To Otter or Not to Otter
Most people have heard about an Otterbox. It’s probably one of the most popular brands in cell phone cases in general, and certainly for iPhone cases. I thought I should write a little review primarily about some of the misconceptions about the Otterbox Defender series as well as an overview about the case.
First, let’s deal with some of the myths about Otterboxes:
1) The Warranty. Many people have heard that if your phone is in an Otterbox and it breaks, that Otterbox will replace your phone. That is, quite frankly, a big fat hunk of poo. No company would expose themselves to several hundreds of dollars of liability simply on a person’s “word” that it was in an Otterbox. Otterbox specifically says on their website that they do not warrantee the electronic devices (think: your iPhone) that are in their case. They warrantee their cases for ONE YEAR (NOT lifetime!!) against any faults. However, if it breaks because you drive over it with a tractor, technically they don’t have to replace it. However, Otterbox’s customer service is top notch, and will often give the customer the benefit of the doubt as far as replacing the case. If your case breaks, you can contact them (you don’t have to register the case or anything), and they will often replace the case for you.
2) Waterproof. Many people think that the Otterbox is waterproof. This, once again, is not so. It is water RESISTANT. Meaning it has rubber flaps to protect the charging port as well as the headphone jack. I have had may customers say that they have dropped their phone in water and it has protected it. However, I have also had many customers drop their phone in water and, unfortunately, their phone was fried. Most of the time when the phone was saved it was because the person got the phone out of the water very quickly and quickly dried the phone off. Either way, it is NOT waterproof.
3) The hole for the headphone jack doesn’t line up. If you read the above myth, you will notice that there is a flap for the headphone jack. The whole to the right of the head phone jack is NOT for the headphone jack. It is actually for a sensor that has to be left open for the iPhone to work correctly. So, the headphone jack is SUPPOSED to be covered by the otterbox. The hole is meant for the sensor, not the jack, so it isn’t supposed to line up.
4) All Otterboxes protect. Some people think that every otterbox case protects their phone equally. Again, simply not true. Like anything, the size of the case makes a big difference in the protection of the case. Many people like the Commuter series, for instance, because it isn’t as bulky and doesn’t have rubber on the top of the case that will stretch or stick to pockets or hair. Unfortunately, the Commuter is not nearly as protective as the Defender series. When most people think of protection and “indestructibility”, they are thinking about the Defender series. This series is the one that protects the best, hands down. If you don’t like the rubber on the top, there are other cases (Kraken for instance made by Trident). However, the Commuter, Impact, and Reflex versions of the Otterbox are not as protective as the Defender series (some are hardly protective at all). It really comes down to physics. The more mass there is around your phone, the more force it can absorb. Many people want something that is going to protect their phone from everything but isn’t big and bulky. In this universe, unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen. Anyone who tells you something different is trying to sell you something. There are happy mediums--cases that protect well but also are sleek (like my personal favorite--the Skech Hard Rubber, Rise, or Shine cases), but they aren’t going to be as protective as a Defender case.
5) Otterboxes are indestructible. Make no mistake, the Defender series is extremely durable. I have had customers tell me about dropping them off roofs, driving over them in cars, tractors, and even running them over with a lawnmower, and their phones surviving. However, in most extreme cases, the case will be damaged, possibly to the point of not functioning. Many extreme example where the case is damaged, the phone actually comes out unscathed. However, there are limits to what a case can do. People want certainty. They want to believe that if their phone is in a case it can survive nuclear winter unscathed. Again, if any salesperson tells you something like that, they are suspect. My favorite story was a woman that told me her horse stepped on her otterbox and her phone and her case was ok. For her, the case worked out well. And for most people, who may drop their phone or be rough on it, the otterbox will keep your phone safe and secure. There are, however, limits to the punishment it can endure. At the end of the day, it is plastic and rubber. Plastic can scratch and break, rubber can stretch and break. You have to be reasonable in your expectations of what a case can and can’t do.
Bottom line, the Defender series of the Otterbox is a great case for protection. I personally think it’s too big and bulky. However, if your priority is protection, this is the way to go. If you don’t want something as big and bulky, remember, it’s a trade off. You can’t get a smaller case and expect it to protect as well as an Otterbox Defender. There are good alternatives. Again, the Kraken made by Trident, is nice because the plastic is on the outside so its easier to put in and out of your pocket and won’t stick to your hair when you talk on the phone.
I prefer a case that keeps the sleekness and feel of the iPhone. So, I prefer a Skech case (even over and Otterbox Commuter). But, if you want a case that will give you the best in protection, an Otterbox Defender (or another “tank” case as my fellow reviewer categorizes them) is your best bet.
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