Case Review: Otterbox Defender for iPhone4
I’ve been a big supporter of Otterbox for over a year now. I had one on my 3GS (& still do.) And it has “saved my life” on multiple occasions. When Best Buy received them today, I immediately grabbed one off the shelf and bought it. Looking at it, I realized it added some great features, but it also seemed to retrograde other features.
Some of the cool “added feature” via the Otterbox website:
- Coating on outside of touch screen membrane resists finger prints
- Fine interior texturing of touch screen membrane eliminates static, bubbles and “oil slick” appearance
- Inner felt liner cushions your device
- Textured silicone exterior for improved grip
- Included holster holds device face in or face out
- Completely re-designed holster for stronger hold on device
- Holster doubles as a stand for hands-free media viewing
- Case accommodates most 3rd party chargers
While these feature are great, I feel that this version of the Otterbox has retrograded compared to the defender case for the iPhone 3G & 3GS.
One of my favorite things about the Otterbox defender 3GS case, is the fact that it literally seals in the iPhone into the case and helps prevent liquid damage (I’ve dropped it in a puddle, spilled diet coke on it, etc.) The only place it isn’t sealed off – is at the speakers. However, there are foam rings around the ports to prevent debris from getting into the inside of the case.
On the new iPhone4 case, this isn’t the case, actually far from it. Is still has the plastic screen protector & the Apple-logo plastic protector. However above the screen protector, are 3 holes for the speaker, the sensors, & the front-facing camera. The sensors & the camera have plastic protectors covering them, but the speaker is not? I don’t understand this at all. Why even have the covers on the nearby sensors?
On the iPhone 3GS case, it has a type of tough paper over it that allows sound to get though, but keeps splashes from getting in. It’d make sense if they added the foam ring around it, but there’s nothing.
Looking at the bottom of the case, you can see where the speakers go, but on this case, they do not have foam rings around them. To make things worse, when removing the Sync/power port cover, you”ll notice that this is one large hole in the bottom of the case. I believe they did this in order to allow for 3rd party adapters to fit, but to me, this is a big “no no” in protecting my iPhone4
On the back of the iPhone4, both the holes in the case for the light & the camera do not have protective plastic covers. I can understand this for the light as it could cause a reflection back into the lens of the camera, but the camera? Come on! Every camera I have has some sort of protective lens on it.
Lastly, but not least, on the top of the case, where the headphone jack is, there is a silicone plug, but it has a hole it WTH? Seriously? WHY EVEN PUT A RUBBER PLUG HERE?!? I realize the hole is for the noise canceling feature on the iPhone4. I really feel like I’d be funneling dirt & debris into the inside of the case. I mean, I could just pop open the silicon plug to use that feature if I wanted to…
One of the reasons I initially got the Otterbox was because I wanted to keep from splashing water in the headphone jack (I used to use a trimmed down foam ear plug), but now it seems they have somewhat done away with it, this is super frustrating to me!
On the inside of the case, namely the back side, it is lined in a felt-like fabric to help protect the back of your iPhone4 from being scratched (honestly I recommend adding a ZAGG protector to all the sides of your iPhone, except the screen (mainly because I don’t like the feel of it on my screen when it’s not in it’s birthday suite.) kingofheart4711 pointed out that his iPhone4 did not fit in the case with it on - it peeled off, so maybe this isn't a good idea. Actually this makes everything worse... I can't seal in my iPhone, nor can I protect it thoroughly.
The holster has greatly improved in this model (thank God for something improving…) Also they redesigned it so that you can natively have the case in the horizontal position, unlike the 3GS case, which sits natively in the vertically position. Also it seems that it has a really good grip on the iPhone4 whether it is facing inwards (my preference) or outwards.
Just like in the other iPhone cases, the holster can also act as a stand, just much better so in the horizontal position (much sturdier on it’s side in this version)
Some people might remember when the iPhone 3GS Otterbox case first came out, it created a bubble/oil-like look on the screen unless you added an anti-glare screen protector to your iPhone, well this seems to have been taken care of in this version. (Yay!)
