This is my 3rd Otterbox Defender case (previously I had the first generation iPad and currently have one on my iPhone 4s). I was pleased with the previous two, and, considering that this iPad Mini is for my six year old son, I felt that purchasing a third was a no-brainer. And, now that I have it, I have to say that I'm even more impressed than I was with the previous two. While I loved the Defender on my iPad 1st Gen, I found that it added a lot of bulk and weight. The Mini Defender manages to provide what appears to be the same level of protection, but it does so without adding the same proportional bulk and weight as that in the 1st Gen iPad, IMO (of course it still remains heavier than say, a leather folio).
1) Excellent fit - the case feels like a natural extension of the Mini itself. 2) Buttons work great - with my previous Defender cases, the silicone protection over the home, power and volume buttons felt like big pieces of rubber, and not particularly sturdy. However, the silicone over the buttons on the Mini Defender are so well placed and and designed that it feels like you are using the actual buttons on the Mini without the protection - again, the case feels like an extension of the Mini itself. 3) The silicone backing has a nice, slightly grippy feel, which makes it easy and comfortable to hold on to, especially when gaming. 4) The case cover that doubles as a stand fits very securely over the display screen of the Mini, and adds extra protection for the corners of the device. With the case cover on over the front of the Mini, the surface of the Mini is fully protected if dropped (well, as protected as it can be anyway). I wish all tablet cases would come with a case cover that fully protects the display in case of falls (as opposed to just using a screen protector, which won't do much good if dropped on a non-flat surface). 5) It does also have a built-in screen protector. I'm still trying to decide if I want to keep it, or tear it off and put on my own - it seems a little too glossy for my taste. 6) Both the front and rear cameras are fully visible and unobstructed by the case. 7) The stand (for which the case cover doubles up as) seems much more stable as compared to the previous Defenders I have used.
1) For some reason, this version of the Defender does not have a clear opening to display the Apple logo on the back of the Mini. Perhaps due to the smaller size they were not able to do so without compromising the integrity of the overall case? 2) As someone else mentioned, the speakers at the bottom are not covered at all - they are however protected as they are surrounded by the rim of the case as well as the silicone cover of the Lightning connector. To me this does not really matter but some may prefer that extra-extra protection against dust etc. 3) As of the date of this review, only three colors are available - black, "blushed" (pink) and "crevasse" (gray). Hopefully they'll add more colors soon. 4) It's kinda pricey (at least as of the date of this review). But, IMO well worth it considering that it provides the best overall protection I've been able to find (i.e. front and back of the Mini).
Overall, I'm very pleased. Nothing else I've seen out there will give the same level of overall protection as this, especially if the device is to be used primarily by a child, or if you travel/carry it around a lot.