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805 of 865 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2012
Review Update (5/28)

I recently switched to another case after over 7 months of hard use. Three reasons: 1) aesthetics, 2) the headphone jack, and 3)the screen protector. I've left my original review intact after the break.

Summary: While this case is no longer the best protection available for the iPhone 5, it's a great value as a solid no-frills case. This case is still compelling at its new price point despite how long its been on the market. See my original review below for more detail.

Additional Thoughts: The headphone jack issue and screen protector feel ultimately had me searching for a new case. Many of the newer cases, including some from Otter Box, are much more feature-rich and offer even better protection than this case at higher price points.

Updated Aesthetics: The utilitarian look and feel of the case turns out to have at least one major benefit: you can beat this case up without guilt. I had several major drops and bumps with this case. The result? Zero damage to the iPhone and negligible visible damage to the Otter Box rubber bumper. My newer case, while nicer to look at, doesn't tolerate wear and tear nearly as well.

===

Original Review (9/24)

Summary: If you're looking for the best protection for your iPhone 5 right now, this is the case you're looking for. The fit on the iPhone 5 is superb, and the peace of mind it will bring you is worth the cost of entry if protection is the utmost priority. The case makes some compromises to afford you that protection, which could be a dealbreaker if you're not totally onboard with a bulkier case. I'll detail those below.

Installation: Installation is a breeze if you've ever used an OtterBox case before (I hadn't). The best way to start is to open up the tab on the upper left corner by the volume controls, then pull the silicone bumper off the case with your fingertips. Things are easy from that point on.

Durability: Rock solid. I field tested this in NYC over the weekend, and the case acquitted itself very well. Wasn't at all worried about it, and minor bumps and the usual commuter jostling while trekking around the city were no match for this case. I haven't dropped it yet, but would be willing to bet the phone that it will survive the usual momentarily clumsiness onto city sidewalks.

Bulk/Aesthetics: These are the biggest--and related--points of contention. Much has been said about this, so I'll say this plainly: if you don't like the pictures of this case, nothing about seeing this in person will change your mind. From a usability standpoint, if you're a male wearing slim or skinny jeans, the front pocket is out of the question. Back pockets work surprisingly well, and retrieving the phone quickly is slower but still doable. If you're a female and wear skinny jeans, you'll need to carry this in your purse for sure. You'll also need to make room accordingly.

Feel: Somewhat subjective, but important enough to warrant mentioning. The screen protector that comes with the front panel of the hardshell interior doesn't quite sit flush the screen. As a result, the case takes off some of the "snappiness" of the UI. This is most noticeable when you lightly swipe the screen, since it sometimes doesn't register. Additionally, you can actually feel the screen depress slightly while working with the phone. This is less annoying than when I first noticed it, but it's still an issue I'm struggling with personally.

Headphone jack: The headphone jack is troubling, and this is where the bulk of the case works against it. Earbuds with square, 90 degree jacks (or even straight jacks that are bulkier than usual) will NOT fit on this case. The bulk of the case means that a 3.5mm that isn't straight and slim won't sit flush with the jack. This also applies for the auxiliary cables to connect to your car's entertainment system. (For reference, I'm using the Monster aux cables, which are slightly larger at the 3.5mm end.)

Lightning cover: I thought the cover for this was well done. The lightning connector sits well protected by a cover that integrates nicely with the case.

Recap/Bottom Line: This case is worth the 4 stars for the sheer amount of abuse it can withstand. The tradeoffs to usability and aesthetics are understandable, but noteworthy. If you've read this far and are still on the fence, you should probably weigh this case against a slimmer case with a separate screen protector.
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726 of 793 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon September 20, 2012
I got my iPhone 5 today (through carrier sources) though it's yet to be activated and the first thing I did naturally was put the Otterbox Defender case on it. I had the Defender for my 3GS and it protected my phone all these years. Didn't have the iPhone 4/4S so I can't compare it to that. Quick impressions so far:

PROTECTION - Protection wise, the iPhone 5 Defender is at par with the 3GS. Industrial grade protection with complete coverage. Same concept and overall design, though the silicone feels slightly thicker and more solid in the 5. The silicone has a matte finish compared to the smooth finish in the 3GS, which hopefully should help avoid dust and lint - this was the only drawback with the 3GS case, it needed cleaning frequently.

