Customer Review

804 of 864 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding protection with definite drawbacks - UPDATED, September 24, 2012
This review is from: OtterBox Defender Series Case for iPhone 5 (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Not for iPhone 5C) Retail Packaging - Black (Wireless Phone Accessory)
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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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 17, 2012 10:23:39 AM PDT
LT says:
can u take off the belt clip?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2012 11:38:20 AM PDT
Yes! I've actually never found a use for the belt clip.

Posted on Oct 17, 2012 2:42:44 PM PDT
Mx says:
yeah L jacks don't fit

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 9:28:06 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 9, 2012 9:28:25 PM PST]

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 10:19:39 AM PST
C. D. Bailey says:
Have you had any trouble with your phone constantly being switched to vibrate? When it already is on vibrate? Im trying to decide if the case is causing this or if there is a glitch in my phone. It will randomly vibe and show the bell with the line through it

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 1:36:05 PM PST
I haven't experienced had any issues like this...judging from the flap I'm having a hard time imagining it is somehow toggling your vibrate switch. Maybe it's time to get it checked out?

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 5:17:56 AM PST
Dava Snider says:
If you are a man ... What are you doing wearing "skinny jeans"???

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 3:46:39 PM PST
Slim/skinny jeans look better with tailored shirts, my man.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 1:58:11 PM PST
Worldwyn says:
I have been using a Defender case on an iPhone 4 for about 18 months. From the Otter Box website the case for the 5 looks the same. I always use the belt clip for easy access to the phone. The belt clip is a separate item into which the phone securely locks. I place the phone touch-screen inward (it will go in either way) with the top of the phone forward. This position protects the touch-screen and orients the phone for immediate use upon removal from the belt clip. I couldn't be happier with the Defender case. A bit bulky, but worth it.

Posted on Jan 2, 2013 4:56:23 PM PST
Garbageman says:
Hey Gabriel, I too have this for my iphone 5 and agree completely with your review. It's by far the sturdiest case out there to date. I was wondering if you've found a 3.5mm jack that works with this case yet? I've searched everywhere I could think of, even emailed the company asking them if they made one or knew of any that fits their own product but have not recieved a reply back. I dont want to remove this case just to play music at my home with my surround speakers but I miss playing my music at home with it. In the car isn't an issue since I use the bluetooth. I'm searching high and low looking for a skinny 3.5mm jack that will fit. Let me know if you have found one yet. Thanks, Bill K
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