There is a case for that: The OtterBox Defender for iPhone 3G/3G S Review

Oh the joy of acquiring a new iPhone – it’s shiny, sexy, has tons of apps and full of user interface goodness until the unthinkable happens:

GearDiary_cracked iPhone Case

It is that precise moment with joy turns into sorrow, followed by denial, anger, rage, resentment, depression and reality that $99, $199, or $299 just left your bank account.

There is a case for those moments when the law of gravitational pull yanks the shiniest gadget (the iPhone) out of one’s hands. I am talking about the OtterBox Defender case for the iPhone.

GearDiary_OtterBox Defender for iPhone review

Previously reviewed here at GearDiary by both Larry and myself (1st gen), I wanted to take another look at the reality-based world we live in when danger lurks with our new iPhone 3GS model. I found myself turning into one of those data hungry, bandwidth hogging power users constantly using the speed upgrade on the new model. With all of the app goodness like Twitter, FaceBook, GMail, Google, GPSAssassins and ahem, GearDiary, my bone structure in my left hand was forming a cradle like grip.

The OtterBox Defender has a durable, smooth silicone rubber covering that repels sweaty hand moisture, and engineered with precise molding where the polycarbonate encases the iPhone 3GS without any movement. There is a separate case available for the first generation iPhone.

The OtterBox is comprised of three parts: There is the hard plastic belt cradle / holster, the silicone skin, and the case itself with a screen protector glued in.

GearDiary_OtterBox_iPhone_case_3 parts

The case snaps together at three different points – sides and top with little tabs at the bottom. Most snap cases break apart once they hit the ground, or when the little enclosure tabs wear down and the case becomes ineffective.

GearDiary_OtterBox_iPhone_snap case

The key is the tight silicone jacket that fits like spandex pants over all the little nooks and crannies (no pun intended – TMI).

GearDiary_OtterBox_iPhone_silicone skin

With the smooth finish, the OtterBox slips easy with no friction in my dress slack’s front pockets. A cradle clamps on the belt, or jean fabric. My only dislike is the holster holds the Defender case by two notches, one on either side anchored by the holder at the bottom. I tend to knock it off the phone away from the two notches, so for my active hip and hand combo movements, I do not use the holster.


The clear membrane covers the touch screen. When the phone is off, there is an obvious “water puddle” look where the membrane is making contact with the glass screen. Once the screen is activated, it is not noticeable. Every week or so, I just disassemble the case, and remove the static cling off the screen. I was please to find out how effective the OtterBox was in keeping out dust.


Most cases will require removal to charge the iPhone. Keep in mind that the old or most third party iPhone chargers will not fit the open charging slot that molded into the case.


You will have to use the slimmer iPhone charger that comes standard with the 3GS model; I have seen some newer chargers than meet the new specs.

The OtterBox Defender for the iPhone works as advertised. As I said before in an earlier review: “…it is stylish, covers all of the open ports with precise stoppers, and is slim and reasonably priced for the protection that it offers.” Highly recommended!

GearDiary_cracked iPhone screen 2

Before the unthinkable happens, get a OtterBox Defender for your iPhone. iPhones as durable as they are, can take a licking and keep on ticking; but why chance it?

MSRP: $49.95

The OtterBox / Apple iPhone Defender Series is available from OtterBox in four color combos – Black, Black/Yellow, Pink and White. 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: A more secure clamping mechanism to keep the iPhone from being knocked out of the cradle.

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About the Author

Gear Diary Staff
Gear Diary was founded on September 30, 2006, with the goal to create a website that would not easily be labeled. Everyone who is part of Gear Diary is a professional who uses technology in their work and daily lives. On this site, we share our enthusiasm while exploring the gear we use — the equipment that makes our lives easier, more entertaining, more productive, and more manageable. Our hope is that Gear Diary visitors find this site to be a welcoming, friendly, and accessible place to learn about and discuss interesting topics — and not only those that are tech-related! Gear Diary is a place to discover and explore all kinds of new gear, including smartphones, computers, kitchen gadgets, Toys, EDC, camping gear, or even your next new car! You can follow us on Twitter @GearDiarySite.

1 Comment on "There is a case for that: The OtterBox Defender for iPhone 3G/3G S Review"

  1. RT @GearDiarySite: There is a case for that: The OtterBox Defender for iPhone 3G/3G S Review My review – Hi Lisa 🙂

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