Defender full review

There are many cases appearing for Apple’s iPhone, but none more resilient than those offered by Otterbox, a company famous for its ultra-rugged phone, iPod, and PDA cases.

Otterbox offers two cases for the iPhone, both with suitably macho names: Armor and Defender.

The Armor is the pricier of the two. It’s like strapping your iPhone into a Challenger tank. Hard impact-absorbing grey rubber and plastic surround the phone. It bumps up the bulk of your iPhone considerably – indeed the Armor weighs fractionally less (128g) than the iPhone itself (135g).

Otterbox claims that its Armor case is waterproof, dust-proof, sand-proof, drop-proof, and dirt-proof. It feels like it might be bunker-buster-bomb proof, too.

A thin membrane that remains fully functional through the case protects the screen. All the buttons and slots (except the dock connector) are available.

The external phone jack maintains the microphone and click button functionality of the Apple headphones or is usable with any headphones with a standard mini stereo plug (3.5mm) – so it doesn’t require a special adaptor as many do with an uncased iPhone. Unusually, the Armor doesn’t come with a belt clip.

Unlike the Armor case, the OtterBox Defender is more sleek and only semi-rugged. But like the bomb-proof Armor it provides complete user interaction with the iPhone’s volume controls, camera, and touch-screen functions, and additionally includes access to the dock connector. The Silence switch is not accessible through the case, though.

Its protection is built up in three layers: the iPhone sits in a hard plastic case, which is then covered in a silicone jacket for better grip and drop protection. A further hard plastic holster includes a robust if rather bulky swivel belt clip.

The Defender is water-resistant but not fully waterproof, so protects against light rain and spray but not a dunk in the ocean.

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