Otterbox Defender

I just had one of these arrive in my mail:

My initial reaction to the Otterbox Defender so far has been that, overall, I like it. It’s a solid construction with a reasonably attractive design. It appears to provide decent protection for my iPhone 4, especially the camera — good, considering that I just had my phone replaced due, in part, to the fact that the camera on my previous phone was so scratched as to be completely unusable. The case does add a little extra bulk and heft, but that’s a small price to pay if it means the phone itself lasts longer. And as a part-time farmer, I’m generally pretty hard on my phones. The case is also a little difficult to get into, but again, that’s just a minor inconvenience.

I only have a couple of complaints about the Defender. For instance, I’ve already punched out the screen protector. It’s a nice idea, but it’s a filmy piece of plastic that effectively nullifies the usefulness and beauty of the retina display. After having had no screen protector on my phone for months, I’m not willing to trade clarity for the reduced risk of scratching the screen. I’ll probably replace it with a ZAGG screen protector at some point down the road, but for now, no screen protector.

My chief complaint is with the belt clip. I do like the fact that the phone is easy to pop in and out of the clip while still sitting securely in it, but I already hate how much overhead this thing has. There is a good inch to inch-and-a-half of plastic above the top of my belt, and the clip digs into my side in a way that’s very distracting. I think I’d almost prefer a metal ‘U’ clip with no moving parts that lets the case settle further down onto my belt rather than this plastic hinged one that feels like someone is permanently goosing me.

Oh, and using the belt clip as a phone stand by locking it open? That’s a joke. Apparently whoever designed that idea has never had a lesson in basic physics. The clip by itself stands just fine. The moment you put the phone into it, the whole thing topples right over onto its face. Nice idea, bad design.

Overall, I do think I’ll be happy with the Defender. I just may end up looking for other belt clip solutions.

Have anything to add to the conversation?