By land or sea: The OtterBox Apple iPhone Defender case REVIEW

The Apple iPhone is one amazing device. Yes, some naysayers will hem and haw about the lack of features, but on the flip side, 1.4 million people love the iPhone dearly. Of those 1.4 million humans who own the iPhone, they fall in three lifestyle categories: aquatic (water), terrestrial (land), or amphibious (water and land). If you’re in a cubicle, that’s can be considered a sub lifestyle / human category. Anyway, the folks at OtterBox cater to the aquatic and amphibious lifestyles with their unique line of rugged cases from iPods to laptops and specialty cases.

Brand new is the OtterBox for the Apple iPhone. There are two models – the Defender (which we will review) and the iPhone Armor™ Series which is a “..fully rugged line of interactive cases safeguards from rain, dust, dirt, drops and other mishaps.”


The Defender is featured as a…“… slim, sleek, semi-rugged case [that] provides complete user interaction with your iPhone’s volume controls, camera, and touch-screen functions. It’s water-resistant design protects your iPhone from the outdoor elements. This case is not fully water-proof, but will protect against light rain and precipitation.”

If you’re out and about in the elements, or like singing in the rain with your iPhone, then the Defender Series might be the extra measure of protection that you been looking for when an regular case won’t do.

Lets take a look at the advertised features.

The OtterBox accommodates both 4 GB and 8 GB Apple iPhones. There is a separate iPod touch version available; I tried, but it won’t fit.

There are eight simple steps to encasing your iPhone with the enclosed 4 color instruction sheet.


Also available online is a demo video of how the case works.

There are basically three parts to the OtterBox. The belt case, the silicone skin, and the case itself that has defined OtterBox’s reputation as manufacturer of rugged, industrial strength cases.


The inner casing comes apart at three snap points in two halves. They are located at the top and the two sides as shown.



There is a protective film covering the touch-screen membrane.


Simply place the iPhone into the lid, and then snap together the plastic lid and the base.


The silicone skin then slips over the hard casing.

The iPhone touch interface is completely protected.


All of the finger movements are easily recognized through a patented touch-screen membrane by OtterBox.


I like the port side window opening on the back side that neatly frames the Apple logo! Notice the smaller hole for the camera; both are covered.

As seen here, there are three layers of protection, including covers for the headphone jack, speakers and dock connector.


The external silicone jacket has a smooth surface. Even without a pebble grain on the sides, there is still a good grip along with the drop protection.


The sync/charge, headphone jack (with a silicone stopper), volume controls, sleep/wake, home buttons and the proximity sensor are all accessible and fully functional through case. There is not a need to press hard for the controls to be responsive. However, the Silence switch is not usable through the case.

As for phone conversations, the reception and clarity of spoken conversation is fine.

I really like the wide 1 1/2 inch swivel belt clip that clicks in place. The OtterBox doesn’t sway on your belt and can be easily adjusted as it clicks at whatever angle you choose.

Even if you don’t need protection from light precipitation for your iPhone, spilled coke and coffee will muck up your device quickly and even make you say *choice* wordy durbs. Also the membrane will keep face grease and makeup away from the glass front. Using a microfiber cloth (not included) easily cleans the membrane skin.

I’ve fallen in love with the OtterBox for the iPhone. It’s stylish, covers all of the open ports, is slim and reasonably priced for the protection that it offers. For active outdoor lifestyles, it’s the perfect case. For messy folks who have a propensity for spilling liquids, there is no better case for your iPhone than the OtterBox. Highly recommended!

Check out the other related items for OtterBox previously mentioned at GearDiary; and reviews of a Treo case review, another Treo case, and a laptop case.

MSRP: $49.95

The OtterBox / Apple iPhone Defender Series is available from OtterBox in two color combos – Black/Black and Black/Yellow. There is also an armband available.

What I Like: The triple layer of protection, including the built in membrane. Clickable belt clip, and covers for the jack and sync openings.

What Needs Improvement: None.

3 Responses to “By land or sea: The OtterBox Apple iPhone Defender case REVIEW”

Wayne Schulz
Jan 13th, 2008 at 6:25 am
I’m using an Agent 18 and find that for cradling the iPhone that I have to remove it from the case   – I’m guessing that’s the same situation with the OtterBox.

Both my Bose SoundDock and stock iPhone charging base are just a little too narrow.

Judie Lipsett
Jan 14th, 2008 at 12:06 am
I think this case looks amazing!

By land or sea: The OtterBox Apple iPhone Defender case REVIEW by Iphone glass
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