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  1. Thread AuthorThread Author   #1  
    mooch91's Avatar
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    Default Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    All,

    I'm brand new to the iPhone, just picked up a 5. I've currently got it in a hand-me-down Otterbox Defender case which has been my go-to model of case since I've been using phones. The Defender is nice, but I'd like something waterproof, which is available for the iPhone - hence the reason I'm looking at the Armor and the Preserver.

    I've done some reading here, and most of the comparisons are between one of the two and the Defender, but I couldn't find any that compared the Armor and the Preserver directly.

    Can anyone give me a real-world comparison?

    Things that are important to me: (1) it lives up to its claims of being waterproof, dropproof, dustproof, etc.; (2) sound quality is very good with either the headset or the speaker; and (3) it will be durable.

    Things that are less important to me: size and weight.

    The Armor is available at an attractive price on Amazon right now ($27), but I fear that it's being closed out in favor of the Preserver, probably because of some issues with the case itself.

    Any thoughts or advice?

    Thanks!
  2. #2  
    Rockdog97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    I tried the Armor on my 4s and it sucked. Couldn't hear a darn thing and the case is like carrying a brick around...I returned mine and am using a Lifeproof case instead.

    Check into a lifeproof case for your 5...much better than the Armor.. Not sure what the "preserver" case is though.
  3. #3  

    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    LifeProof. That's all I have to say.
  4. #4  
    jmendel33's Avatar
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    I would agree with a lifeproof fre, ive tried almost every case for my 5 and 5s now i use the armor for work everyday, i work in a steel factory and my iphone is with me everyday, there has nothing that works better keeps out dirt dust and totally waterproof plus i like the hinge design so that i can take it off quickly when i get home from work and put the lifeproof on, i bought a preserver also but to be honest ive used it maybe 3 times, its a lot harder to take on and off and i just dont really care for it, but its totally waterproof dustproof and the whole none yards, both are good cases but i would suggest a fre


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  5. #5  

    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Guess I should have mentioned I use the Nuud
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  6. #6  
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Quote Originally Posted by John Yester View Post
    Guess I should have mentioned I use the Nuud
    I liked the nuud as well but for me in all the otterbox cases and the nuud, sometimes it was a pain to get control center to come up, otherwise i loved it


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  7. #7  

    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    From what I hear, the Preserver is much better than the Armor. Many prefer it over the Lifeproof cases. Y'all do know Otter owns Lifeproof? They're still different though.


    Sent from from my iPhone 5
  8. #8  
    Tpence2177's Avatar
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    I have the lifeproof nuud, fre, and otterbox preserver. Overall the preserver has the best sound of all three and people never complain of not being able to hear me on the preserver. People have complained with the lifeproof cases. I like the thickness of the otterbox. The nuud is my favorite design in the lifeproof but no one could hear me so the fre was the one that I used the most before the preserver. They screen protector got on my nerves. And the otterbox has a screen preserver that doesn't move so it reminds me more of the nuud. It is the best compromise between all of them to me.


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  9. #9  
    zachpenguin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Love the preserver. I bounce between that and the defender. Really is water "proof" and fits nicely. Never had a problem with sound quality or any of that. My only problem is the charging port cover is a pain to get out. I know it's to protect the seal, but damn.
  10. Thread AuthorThread Author   #10  
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Well,

    I bought both a Preserver and an Armor case from Amazon to do a comparison myself. I really want to like the Armor, despite the fact that it's a brick, because it's exactly that - a solid brick. But the general reviews I've read are much more favorable for the Preserver. In some cases, the complaint was the size; in others, the Armor was found to not hold up to its claims of being waterproof, or because of issues with the audio.

    I do too much work in the dirt and in the shop to feel comfortable with the Defender - I need something that can get dirty and also stand to get rinsed at the end of the day to clean off what I've put it through. The Defender I had for my Motorola was getting too much dust behind the screen and was gathering moisture from my pocket behind the protector as well. I was removing it daily to clean it all back out.

    I got the Armor from Amazon for about $26 and the Preserver for $51. Not sure why, but the Preserver was much cheaper for 1 day (normally $89; still sold by Amazon, so I'm feeling confident it's genuine) and I scooped it up. The Armor can be had for cheap any more (saw it at Groupon for $25 as well), and there are many available on ebay for cheaper, so I'm not sure if someone bought up Otterbox stock or if there are a lot of counterfeits out there. Again, I ensured the one I bought was sold by Amazon directly, so I'm feeling confident it will be genuine. Otterbox has said that they are discontinuing the Armor so warranty will probably be an issue.