I had heard that the case was “sleeker & lightweight” compared to its predecessor. This is true, but I think they have greatly sacrificed some of the protection for the weight on the case. The silicone sleeve is dramatically thinner around the ports, however around the rest of the case it is the same as before. The thicker port covers were nice as the sealed easily even if they were partly pushed in. On this new case, the silicon is much thinner and quite hard to push into the ports for a good seal.
Overall the feel of the silicone sleeve has been textured for better grip. I really like this. It’s not too much that it sticks to the inside of your pants pocket, but it feels good in your hand and gives me a little more confidence that I won’t accidentally chunk it across the room.
Even with all of these issues, I’m still slightly confident that this case can protect the iPhone4 from the occasional drop, for the clumsy, people that have need for the protection – film sets, construction sites,fire fighters, etc, this still seems to be the best case for you. I just hope they make another “more protective” case. Mind you I paid less than the retail cost (which is $49.95) for this case & I’m bummed about it. That’s not good. Not good at all.
I remember checking their site a few months ago to see if they were going to have a case for the iPhone4 and a “Coming Soon” note stated something like ‘Great cases take time to design & create’- this is true. I just wish they had taken longer… I would have expected these features on the commuter case series, but the defender? Not at all, I’m not impressed. I literally looked back at the packaging to make sure I didn’t pick up the wrong case in my haste. I’m rather bummed about this case. I could be proven wrong. I guess time will tell.
Last edited by msbaylor; 08-13-2010 at 08:16 PM.
- 08-13-2010, 03:05 PM #2
I got mine yesterday. I agree with your review. One more thing to add to it btw. In your review you recommend adding a Zagg invisible skin WELL! It was so tight inside the otterbox that mine DIDNT fit! The first layer is a very hard plastic so there was no room for it to "give way" and kept peeling my Zagg off when I tried to insert my iphone so I ended up having to remove the entire skin just to get my iPhone to fit in the case. VERY big no no. I think im going to end up selling this case as I am not too impressed. The protection is good as far as scratches, drops, etc. but the look of it, the bulk, and the fact that you have to ditch your $20 zagg to fit the DAMN thing!!!........not worth it.
I also paid less ($40 shipped) not much a small discount but not bad. Anyways, I really loved the commuter series oon my Blackberry 9700 so I think im gonna check it out for the iP4 when it comes around.
Last edited by kingofheart4711; 08-13-2010 at 03:07 PM.
- 08-13-2010, 03:32 PM #3
Just got mine from Best Buy today as well. I waited and didn't order so I could try and return if necessary. I do love the built in screen protector but overall I am 98% sure I will return this. I won a Case-Mate Tough Case and really like it better.
- 08-13-2010, 08:19 PM #5
- 08-16-2010, 09:37 PM #6iPhone Nanite
- 3 Posts
Defender Case Doing Fine
Had an Otterbox Defender on my 3GS and was very, very happy with it. Just got the new model for the Iphone4 and am just as happy.
It is a bit bulky but less so than the Iphone 3GS model.
As far as the criticism by some others by its lesser water protection on the new model, the older one also leaked like a sieve if submerged. I do not intend to expose the new one to water hazards. When I go kayaking the phone is in a waterproof bag.
The Defender case is a delight.
- 08-17-2010, 09:18 PM #7
I still ove my OBD for my 3G!! I am a little disappointed in that the Camera and Speakers/Mic are not covered like the 3G version. I understand about the flash though. that would not be good to have a flash covered. Even though I like the Speaker/Mic being covered, it does seem to "soften" the ring loudness of the phone. IMO. My 3G is hard to hear ring. It is not a big deal for me because I use a BT earpeice about 95% of the time.
I love Otterbox products. I may or may not get the Defender when I upgrade. I will at least get the Commuter, but I will probably end up with the Defender when I upgrade.
