Customer Reviews: OtterBox Defender Series for Samsung Galaxy S III - Retail Packaging - Black
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Size: Samsung Galaxy S III|Color: black|Package Type: Standard Packaging|Change
Price:$42.75+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on September 10, 2012
I just purchased a Galaxy S3, and wanted the cover that offered the best protection for my device. My kids have Otterbox Defenders for their iPhones; my sons is really beat up and literally falling to pieces, but the phone it protects is in excellent shape, without a scratch or mark. I chose this case because my last phone - a Blackberry Bold 9650 - got a deep scratch on the case and the screen the first month I had it, and it drove me crazy for two years. A good Otterbox cover like the Defender would have prevented both.

1. The cover DOES provide a very high degree of drop protection for my device. The hard inner shell has a soft inner cushion that stabilizes the device and increases the shock resistance slghtly.
2. The rubber-like outer covering fits snugly around the inner shell, and dramatically increases shock resistance.
3. The earbud and mini-USB ports at the top and bottom of the phone are covered by flexible 'tabs' that protect the device from dirt/dust/gunk intrusion.
4. The volume rocker and power button are completely encased. It takes just a bit more effort to press the buttons, but it is NOT difficult.
5. The cover comes with a built-in screen protector. It is a rigid plastic that does not adhere to the device screen like soft plastic does. This doesn't seem to affect the touch-screen sensitivity, though. Tip: be really careful to thoroughly clean the inside of the rigid screen protector. Check it before closing to ensure there are no particles adhered to it from static cling - these will leave noticable 'bumps' on your screen, and they COULD scratch the inner face of the screen protector or even your device screen. Have a can of compressed air handy and give both the screen protector and device screen a shot before closing it up.
6. The manufacturer tells you the included belt clip can double as a kick stand that can be adjusted to a variety of viewing angles. This is true, after you lock the clip into the open position. Be careful, though - the 'notch' that holds the clip in the open position is light plastic. It's not very easy to pry the plastic notch up to release the clip, and one could actually break it or the belt clip itself with a little too much force. If the kickstand thing is something you really want, consider purchasing a case with a REAL kick stand.
7. The case is designed to fit into the belt clip with the screen turned in toward your body, but will let the phone be inserted with the screen turned out if you choose.

1. VERY limited color choices; way fewer than the less expensive Commuter series covers.
2. The case is somewhat bulky. You consciously choose the high degree of protection over the ability to slip the device easily and inconspicuously into your pocket with this case.
3. The rubber tabs that cover the top and bottom ports (ear jack on top, mini-usb port on the bottom) are VERY difficult to open. I can predict with a high degree of certainty that they won't make it a year without being ripped off the cover. It's nice that they fit so snugly, but they are recessed so that one must use a tool to pry them out to access the port within. Let your thumbnail grow out a bit and you'll be all set.
4. Once inserted into the shell, the whole thing snaps into the belt clip with an audible 'CLICK'. This snap-in feature makes it just a little difficult to quickly remove the device from the clip to answer a call. Practice your quick-draw with the case in the belt clip.

The Otterbox Defender fits my Samsung Galaxy S3 like a glove. Everything lines up precisely, and, with the port covers closed, it offers an extremely high degree of protection for my device.

I'm not particularly pleased with the available color choices for the Defender series. I have the blue SGS3, and don't understand why I can't simply get a blue cover to match the phone. The closest I could get is the 'Atomic' color scheme - dark blue with neon green highlights. Yay. I don't like how difficult it is to open the ear jack port and mini-usb port covers; I firmly believe these will be torn off in six months or less from struggling to open them each time I want to recharge the phone or use ear buds. Once that occurs this case will allow dirt/gunk to accumulate inside the case on the phone or in the phone jacks it is supposed to protect. This is my biggest dislike of an otherwise excellent cover.

Based on the degree of shock resistance from this cover, the incredibly good fit, and precise alignment of holes and bumps, I give 5 stars. Due to the difficulty in opening the port covers and limited color availability, the cover is dinged 1 star. As long as you understand this cover is BULKY, and are REALLY careful and patient with the port covers you won't be disappointed.

