Top critical review
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Good Protection, Disappointing Quality
on August 6, 2013
Let me start by saying that if I had written a review on this case in the first month or so after purchase, I probably would have given it 5 stars. I'm glad I waited though, because after 9 months with this case, it just has not lived up to my expectations. I wouldn't say that I hate it. Nor would I hold back from buying other Otterbox products in the future. But I am disappointed for a few reasons I will get to in a minute. First the good: I bought this case to protect my iPad, and in that area alone, I give this case 5 stars. I hand my iPad off to my 3 and 5 year old on a daily basis, and occasionally even my 1 year old. Though they are reasonably careful with it, they are still kids, and it has endured its share of bumps and drops with no damage. At the time I purchased this case I was also considering the Griffin Survivor. I actually bought one of those as well and compared it side by side. The reason I ultimately chose the Otterbox was that it was superior in day-to-day usability. I didn't have to pry open any tabs to expose the speaker or the camera, which for me meant that this case was as usable in the office as it was out. The rigid shell/stand was also a big plus when carrying in my travel bag as it completely protected the screen. Now onto the bad. The most common complaint I see with this case is about the screen protector. It's certainly a valid concern. The screen protector does cause some distortion, and initially I wasn't so crazy about covering up the iPad's beautiful Retina display, but I honestly didn't notice that much after a couple days. I won't say that the protector doesn't affect the display at all, but to me it wasn't a huge deal. I've even read many books on my iPad in the past few months and the screen protector didn't bother me one bit, even when looking through it for extended periods of time. I also see people talk quite a bit about how hard the buttons are to push with this case on. That is also a valid point. Compared to the Griffin, operating the buttons with the Otterbox at first took a herculean effort, but they do relax eventually. Either that or my fingers have gotten freakishly strong. But like I said, my kids use my iPad all the time. If a 3 year old can push the buttons, any adult should be able to manage. The main complaint that I personally have with this product is just a general lack of build quality for a case in this price range. After about 9 months, the silicone sleeve is seriously sacked out. It will no longer stay tight around the corners, especially on the side by the headphone jack which makes attaching the outer shell difficult. Separating the silicone from the plastic shell, something that was originally frustratingly difficult, now only takes a slight brush of my finger in some places. And just to be clear, I have removed the silicone cover maybe 3 times - once when I first opened and disassembled the case, once when I replaced my iPad 3 with an iPad 4, and maybe one other time to clear out some dust that found its way under the screen protector. At some point I'm sure the cover will start to rip and that will just be the end of it. Contrast this experience with the Griffin Survivor I originally compared. It has a similar design in that it consists of a rigid plastic shell surrounded by a silicone/rubber cover. I actually gave that case to my brother who purchased an iPad around the same time. I looked at it the other day when he stopped by the house and was jealous. Rather than relaxing to the point of falling off, the cover on the Griffin seemed to have become almost "seasoned" through use. It felt better in my hands than when it was first installed and seemed to have almost molded itself to fit its plastic interior more closely. This will probably be the last Otterbox I buy for an iPad until they significantly alter the design. Very disappointed.
TL;DR - Good protection but disappointing build quality for the price. Should have gone with the Griffin.