Review: Otterbox Defender Series Case for iPhone5

Let’s be honest, many of the phones on the market today have pretty elegant designs. While I’m sure of use would like to show off these beautiful designs, the threat of spending several hundred dollars to replace a broken Smartphone leads to the use of some sort of protection. Now the type of protection you choose depends on your lifestyle and how you use your phone. If you’re an active individual or just someone looking for a case with a little more protection than the rest then read on to see if the Otterbox Defender Series is the case for you.


Otterbox offers several different case designs for a wide range of users. The Defender series is their top-of-the-line case in terms of protection features. The description on the package reads “Rugged, protective case for demanding conditions, heavy use and random accidents.” If any of that applies to you then you’re on the right track with the Defender series case. The defender series is available for quite a few of the popular Apple and Android Smartphones on the market and is available in a variety of different colors too. For this review, I will be using the Black defender case for the iPhone 5.

P1020937Let me first start by saying that the Otterbox defender series is more than just a simple phone case, but more like a protection system. The case is actually three parts; a hard plastic shell, a soft rubber outer cover and a built in screen protector film.  This case is definitely designed to protect against drops, impacts and scratches.

P1030002It is also has silicone plugs for the charging port, headphone jack and the silence switch. These plugs help to minimize dust getting in these spaces. One thing to keep in mind though is that this case is not waterproof. It has cutouts for the speakers and camera so it is just as susceptible to water damage as a naked phone.

P1020991One unique thing about the Defender series that’s different from all the other Otterbox cases is the included holster. This holster is pretty cool that it allows the phone to be clipped with the screen facing inwards for maximum protection or outwards for easy visibility. The belt clip swivels 360° and can lock so the holster can double as a stand. This is a nice feature that I was not expecting.

P1020946It almost goes without saying that if you’re in the market for a case with a decent amount of protection, that case size is not your number one priority. While this case does provide a fair amount of protection that comes with a price, Size. This case is definitely one of the larger cases on the market. With the hard plastic shell and rubber cover, the Defender series is almost twice as thick as the naked phone (at least for the iPhone 5 version.)

P1030006P1020983Aside from being a huge case, the Defender series also has a few minor drawbacks. The rubber plug that covers the headphone jack works fine when using a slim plug such as the Apple Earpods. If you want to use something with a fatter plug such as many AUX cables to connect to a car or stereo, this case doesn’t work so well. The case is thick but the opening in the plastic shell is not large enough to accommodate large plugs so you are forced to take the case off to use these. Also on the iPhone 5, the silence switch is recessed quite a bit due the thickness of the case and can make it somewhat difficult to toggle between silence and ringer.

 Build Quality/Protection:

P1020955I have to say that this case has definitely impressed me. The overall build quality is something you would expect from Otterbox’s top-of-the-line case. The phone fits tightly inside the plastic shell and is cushioned by a thin piece of foam on the back to keep the phone cushioned. Instead of having a screen protector attached to the phone, this case’s protector is integrated into the plastic shell and works seamlessly. One thing I was afraid of with having the screen protector not adhered directly to the screen was a loss in touch sensitivity but that is not the case here.

I have dropped the phone from a few feet (pocket height) and everything survived without damage so it is doing its job. The case also fits tightly around the openings so I haven’t noticed any dust getting inside the case. I have only been using the case for a few weeks now so I can’t comment on long-term durability but the only potential downfall I could see is if the screen protector gets damaged or excessively scratched then there is no way to replace it. Other than that the Defender Series seems well built and ready to protect your phone for quite a long time. 


P1020994Overall, this is pretty decent case. I would say that for the amount of protection you get from this case you can’t beat the Defender Series. This protection does come with increased bulk so you have to weigh that and see if you need this much protection. If you don’t mind the size of the case and are looking for the greatest protection of your investment then the Otterbox Defender Series is a great choice. The Defender series is listed with a $49.99MSRP but can often be found much cheaper online at sites such as Amazon.


Dimensions (without holster): 5.32 in x 2.75 in x 0.64 in / 135.12 mm x 69.9 mm x 16.18 mm

Dimensions (with holster): 5.42 in x 3.15 in x 1.36 in / 137.67 mm x 79.88 x 34.47 mm


  • Outstanding protection from drops/shock, debris, and scratches
  • Includes belt clip/holster
  • Built-in screen protector
  • Available for a wide variety of phones


  • Bulky
  • Headphone jack too small
  • Can be difficult to silence (iPhone)

Price: $30 From Amazon

t3chniq’s final verdict: Buy (if you don’t mind the bulk)

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