    I will report back. I'll probably return the one I don't keep.
  11. #11  
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    So after re reading this post i decided to give me preserver another try, i really liked it, but for me the stiffness of the cover on the home button just doesnt make it practical for me for my after work case, nothing will replace my armor for my at work case, nothing gets through that thing, but i think ill still have to stick with the fre for after work,


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  12. #12  
    hydrogen3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Quote Originally Posted by mooch91 View Post
    Well,

    I bought both a Preserver and an Armor case from Amazon to do a comparison myself. I really want to like the Armor, despite the fact that it's a brick, because it's exactly that - a solid brick. But the general reviews I've read are much more favorable for the Preserver. In some cases, the complaint was the size; in others, the Armor was found to not hold up to its claims of being waterproof, or because of issues with the audio.

    I do too much work in the dirt and in the shop to feel comfortable with the Defender - I need something that can get dirty and also stand to get rinsed at the end of the day to clean off what I've put it through. The Defender I had for my Motorola was getting too much dust behind the screen and was gathering moisture from my pocket behind the protector as well. I was removing it daily to clean it all back out.

    I got the Armor from Amazon for about $26 and the Preserver for $51. Not sure why, but the Preserver was much cheaper for 1 day (normally $89; still sold by Amazon, so I'm feeling confident it's genuine) and I scooped it up. The Armor can be had for cheap any more (saw it at Groupon for $25 as well), and there are many available on ebay for cheaper, so I'm not sure if someone bought up Otterbox stock or if there are a lot of counterfeits out there. Again, I ensured the one I bought was sold by Amazon directly, so I'm feeling confident it will be genuine. Otterbox has said that they are discontinuing the Armor so warranty will probably be an issue.

    I will report back. I'll probably return the one I don't keep.
    Any update?
  13. Thread AuthorThread Author   #13  
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    So here's my quick review, I've only had about an hour to play with both cases last night.

    Neither is perfect.

    Otterbox no longer makes the iphone 5 specific Preserver case, it's now a 5/5s combo case in that it has the membrane for the home button/fingerprint reader. I think this is the single biggest con for this case for me - I have a 5 and the membrane covering the home button feels "cheap", like a little piece of flexible tape glued over the button. The positive response like I get with the home button on the Defender case is gone with this one. For those with the 5s and fingerprint reader, this might be the greatest thing, but I think it really cheapens an otherwise good case for the 5. The Preserver has a little more hard plastic and a little less silicone-like material than I would like as well. Some may consider this a feature as it slips in and out of the pocket easier, but I find it a little slipperier to hold. I couldn't get the mute toggle to work with this case, but I didn't try very long (probably needs to be re-seated). Touchscreen was perfect on this and audio was good - about the same volume as naked, but a little tinny/distorted sounding (but nothing I would be concerned about).

    For the Armor case - the cons I see are that there is definitely a bit of an air gap between the screen protector and the phone. Doesn't generally cause an issue (the phone is rock-solid inside), but I can feel the screen protect springing back up at me when I press keys. I was having a little trouble with the upper left corner of the screen (not getting response). Audio is a little more muted with this case, but the audio quality was good (not really tinny or distorted). Very easy to get the phone in and out of this case and the mute switch worked well (wondering how long it will last as it really flexes to switch the underlying switch). This case has a good amount of silicone-like feel, but the shape is a bit odd - it's more of a trapezoid shape from the back to the screen, essentially not completely square at the edges which gives a little off feel in the hands compared to the Defender.

    If I could still find an iphone 5 specific Preserver case, this is probably the one I'd keep. Since I can't, I think I'm going to keep the Armor.

    I'll handle them some more tonight.
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  14. Thread AuthorThread Author   #14  
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Second thoughts... Since I bought both cases for $76 which is overall cheaper than the current $89 price alone for the preserver I might keep both.

    One other observation: both cases will work ONLY with the apple lightning charger and I have an aftermarket one. Looks like I will need to invest in a new plug.


    Sent from my mobile device.
    Last edited by mooch91; 07-16-2014 at 09:13 PM.
  15. #15  
    Xm_jdm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    I have the Armor and it's the ugliest POS. But it works. I also have the Lifeproof Nuud which is basically the same thing as the Preserver. It offers almost the same protection as the Armor. It looks better too. The Armor is good for heavy drops and such.
  16. #16  
    Xm_jdm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Oh and you can also get the Armor on Groupon for like 14 bucks with free shipping AT&T was offloading Armors for 5 bucks, seriously, 5 bucks. That's where I got mine. I would be really pissed if I had paid full price for one. Most places are in fact getting rid of the Armor for dirt cheap with the iPhone 6 around the corner. Also Lifeproof Nuud and Preserver kind of made the Armor obsolete.
  17. Thread AuthorThread Author   #17  
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Spent some more time with the Armor this week...