- 08-19-2010, 08:44 AM #8
I just posted in another thread that I got my case yesterday and this thing attracts dirt (the textured backing holds it in too) and shows my fingerprints (on the rubber itself). I have dry skin and now I see how dry they are as it's all over my Defender case!
I like the phone is protected and I love the screen protector but this dirt thing is driving me nuts!
- 08-19-2010, 09:03 AM #9
- 08-19-2010, 09:54 AM #10iPhone Newbie
- 35 Posts
My silicone skin doesn't seal tightly on all four corners... it's a little loose around the power button corner. I've already put on a replacement cover from Otter Box and it's the same. The case works for protection against drops. I'm not a fan of the flap covering the dock connector. Sometimes it's hard to open it without fingernails. I don't like the belt clip because the rotating clip is centered instead of near the top like the 3G/3GS Defender. It makes it hang weird. Plus I never mistakenly unclipped my 3G, but I have pressed the release tab by mistake on several occasions. All in all, I like the case. It's easier to use the touchscreen near the edges on the iPhone 4 Defender than it was on the 3G/3GS Defender.
- 09-20-2010, 12:10 PM #11iPhone Beginner
- 72 Posts
I actually first bought the Commuter case and didnt really like it at all, the skin was way loose around the top of the phone.....so I returned that and now got the Defender and this case is WAY better, definitely worth the extra $15 compared to the Commuters price. Ive read so many posts about different cases and it just looks like no matter what case I see people ranting about, they always seem to find a problem with it...includng myself LOL.
- 09-25-2010, 11:03 PM #12
- 09-25-2010, 11:29 PM #13iPhone Newbie
- 38 Posts
Another Defender Fan
Things, including your truly, were being tossed about the cabin of the boat in swells up to nine feet every 4 seconds. It was then that I thought I maybe should have the new iPhone in a decent protective case for these situations. The best? Otterbox Defender.
I find it to be the kind of overkill I like. It makes the sleek, thin Beverly Hills model iPhone into a mammoth, rugged, thick comms device. Protection all around, sticky silicone and hard ABS plastic. It really protects, like a hi-tech football helmet. GRRRRR!!! It snaps into its belt holster authoritatively, like a magazine into a 1911. Bam! Red Team Go! Blue Team Go! I like belt holsters a lot of the time.
Today I took it out of the case to clean it all up after a rainy day at the beach. Not to worry. The phone sighed in relief, like a warrior unbuckling armor. It again made me smile with how thin and svelte it is.
It must be an Amazon.
Last edited by Exechobo; 09-25-2010 at 11:36 PM. Reason: to Subscribe
- 10-01-2010, 03:44 PM #14
Hmm...I have a red OtterBox defender and I love it. It is just the right size and texture, and I truly feel like the phone is very well protected while in it. I like the texture of this one a LOT better than what was offered for the 3G and 3GS.
- 12-21-2010, 12:34 AM #15
- 01-04-2011, 06:05 PM #16iPhone Newbie
- 10 Posts
I very recently upgraded from my old Blackberry to an iPhone 4 and bought the Otterbox Defender. I think it's a great case overall, but I found two things somewhat disappointing: first, it's not compatible with charging docks - at least none that I've found and, secondly (a very minor issue) it's startling just how much the case obscures the elegance of the phone itself. That said, it's a worthwhile trade-off for peace of mind.
BTW - as to the charging dock issue, I got around that by using a cable. Not as attractive, but (like my Otterbox) functional.
- 01-16-2011, 09:22 AM #17
- 01-21-2011, 10:55 AM #18
- 10-29-2011, 12:39 AM #19
I am using itouch 4g skin covers for my iphone because it’s made of silicon plus thermoplastic which made it tough for not getting scratch. It’s so soft while looking at it but it’s very useful my iphone fall down twice till but it saved me and when people look at the skin cover they totally fall in love with it.