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Protection - with a few caveats
on February 26, 2013
===REVIEW EDIT/UPDATE HISTORY===
2/26/13 - Watermark Fix
4/08/13 - Quality Issues Update
6/20/13 - Review Organization Update
Updates to this review can be found at the very end. I intend to update my review regularly in an effort to help others make the best decision.
===DESIGN & FUNCTION===
After opening the packaging, to my surprise, the Otterbox felt a lot cheaper and lighter then I expected. In fact, I was rather disappointed with the seemingly cheap material.
However, after I installed my iPod, the case felt much better, and not quite so flimsy. The silicon felt nice to touch and fortunately was not a lint/dust magnet. The plastic looked much better when the case was fully applied as well.
The case feels very durable and true to the Otterbox slogan, it very much "inspires confidence."
The design is also nice, although those who love the iTouch's thin design may disgree with me. I feel that it adds some welcome bulk to the iTouch, making it feel much more like an iPhone 5. The added bulk gives a sense of strength and durability, and I definitely feel like the case can fully protect my iPod when dropped or crushed.
Even better, the Otterbox covers up the Apple Loop button on the back of the iPod touch, something most cases don't offer. I don't have much use for the loop, and it's annoying to me how everyone who sees it wants to give it a press. Now since it's covered up nicely.
I chose the Coal version, and coupled with my black iTouch, makes it seem like a stealth plane. Love it.
===WORD OF CAUTION:===
Always install in a dust-free room!
After I installed mine, I noticed dust and lint particles trapped under the screen protector. These particles are really annoying. I ended up removing the case several times to clean it. Which brings me to my next point... it is extremely difficult to remove the case. It took me near a solid 5-8 minutes struggling to remove the case with the iPod in it. The silicon can be easily removed, but the hard plastic shell underneath with the safety locks is very hard to pry open. The safety clips make it quite a struggle to remove the case, which is also a good thing, as you know the case is built very well and will definitely protect your iPod when the case makes impact with the ground. However, this does prevent a hassle when you actually want to remove the case to, say, clean the iPod.
If you ever need to remove the case, I'd recommend you be careful and do it over something soft, like a couch or bed, so the iPod doesn't fly out and make a suicide jump towards the ground.
===THE "WATERMARK" (PROBLEMS/CONS)===
You may also experience the infamous watermark (rainbow-effect issue), like I did. A lot of people don't actually know this term, so I'll explain it here.
Watermarking is not actually moisture or water in the case, but is actually light refracted as it passes through the transparent built-in screen protector. The result is a rainbow "blob" that looks unsightly on the screen. The effect can be seen whether the screen is on or off and is especially noticeable when the screen is off or white. I already have a TechArmor screen protector on my iPod in an attempt to mitigate the watermark effect, but to no avail. Those who are very picky with screen quality and those who are OCD may be very annoyed with this issue.
However, I've found a fix. All you need to do is spray the built in screen protector with some eye glasses cleaning solution and wipe it down with an oil-free (meaning it must be clean) microfiber cloth. Then immediately apply the screen protector and the problem should resolve itself. You can also try washing the screen protector with soap and water, which I've found to also work.
The Otterbox is still one of the best choices for ultimate protection of your device. It is unmatched in this regard, even when compared to the Griffin Survivor case or cheaper knockoffs (such as the ones made by i-Blason).
However, the Otterbox does suffer from a few minor ergonomic issues and that troublesome watermark, which may make some think twice before purchasing this case. I however, would definitely recommend this case to you, especially if you love to keep your electronics in pristine shape.
After less than 2 months of living with the Otterbox, I am generally pleased with its performance. I have dropped my iPod several times on hard floors, and my iPod suffered not even a scratch. In fact, my iPod looks exactly like when I first opened it.
However, I do have a few complaints.
First off, the silicon coverings over the Power On/Off and volume buttons can be easily "scratched." The black silicon coverings are now full of white marks from my nails pushing down on them from everyday use. Before I go any further, I'd like to note the reason I've grown to use my nails to push down on the buttons is because the Otterbox button coverings are quite thick and don't sit directly against the iPod's buttons, and simply pushing them down with your finger often doesn't register a response. In case you're put off by the thick coverings, I'm going to add that it feels quite normal, and you definitely will barely notice it. Now I'm just a normal guy with generally clean, clipped nails, and I don't do anything ridiculous with the buttons, just press them normally as anyone else would. Thus, I'm a little disappointed to see signs of wear on the button coverings already.
Secondly, I've come to realize that despite being advertised as "dust-proof," the Defender is actually quite prone to dust if you are in a high-dust area. If you're in a dusty environment, gunk may easily drift through the small openings in the partially covered headphone jack and lightning connector ports, and it will slowly build up behind the screen protector. You will eventually get to the point when a cleaning is necessary. You can easily mitigate this by simply popping out the built-in screen protector and add something like an InvisibileShield to the iPod itself. I've seen a few reviewers here that have already done this, though I haven't done it yet - not sure if it is necessary for me.
I still firmly believe I made a good decision in buying this case. While it may not have showstopper looks, it protects my iTouch akin to a suit of armor, and at the end of the day, that's what a case is for.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a comment. I'll be happy to help if you have any questions.