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Thursday, March 28, 2013

[Review] OtterBox Defender Case for the iPhone 5


It seems like I am finally getting off my ass and writing more these days, first things I have to do is get these OtterBox reviews out of the way. If you read the previous sentence again, you will notice that I said OtterBox reviews. As in more than one. That's because I posted one on AndroidDoes for the Samsung Galaxy S III. So my review of the OtterBox Defender for the Samsung Galaxy S III is on AndroidDoes and I actually have an extra one to give away. So head on over and enter!  Now on to the good stuff.


It is not a huge secret that I've gone over to the Apple side of things now. I've got an 2010 iMac, a 3rd Gen iPad and now an iPhone 5. Can't say much bad about Android, but I really like the way Apple handles things inside the walled garden and say what you want about Apple their hardware is really sleek and sexy and for the iPad and the iPhone, I've chosen to go with OtterBox cases to protect them.

The Lightning Port and Headphone jack 
My house has to be the absolute worst case when it comes to technology. I have a toddler. Not only do toddlers drool and chew on any and everything, they have no concept of value nor think twice about using your technology to do things that they were never intended to be. Let me give you a "for instance:" A 3rd gen iPad has a drop dead gorgeous screen, an marvelous battery and a whole range of apps that can take a raging toddler and keep him quiet for a long time, you know, like 45 minutes. This wonder of modern technology can show you things from the farthest reaches of space to the very bones that make up your body, however it was never intended to be a place mat or a $500 board that your toddler uses while practicing his best impersonation of Sammy Davis Jr. in your living room.




The sometimes PITA Mute switch tab
The engineers at Apple might think they've thought of everything concerning their products, they've never predicted that an iPad might be used like a Frisbee or an iPhone would be used as a discipline stick on the kitten. While the real-life use cases of these devices might deviate from the sleek hipster skinny jeans that the engineers might have designed the iPhone 5, the guys and gals at OtterBox have you covered, filling in the gaps that the Apple engineers might not build for, but all parents know: kids break stuff, and the more expensive the better.

I'm sexy and I know it.
Oh LOOK! I've wasted 4 paragraphs of words and the SEO stopped looking for keywords a long time ago, oh well. The OtterBox for the iPhone 5 is a sure-fire way to extend not only the life of the device, you also the resell value when you decide that you need to sell the iPhone 5 to offset the cost of the next My Precious you want to buy. Spend the money upfront: I'll even provide a nice link to click and save yourself some heartache later on.

The silicone cover removed from the polycarbonate shell
If you take the time to read about my Galaxy S III in the other article, you might see that the S III was supposed to be able to take a beating because of the Gorilla Glass and plastic housing of the phone. While iPhone 4 and 4S's were shattering and smashing their way through the news, Samsung decided to go the opposite direction, and make a plastic phone. Long story short, I went without a case and in a 6 months, my phone looked like it had been through a war. The plastic back of the phone was covered in millions of tiny micro scratches that looked horrible. Then the phone took an innocent fall off my bedside table onto carpet that shattered the screen. Bummer. This is the only phone I've ever not used an OtterBox with, and I paid for it. Even at full retail, the OtterBox is $50, the insurance replacement was $99. The math doesn't add up. Buy the OtterBox.

The OtterBox Defender is really a great case, and I'm not just saying that to be nice. The security that I feel while my phone is in the case is reassuring. There's a lot of money tied up in the phone, and while I have Apple Care + on it if I need it, it's better to avoid a claim in the first place if at all possible. Ounce of prevention and all that.

Volume and mute switch
The protection comes from having three layers between the phone and world. There is a memory foam layer that ensures that your phone won't get scratched from the OtterBox itself. Then there is a polycarbonate shell. Then the silicone cover goes over everything. The cutouts for the camera and flash on the back are huge. This allows the camera and such to work with no obstructions. The case comes in a ton of colors, and if you click through the Amazon.com ad embedded in this review you can see all of the options available. The OtterBox Defender protects against dust, drops and debris, however it doesn't protect against liquid damage. However, if you have all of the ports closed up on the case, you will see that you should be protected against most splashes. If it wasn't for the openings on the bottom of the phone, you might even get away with a quick splash in the toilet. (Yeah I went there. Don't shake your head you know someone that's dropped a phone into a toilet.)

All of the ports, from the headphone and lightning port are sealed up tight when closed. They can be a bit of a pain to open, even after having the case for a bit under a month, the tabs over the ports can be a hassle to open. I have no nails to speak of, can I am disadvantaged to maybe someone that grows a little bit of nail to pry with. The mute switch on the left side of the iPhone 5 can be a little bit of a pain to get to, mostly because I don't use it all that much. In fact, I've slid that switch through the case trying to get the damned tab to come open. It's a pain, but not a big one, my biggest gripe about the case is the screen protector.

The screen protector is bult in to the inner polycarbonate case, and it does its job very well. The crud that I wipe off that protector sometimes makes me very glad that I've got some protection on the phone, preventing scratches. However, sometimes the screen protector does this strange thing where it interferes with the touch with the iPhone. I can't always get it to happen, and it's random, but when it happens it's annoying as hell. Some people tear the screen protector off OtterBoxes as soon as they get them. My wife did that with her OtterBox too, but I don't want to risk scratching the screen, nor getting junk under the case in between the phone and the case.
After a month of use, it still looks new. 

I don't want you to think that the OtterBox Defender is a POS, in fact that's the extent of my complaints about the case itself. It comes with a holster that you can position on your belt. However, you don't look cool with a phone on your belt. Just saying. However, you can have the screen facing in or out, and the holster doubles as a stand. I've never used it though, it's sitting in a drawer somewhere, but it's nice to know it is there if I need it.

Use the ad that I've got in the post to browse the OtterBox selection at Amazon. You'll get the best price for the OtterBox (I paid $50 minus my corporate discount at Verizon.) The cases on Amazon are less than $30 and there are a ton of different colors to choose from. Get one, stop worrying about dropping and damaging your device. OtterBox FTW!