This was not a product I actually intended to review when I bought it but after putting it through its paces the last few months I thought my iPhone OtterBox deserved a shout out.
A tale of abuse…
Clearly I spend a lot of time outdoors and in a variety of environments. I do not take it easy on my gear in the process. It’s got to deliver or what’s the point?
So when I picked up the OtterBox Defender for the iPhone 4S, I was counting on it to protect a very expensive and important piece of electronic gadgetry that’s vital to me as a blogger and traveler. After three months of fairly intense use in a wide range of locations, I have to say I’m very pleased.
Since I picked it up mid-April of this year, I’ve used the OtterBox through everything from soaking rains in the Smoky Mountains to 40-mph winds at Great Sand Dunes. It’s been geocaching in 18 states and one Canadian province, again through extreme rain and desert conditions.
But really the question is not how well the OtterBox fared but how the iPhone did. The iPhone is just fine! That’s all we’re really going for right? Protection.
The good, the bad, and the ugly…
So with that here are my thoughts on it’s performance as iPhone Protector Extraordinaire:
- The OtterBox Defender has done a great job but keep in mind it’s not completely foolproof. It’s as hermetically sealed as it can be without making the iPhone unusable. As you can see from the pictures, there are parts of the phone exposed…but only the absolutely necessary parts like the speakers and camera lenses. I used it in rain and mist and it was fine but had I dropped it in the river at Zapata Falls, I’d probably be out one iPhone.
- Some sand did get inside the case at Great Sand Dunes but the phone is fine…unscratched and unscathed. Keep in mind I was shooting pictures and video in 40-mph winds in the middle of acres of sand. It was fierce.
- The plastic cover over the screen means I have to press a little harder than I would without it. I’ve gotten used to it and it’s a non-issue for me. Really a small sacrifice for the peace-of-mind of protecting the phone in extreme conditions.
- Given the harsh conditions and heavy use I’ve put it through, I’m not surprised to see a bit of yellowing and discoloration of the rubber outer sheath. I suppose if I cleaned it once and awhile I could minimize that.
- The flap that covers the power/syncing cable input is sometimes disagreeable about getting back into place after I’m done charging. The other flaps covering headphone jack and side-toggle switch haven’t presented the same problem.
- It is relatively bulky but again, a non-issue for me. I’d rather have an intact phone. The level of protection the OtterBox provides means I don’t have to think twice about handing it over to the kids to navigate a geocache.
For my money, it’s still the best thing going if you’re rough with your iPhone. Hopefully by the time I’ve abused it to death and need to replace it, OtterBox will come out with some groovy earth tones for color options. There are various bright colors that just don’t suit my granola-munching earth-mama personality so that’s why I’ve got the gray and white.
And of course, in the world of legal bullshit, I have to remind you that I’ve reviewed this product of my own accord without any influence by the good folks at OtterBox.
Happy Adventuring my friends!
And now for your moment of green…
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