BUTTONS/PORTS - Power and volume buttons are covered with silicone shaped like the buttons themselves. No problem pressing either of these buttons with the silicone. The headphone jack, charging port, and silent button have silicone plugs that can be pulled out to expose the jacks. (TIP - to open the plugs, insert nail and push the top silicone part higher to get behind the plug to pull it out. Hope this makes sense. The headphone plug is tiny and it can take some time getting used to opening it). The charging port plug, when opened, keeps snapping back into the case, which means it has to be held open with one hand to insert the charger. Insignificant issue, and I'm hoping that with use, this piece will loosen up a bit so that it stays open if needed. Opening at the back for the Apple logo is covered with a transparent plastic film. The front camera/speaker, the back camera/flash, and the two speakers at the bottom are left open and are the only exposed parts of the phone.

SCREEN COVERAGE - Clear plastic film on the screen integrated into the case, the touchscreen experience is as good with the film as it is without the case. The transparent film creates a tiny layer of air or moisture between itself and the screen, which can create watermarks on the screen. This was an issue with the 3GS as well. (TIP - I had read several forums for my 3GS that recommended applying baby powder before installing this case, but I personally didn't find that to be a lasting solution. Applying an Anti-Glare film to the phone's screen before installing the case was the best solution. I am still waiting for my Anti-Glare film to come in, but I installed a spare I had for my 3GS just to see if that solved the issue with the 5, and it did).

HOLSTER - The silicone is kept intact with two plastic tabs on the side. This really helps keep the silicone in shape and prevents it from stretching or loosening over time. These tabs also work as the locking mechanism for the holster. The case can be inserted facing in or out in the holster, a fine improvement by Otterbox. Most such holsters I have seen only allow face-in orientation (3GS allowed only face-in which I found annoying when going for a run). This holster has a fully rotating belt clip so that it can be attached vertically or horizontally on the belt. No chance of the case falling out, nice secure fit. The holster is much better and ergonomically designed than the 3GS version. It is easier to access the phone with this design.

Here are a few details that I would have liked to see improved/addressed:

- Front and back camera openings - the two openings are huge! The front camera/speaker/light sensor opening is one big opening. For the 3GS version (3GS only has speaker on the front, no camera) and from what I have seen for the 4S, the cases had a precision opening which provided better overall coverage. For the back, the opening is approximately 30-40% bigger than it should be for the camera and flash. It would have been nice to have more precise openings on both places for even better protection.

- Headphone jack plug - this perhaps has more to do with the placement of the headphone jack itself, but the case opening is really small and it's not very smooth to open the silicone plug. For the 3GS, the silicone plug went around the headphone jack to the back, which made opening it a breeze. They could have used the same design for the 5 as well. With the current design, it takes time opening the headphone plug. It's entirely possible it is just something that takes getting used to, or that the silicone will loosen over time making it easier to open.

- The iPhone 5 is a super sleek, light, and slick looking device. Putting the Defender case makes it bulky (more than doubles the thickness). Now this is a pro in that it offers super-protection which I cannot live without. The downside is that it takes away the aesthetic beauty of the iPhone.

I bought this in black when that was the only color available. Now it seems there are a lot more choices. Wish I had waited for the Glacier (just a personal preference)!

Other than these minor issues, I am overall very happy with this case and I hope to use it for several years to come, just I did with my 3GS Defender. Yes, it's slightly expensive, but it's also peace of mind.