Dean Buzzell
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on August 29, 2012
I have never liked cases much because they are so bulky and honestly, the way I handle my phones I don't need a case. I take very good care of my phones. Since the S3 is such an expensive phone (I paid full price) I decided to get a case. I did a lot of research and decided on either the defender or commuter series. The common complaint with the commuter series is that the back is slick and any time you toss is on something it slides right off. So I went with the defender series. Other reviews claim that it is bulky, I disagree. It adds a little thickness to the phone but really not all that much. It's still much slimmer than other phones out there such as an iphone. Another complaint stated that the glass on the case sat off the glass of the phone. I as well disagree with this. If the case is put on correctly you will have no gap between the case and phone. The case is very difficult to put on if you do not know what you are doing. The directions it comes with suck! On otterbox's website they have a video walking you through how to put it on. Following the video made it super easy and took like 2 minutes. This case retails for $60, honestly this is an amazing deal and a great case.
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on July 29, 2012
Otterbox was slow getting these out to the suppliers but it was worth the wait. I have been carrying my phone around for two weeks worried every moment about dropping the thing. I received the Otterbox Defender case yesterday and couldn't be happier with the product. It fits perfectly and looks great. All of the ports and buttons work well. The touch screen is responsive and clear. I especially love the way it feels in my hand. Before the phone felt thin and fragile, now with the cover on it feels very solid and strong. I am a business traveler and I am also pleased with the belt clip. I will be using the belt clip extensively as go through airports and security lines. I have researched all of the competing phone covers at the big box stores and online, it is pretty clear that Otterbox sets the standard that everybody else tries to live up to.

Update 2014: I still say this case provided great protection from drops. I just got tired of the loose silicone outer shell. I'm sure I was part of the reason the outer shell got so loose since I was frequently taking the phone out of the case to changes batteries. I have since moved on to a UAG case that I am happy with.
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on September 7, 2012
I've used a few different smartphone cases over the past years on several different phones and I've always felt that Otterbox offered the best quality for a reasonable price. When I decided to purchase my Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 I took about 10 seconds to navigate to the Otterbox Defender Series cases. Since I chose the white versioin of the S3 I went with the Glacial look that I felt matched best with the phone.

My first reaction out of the box was, "Really? This quality doesn't seem to be as good as what I had on my Droid X2?" But, I shook it off and proceeded to encase my new phone in protective goodness. Once put together, I beemed with happiness. The case really is designed asthetically well for this phone. I like the raised front so you can put the phone face down while keeping the screen untouched. Personally, I like the slightly stiff buttons and tight porthole covers. They work just fine. It was only the second day in and I had my phone in my shirt pocket climbing a ladder when as I bent over the phone jettisoned out and fell 2 stories to the driveway with a loud CRACK! I hurried down and picked up the phone. Everything was fine and not even a scuff on the case. YES! The Defender strikes again. I gently placed my phone down and went up the ladder to finish the job without it - no need to run tha test again.

In my 2nd week I was getting ready for work and picked up my phone only to notice a scratch on the screen cover a little over an inch long. My 4-year old son got ahold of the phone apparently and one of his toys scratched the cover of the case - but not the phone! Phew. I promptly contacted Otterbox and after a quick pic and an email, my new case is on the way completely free of charge.

The case is well designed and despite my initial misgivings, just as protective as ever. The reaction of the touch screen is great and any diminishing of the screen with the encased front seems negligible to me. As usual a great company that backs their product and easy to work with.

If you want to limit the bulk and are not as concerned with dropping your phone a few stories onto some pavement, the Commuter case may be the choice for you, but either way you can't go wrong with Otterbox and for the best in total protection, the Defender series.
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on October 9, 2012
First off..the case is great. It runs pretty bulky but it is amazingly solid and has kept my phone safe. The problem with it occurred after two months of use. The outer rubber shell has started to... grow? The shell no longer wraps snugly around the inner skeleton. Much more give and the shell will be ready to fall off on it's own. If you plan on using your Galaxy S3 for longer than two month please look at otterbox's other cases or another brand altogether. I wish there was a good return policy.
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on August 18, 2012
Let me preface this review by saying that I've been a loyal Otterbox customer for years, and when I got a new Sansung Galaxy S III phone, I couldn't wait to order a Defender Series Otterbox case. Also let me say that I doubt any other case on the market would protect your phone better.

That being said, I was not satisfied at all and I returned the item for several reasons:

- As others have said, the built-in screen protector is horrendous. Some may be willing to pixelate and dumb down the quality of the amazing HD screen of this phone, but I am certainly not. The screen protector is almost as thick as a credit card and obviously takes away from the screen quality.

- I popped the screen protector out right after seeing what it did to my screen, but unfortunately there was a thick adhesive film remaining on the inner surface perimeter of the case which held the screen protector in place. This film was hard to get off and collected a great deal of dirt, dust, and lint after only 2 days.

- The outer silicone case feels way stickier than other Otterbox cases with silicone. I understand this is the nature of the silicone surface, but for some reason (likely the much larger surface area) this case sticks to my pocket lining and other items way more than I expected. Still, this wouldn't alone have been a dealbreaker.

