device than ever before and does not seem as bulky in your hand. It slides in and out of your pocket easily unlike the first silicone grades they used that seemed to grab at your pants fabric. The front has a large opening at the top to allow for the proximity sensor and the front facing camera to operate without shrouding from the case. The real likewise has a large opening so the camera is not shrouded as well as the flash.
The OtterBox Defender Series Case for the iPhone 5 is an excellent option for anyone who considers themselves “rough” on devices. It offers a high degree of protection and will allow your device to survive those accidental drops that would otherwise be the end of a device. My whole family uses Defender Cases and I can assure you I have seen them drop their iPhones on cement that should have cracked the screen but yet survive unscathed.
I also thought the new silicone compound is another step forward fro OtterBox. not only does it seem much more durable and offer the owner more life before the rubber starts to rip with age, it is smoother and not as difficult to insert or remove from a front pocket.
My only complaint would be how hard it is to remove the case to clean or just remember how thin the new iPhone 5 really is. Assembly is pretty easy and straight forward, the only issue is stretching the top silicone sleeve over the polycarbonate shell. Once assembled, the fitment is perfect and precise.
The OtterBox Defender Series case is priced at $49.95 and is available at many retails stores near you or online at OtterBox.com. There are also many colors to choose from including several new versions:
- Black (reviewed)
- Punked (Admiral Blue / Glow Green)
- Bolt (Lava Orange / Slate Grey)
- Glacier (White / Gunmetal Grey)
- Night Sky (Ocean Blue / Night Blue)
- Blush (Stone Grey / Peony Pink)
- Boom (Pop Purple / Violet Purple)
- Reflection (Aqua Blue / Mineral Blue)* Web Exclusive
There is also the Real Tree Camo Series to choose from:
- AP Pink
- AP Blazed
- Max 4HD Blazed
So head on over to OtterBox and check out which color you like and grab you one for yourself and rest easy knowing your device is well protected!
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About The Author
Fascinated with technology, saltwater aquariums and black holes. Handy with power tools or sarcasm and is an avid Clash of Clans addict.
First thing my wife said to me after she pre-ordered her iPhone 5 was that she has to find a Otterbox or some other good case for it. I just shook my head and chuckled. She just plopped down $200 and has no intention of letting the device see the light of day uncovered. Guess Apple knows that the phone has to be light as a feather because the added weight of the case is going to be compensated for.