UPDATE 10-12-12

The watermark issue seems to be persistent with this case and nothing seems to permanently help in this regard. The anti-glare film bridges the gap somewhat but only for a few days. The screen in the case lifts right back up after a few days and creates the watermark issue all over again making it difficult to use the screen. I am sending this back to get a different case. Yes, I want to protect my iPhone which is why I was willing to put up with the bulk of this case, but I can't give up functionality.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2012
First impressions are that this case is the best iPhone case i have ever owned hands down. I previously owned an iPhone 4 and had a variety of cases on it such as a Gryffin one with a fabric back, apple bumper and a speck candyshell grip. This case is very slim and feels very nice in the hand, it also has an adequate lip around the edge of the phone which is great for laying it face down.
I definitely think this lip is perfectly sized any bigger and it would make the case to thick, the other review says it should be bigger but i completely disagree. The lip is about 2mm which is great as it doesn't get in the way at all. With mine it is definitely a snug fit with no movement at all even when squeezing it. Also a good feature is it doesn't cover any of the screen as some cases come over the edge and would be trouble for any screen protector, this case will have no problem with any full sized screen protector.
The buttons all feel very responsive with no extra effort at all. One last great feature of this case are the cutouts. I measured the headphone cutout at approximately 7mm so double the size of the 3.5mm headphone jack which is large enough for most headphones. The charging post also has a large cutout as well as the ring/silent switch is easily accessible without needing to get your nail in there.
The only thing that i'm not really sure about with these speck cases are the speaker/microphone cutouts which are many little holes which don't seem to match up with all of the speaker holes on the phone. This doesn't seem to be a problem though as the speaker is still just as loud with the case on.
Overall this is a very good case for the money and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a long lasting case that is slim with a cool design.
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344 of 391 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2012
I have owned and used an Otterbox case for my iPhone 4 and my iPad 2 and now, finally, for my iPhone 5.

These cases are great and offer a lot of protection. With that being said, you have to anticipate this case making your phone a little bit bulkier. I personally tend to love the added "bulk" that this case adds to my phone because I have very large hands and long fingers. This case gives my phone the extra bulk needed to allow me to grip it and text without letting my hands get fatigued or painful.

As with all of their other products, this case is extremely well-made and fits the phone perfectly. If you've never owned an Otterbox before then perhaps you should check out some pictures before deciding if this case is right for you. If you've ever owned an Otterbox... Then you know exactly how great these things are.

Here's a funny side story:

I once left my iPhone 4 (inside of its Otterbox, of course) on the of the roof of my car after the gym and drove away. While going 50 m.p.h I heard a huge "thud" on the side of my door and had no clue as to what it was. Long story short, I realized that my phone had basically fallen off of the roof, slammed into my door and hit the pavement and was completely fine. The case and the phone didn't even have a dent.
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2012
I have had 2 Pixel HD cases for my prior iPhone 4 and loved them for the fit and raised edge that allowed me to place my phone face down on a table. Just got my Pixel HD for my new iPhone 5 and it just does not fit the same:

1. The depth is about a business card thickness too much inside causing the corners to wiggle a little.
2. The lip edge is much smaller with a lower profile and barely prevents the face glass from making contact with a flat surface when placing the phone face down.

This would have been a great IF Speck had used about an extra 1 mm of TPU all around and 1-2 mm more of a raised lip edge. It seems very rushed to market.

Unfortunately, this case is being returned and I cannot recommend this new model for the iPhone 5.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2013
its not same as an picture, in left side there is no same sheathe button. am vary disappointed!!! plastics is cheap. and its other cheap product no same as an picture!!!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2014
I like this case a lot and am still using it. however, i do have a few issues with it. I am not the type of person who needs a heavy duty case for my phone, so this suits me ok, but it is definitely not very protective.
Pro: you can see your beautiful iphone and it is very slim and sleek. looks great.
con: it is so slippery that I end up dropping my phone more often than before! which worries me because it is not very protective in the first place.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2013
This case is amazing. I love it . It's kinda hard to take it off but it's defiantly something Nice for your phone :)
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2013
I bought this case for my mom. She loves how realistic it looks and she can't wait to prank people with it. She says it looks like the case is actually wet. It's a nice sturdy case although it wouldn't hold up so well after a couple of falls, so be weary my friends. It's one of those cases you get just for looks and show not for protection against damage.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2015
Having a hard time believing this is an authentic Otterbox. The cutout for the area where you put your ear is cut unevenly. The imprint says made in China, and not made in Mexico like all the other Defender cases I have had. The outer rubber piece is next to impossible to get on. I should have seen the grammar and spelling mistakes in the item description.
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