Written By: Rachel Amico
To everyone who has dropped their phones from towering heights, rocked a spider-webby shattered screen, or lost their gadgets to the pool or toiled bowl – there is another way! With Otterbox brand cases, gadgets are protected from the elements – and from our own human clumsiness.
The Otterbox Defender is made with three layers: a clear membrane, a hard plastic shell, and a silicone “skin”. The clear membrane is a thin plastic material attached to the shell that covers the screen, visible apple logo, and camera lens – protecting them from scratches. This hard shell covers the majority of the phone – leaving the headphone jack, USB port, volume controls, speakers, lock control, and home button exposed. But unlike other phone cases, which leave these features completely unprotected, the third Otterbox layer – the silicone skin – fits like a puzzle piece into these spaces. Despite being completely covered by this “skin”, the buttons are still fully functional (though you may need to press them slightly harder).
The headphone jack, lock control, and USB port are similarly covered by the “skin”, but the silicone is detached on three edges – the fourth edge essentially acting as the hinge of a door. These “doors” allow protection from dust, glitter, dirt – or whatever else you can imagine – while still allowing for easy access to the phone’s major applications. There are a few color options (Pink, White, Black, Black/Yellow, Pink/Black, and Green/Yellow), and the case comes with a belt clip for easy access.
From owning one myself – I can tell you this case is truly a tank. I’ve dropped my phone from my car onto asphalt and concrete, I’ve dropped it from my bed, down the stairs, and out of my pocket just about everywhere – and still, my phone is in perfect condition. If you are clumsy like I am, or have kids that love to toss your stuff around, you can rest easy. The case also works extremely well for outdoorsy people, protecting electronics from the elements.
But when I say the case is a tank – I mean it. The typically slim-and-sleek iPhone is much bulkier with the case on, and fitting it into the pocket of your skinny jeans can sometimes be impossible. The silicone skin also creates a lot of friction with most fabrics, and pulling it out of my coat pocket often pulls the pocket inside-out. For me, the inconveniences of the size and texture are worth it – because the Otterbox Defender truly provides superior protection against my clumsiness.
The thin plastic layer is another slight product flaw, sometimes making a strange “water-mark” on the screen (caused by an air bubble) while seriously decreasing touch sensitivity. I was able to pry mine off relatively easily, and since the screen sits about a centimeter deeper than the rest of the case, it’s still relatively protected without the covering.
But these issues really become annoying when you consider the cost of the product. The Defender costs $49.95, and though I’m a die-hard fan, the fact that one of the three layers (essentially one third of the product) was so ineffective I literally had to pry it from the case – isn’t so cost efficient.
The Defender is only compatible with the iPhone 3G and 3Gs, but Otterbox manufactures several different cases offering different levels of protection (and pricing) for various Apple products (the iPhone family, and the iTouch), other cell brands (like Blackberry, LG and HTC), e-readers, and tablets. While the Defender isn’t waterproof, Otterbox does manufacture several waterproof casings – for those who frequent the pool, the beach, or any sort of aquatic locations.
If the Defender isn’t right for you, I would still recommend checking out the Otterbox website. I’m sure you can find the right case – at the right price – for any of your gadgets, and Otterbox protection is unparalleled.