- The buttons are unexpectedly difficult to press, and when you press them, sometimes the entire case makes a creaking plastic noise similar to if you swiveled around an old plastic computer monitor or something. This noise also happens when you slightly squeeze the case itself. This is quite annoying and frankly the case just feels poorly constructed.

Overall, I definitely don't think this case was worth the $32 I paid for it, and it is absolutely not worth $50, the amount that it currently retails for, unless you plan on seriously abusing your phone. Other cases won't protect the phone as well, but they will protect it enough. There are plenty of other decent cases on Amazon for half the price that would be well worth your money, as you'll likely want to buy a nice screen protector as well.
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on April 15, 2013
I've had this for six months. Love the overall protection and love the builtin screen protector. Unfortunately after six months the rubber material is losing its *tone* and starting to sag/droop. It does not fit around the phone tightly as it did in the beginning. I'm constantly fussing with it now in an attempt to keep the corners tight enough for the thing to keep from peeling off. Not fun! Sorry, OtterBox, for this kind of money your product ought to last more than six months!

May 1st update: after posting this one star review, I went over and complained to the otters themselves. It took a little prodding, but I just received a new Defender replacement from them. We'll see if the problem was just that earlier batch of silicone, or whether there is something inherently wrong with the concept/execution. Stay tuned.
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on November 18, 2012
This case looks great, but the rubber part that goes around the hard housing stretched out within a month. It only stays on right now because of the pieces that go into the USB port and the headphone port. If it weren't for them fitting in tightly, it would fall off.
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on February 22, 2013
First let me disclose that I'm not a competitor of another product. Second I've been a faithful user of OtterBox products.
I've used many other OtterBox products for multiple phones and products. This is the first time I've had any issue. I purchased the Defender series OtterBox from Amazon for my Galaxy S3 from sprint. I had problems with receiving my product from Amazon. I followed the instructions for preparing my phone. I wiped everything down with a static free cloth.
After properly installing the case, I noticed a large oil/water mark on the screen. It was mostly in the middle of the screen and took up approx 1/2 to 3/4 of the screen. It is very unsightly and distracting when using the phone. I figured I must have done something wrong and reapplied the screen protector and case again. I came up with the same results. Nothing that I did would get rid of this mark! It was very disturbing since I payed 30+ dollars for it.
I did a google search for other individuals that may have been having a problem with this product. What I found was very interesting. I wasn't the only one that was having an issue with this case. It also wasn't only the Galaxy S3 that was having a problem. Many Iphone 5 owners were having a problem with the mysterious water mark as well. I contacted OtterBox customer support and told them of my problem. They told me that it's not a design flaw and directed me to a youtube video to fix the watermark. So I purchased an item and expected it to work and I need to perform this fix to use it? Suffice to I was rather confused. Why should I have to put baby powder or another anti-glare protector or wipe my screen with a dryer sheet, on my phone? I again contacted OtterBox customer service and I was given the same response.
I watched the youtube video and performed the requested baby powder fix. It worked for about a week and I again had to apply more powder. During the course of this my plastic covering is now starting to loose its grip from repeated taking off. I've read other comments on the youtube video and have noticed a trend. OtterBox is not taking any responsibility for this "Newton Ring" on the screen protector. They are saying that it's not a design flaw and you need to put baby powder on the screen protector. It's just a little puff that you can't really see on the screen if you do it right. Why should I have to perform this to use this product? Sounds like a design flaw to me.
Now remember when I said that I was a faithful user of OtterBox previous products? My last phone was a HTC Evo 4G from sprint. I had the same case, Defender series, from OtterBox. I never had an issue with the phone nor did I have any "Newton Ring" on the screen protector.
I'm unsure as to why OtterBox won't take some responsibility for this? Don't bother contacting them to replace the case because they won't. They'll tell you that the mark will still be there with a new case. So then it's a known issue and hasn't been fixed.
I wouldn't bother buying this case. Unless you like having to baby powder on your phone.
I probably won't be buying any other OtterBox products if this is the way that they perform business.
Buy at your own risk.
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on August 21, 2012
I bought this for my new Samsung Galaxy SIII (obviously). My daughter had an Otterbox on her iPhone so I was somewhat prepared for the bulk. I use a Vera Bradley Smartphone Wristlet as my purse and the bulk of the Otterbox makes it a rather tight fit, while the cell phone by itself fits easily. However, I feel confident that the Otterbox will protect my phone from my random slinging and dropping (which is pretty standard for me). Also, because I bought the Defender, I am hoping that if it gets splashed (not dunked) the Otterbox will provide some basic level or protection. I like the fact that even the screen is encased in plastic, so I am relatively certain that my phone will be protected from all but the most extreme situations.

The only thing I would like to point out - if you have never had an Otterbox, it takes the phone from a slim quarter inch to more than double that thickness.
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