OtterBox Defender for iPad Air Review
Remember back to October 22nd when Apple had their iPad Air event? You know when Tim Cook took center stage and once again told us about the latest and greatest iPad and all the cool features it would have! With sleeker bezel and decreased thickness, Apple also packed a lot under the hood with the 64 bit A7 processor and M7 motion coprocessor. At the end of the event naming all the iPad Air’s features and benefits Tim announced November 1st the official release date. So after the announcement those who decided that the iPad Air would be their next tablet purchase most folks start looking around for accessories which the most popular is a protective case that hopefully has a stand built in. Unfortunately those purchasing the iPad Air did not have a lot to choose from. The most notable case manufacture, OtterBox, for the second time did not have their Defender Series ready for launch. Fast forward to December and the wait is over. OtterBox has finally released the Defender Series for the iPad Air and has a nice surprise as well! They now come in 4 colors! Now you can not only protect your tablet investment but individualize it as well! Read on for my complete review of the OtterBox Defender Series Case for the apple iPad Air review right here on Mobility Digest!
Product: OtterBox Defender for Apple iPad Air
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
The OtterBox Defender Series Case for the Apple iPad Air does not differ much from the last version found on the iPad 4. It offers a two part inner polycarbonate hard shell and a very high end synthetic rubber that wraps around it. The Defender does a great job deflecting impact and absorbing shock. OtterBox also adds foam padding now to the back panel to help absorb more shock and prevent movement inside.
And unlike most other cases, the Defender includes a premium screen protector built right into the front polycarbonate shell that will guard your screen against those “scritchies” that drive most people like me nuts.
The last feature of the Defender is the front cover that also acts as a two position stand when removed. It allows you a lower profile for typing as well as more upright position for viewing multimedia like movies.
What’s in the Box?
Inside the plastic box that your new OtterBox Defender Case comes in is just the two piece inner polycarbonate shell with built in screen protector as well as synthetic rubber outer sleeve. After assembling those three pieces OtterBox provides you with a protective front cover that doubles as a two position stand. The only thing left in the box is an instruction tri-fold pamphlet informing the installer the best possible way to install the Defender Case.
Impressions / Review:
The OtterBox Defender has been around a long time. Early versions has some rubber issues where the flaps that cover ports would wear out and get weak causing the synthetic rubber sleeve to bow out away from the inner shell. Today’s Defender has resolved those issues and the OtterBox synthetic rubber is very durable and allows a lot of abuse before wear starts to occur.
I also noticed that assembly and disassembly of the inner two part polycarbonate shell seemed much easier than version past. It took a great deal of patience and finger strength to pry apart the polycarbonate inner shell but on the new version for the iPad Air it seemed much easier to break apart and assemble. Yet when both pieces were put together the clicked into place and stayed secure together. This is actually pretty important for the OCD gadget owner like me that regularly cleans their devices. I also enjoy using my device from time to time “Neckid” as they say and that is without any case and exactly as Apple designed it.
It seems that OtterBox fixed another small problem I had with the last version where the screen protector would cause white backgrounds to have some quality loss and distortion. The new Defender Case for the iPad Air displays vibrant whites and I did not see any visual distortions looking at the screen from various different angles. The screen protector also has a great feel to it and is very responsive.
Last but not least is the front facing cover that also serves as a to position display stand. Nothing here has changed except for being the correct width for the design change in the iPad Air. The stand has the two best viewing and typing angles out of any case I have ever used. Answering emails and typing is perfect in the lower position while viewing movies is excellent in the more upright position. The hinges are very durable as well. I power use my iPad daily as a travel frequently for business and enjoy the smaller tablet experience to using a laptop for social media. After one year of use on my iPad 3 the hinge finally cracked but still was usable with some care. OtterBox offers a 1 year warranty on their products and I could have submitted a few pictures and most likely got it replaced but it still worked fine and like I said I use it daily.
The OtterBox Defender for the iPad Air continues to improve but ever so slightly as they have really worked a lot of the initial kinks out since starting with the iPad first generation. It’s important to note that this version for the iPad Air will not fit any other previous version. The iPad 2-3-4 were all compatible with each other except for the first version which I still know some people that still use it. The Defender just works and does the best job out of any case I have found for protecting m investment and helping be more productive. Being the resident gadget junky on my circle of friends, I had someone ask me if they should buy their little boy an OtterBox to go along with their purchase of an iPad. Of course I heavily recommended it and as i turns out, I saved them buying new device for their forgetful little boy. When leaving in the car one day, he put it down on the trunk for some reason and the parents drove off. It was a few miles down the road when he realized he did not have it and remembered what he had done with it. They drove back to find it in the road in front of their house in perfect working order and nothing cracked. They called and told me about the incident and thanked me for suggesting the Defender to them. It saved them a repair bill for replacing a cracked screen at least if hadn’t been in the Defender.
The Defender comes at a pretty high cost. The price is $89.99 and with sales tax you have just shot $100 on a case. In my opinion it is worth it. I don’t have to worry about dropping it and scratching the outside. In fact my iPad 3 looks exactly like the day I bought it as it never comes out of the case very often. The other cost is the added girth the Defender will add to your device. It’s ironic that Apple works so hard to reduce the size of the iPad ultimately it is lost as we just bury it in a case anyway. The Defender is quite thick and does not appeal to some people.
If you are looking for enhanced usability and the ultimate in protection for you iPad Air, I suggest the OtterBox Defender Series. It’s an investment that won’t let you down.
Click here for OtterBox Defender for iPad Air home page.
+ Ultimate in device protection
+ Screen protector is built right in
+ Two position stand has excellent display angles
– Pricey at $89.99
– No OtterBox Cleaning Cloth
Disclosure: This product was given to us for review by the company for review purposes only, and is not considered by us as payment for the review; I do not, never have, and never will, accept payment from companies to review their products.
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Are there magnets in the cover for sleep/wake functionality? I heard that they didn’t include them this time.