    I really wanted to like this case. But I've found three pretty big issues with it:
    • Sound is quite muted.
    • Touch screen response is poor because there is an air gap between the iphone and protector.
    • The absolute only lightning connector that will work with the case is the original USB connector


    The last item was the final nail in the coffin for this case - I just bought an Apple genuine 30-pin to lightning adapter cable to connect to my cars, among other devices, and it wouldn't fit. It's just a little bigger in diameter than the Apple genuine USB cable.

    So today I switched to the Preserver. I'm struggling with this membrane thing. It feels cheap, it's got a sharp edge on it, and I'm not sure it's going to last. I'll use this for a few days and make some judgments.

    Screen so far is more responsive, audio seems a little better (will need some time to judge), and the new adapter cable I bought does work (although the Preserver's cut-out still won't work with most non-OEM lightning cables).

    Anyone with an iphone 5 version (black, without the membrane) of the Preserver case that would be interested in trading for the 5s version with the membrane?
  18. Thread AuthorThread Author   #18  
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Welp, used the Preserver for a day and I think both cases are going to be returned.

    I got the mute switch to work - it takes much more effort than the mute switch on the Armor. And it seems to return to "ring" rather easily.

    Screen protector is much improved over the Armor. Feels just like my Defender - no loss of response whatsoever.

    The sound quality is not good with the Preserver. While the Armor was a bit quieter (lower volume), voice, music, and ringtones were still clear. The Preserver gets very buzzy - can hear it in voice as well as the ringtones. Almost painful to listen to.

    And the home button is the cheapest feeling and looking part about the case. It's got a sharp edge where the soft membrane seals to the plastic screen protector. And that membrane seal is not transparent - it must stick irregularly to the screen below.

    I think if I could find an iPhone 5-specific Preserver (with the hard button as opposed to the home button membrane) I'd probably consider keeping the Preserver. But in the absence of that, I think I will return to my Defender. It has all of the abuse protection minus the waterproof feature so I should be able to make it work.

    As an aside, looked at the Lifeproofs and things I don't really care for about them: For the nuud, don't like the design that makes part of the phone visible. For both, I think they will suffer from the things I don't like about the Preserver - the fact that they are universal for the 5/5s and have the fingerprint functionality. Plus I don't really care for the screw-in headphone adapter.

    If anyone knows where you can still buy an iPhone 5-specific Preserver, please let me know.

    Thanks!
  19. #19  
    iLive an iLife's Avatar
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Does anyone know if the preserver cases are sold in-store somewhere?


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  20. #20  
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    No clue. Sorry.


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  21. #21  
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    I have been a Defender user for about 6 years (I think that's how long I've had my iphones). It's been hands down the best phone case EVER. I have had so much confidence in my Defender I used to throw my phone down a hallway to show how great it was. And yet, no one at work would buy one because they didn't like how bulky it was. I saw many cracked screens and phone replacements...I decided I needed a waterproof case and stumbled across the Armor. I've used it for nearly 2 years now and have had the front piece replaced once through warranty (the o'ring no longer fit in the headphone port). I've replaced over pieces over the years using Otterbox warranty replacement, and they've never asked a single question other than to send a photo with the date to show the problem. They have fantastic customer service!

    The Armor isn't as great as the Defender...mainly because the hinges do unlatch if the phone hits a surface hard enough. I think they qualify these with a 6 foot drop, I've seen them thrown at 15 feet. I watched nearly every Youtube video there was showing the outcome of dropping the Armor at high heights before I purchased one. I do have issues with the screen response when trying to type. I've gotten used to it over time, but nothing is as good as a naked screen I have spent time in the pool and the shower with my phone--people do need answers in the most inconvenient times. It does what it's supposed to do--keep out dust, debris and water. The sound is terrible, but I rarely use the phone's speaker--I use bluetooth headphones or a bluetooth speaker.

    I will say this--I have also had a Lifeproof Fre case and absolutely HATED it. It felt so cheap. I would not be confident with it if I were to drop my phone (which I do frequently). I couldn't hear at all when using it to talk on the phone so I just stuck with Bluetooth. I may try the Preserver...the price has me discouraged, perhaps they might drop in price as the cases get older. I plan on purchasing the Iphone6 Plus soon and will need to be all new cases once again! It's a never ending cycle, isn't it?
  22. Thread AuthorThread Author   #22  
    mooch91's Avatar
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    Thanks for all the replies. I now have all 3 cases - defender, armor, and iphone 5 specific preserver (with hard button, found it on amazon). I've been using the preserver for months and like it. Best balance of all of the features and protection I need. And no fingerprint membrane.


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  23. #23  
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    Default Re: Otterbox Armor or Preserver, need real world experience

    I'm a big otterbox fan and I'd love a preserver case over my life proof nuud

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