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Otterbox Defender for iPhone 4
What's hot:Great protection, ports and controls accessible, and has a built-in stand.
What's not: Adds a significant amount of weight and size.
Reviewed October, 2010 by Tom Slayton
Most phone cases favor form over substance, and are therefore, only useful for protecting your precious electronics from scratches, scrapes, and the occasional harsh language. In my line of work, I have no choice but to wear my phone in a holster on my hip where it is more than likely to be sent spinning to the ground now and then. Thankfully, Otterbox has heard my plea and has responded with their new and improved Defender case. The new version provides the same great protection as previous Defender models while substantially improving some key features. If you need a tough case, this one is worth a look.
Size and Fit
The Defender, as expected, fits the iPhone 4 like a glove. The hard plastic case snaps-on tight, while the soft rubber portion secures firmly to it through a series of tabs and grooves. The end result is a very sturdy case that absolutely won’t open unless you want it to, and is unlikely to slip out of your hand. The production standards are extremely high with the Defender case for the iPhone 4, with every button, port, tab, and groove, lining up perfectly. It’s big, though, nearly doubling the thickness of the phone. For those who find the iPhone 4 to be a bit too diminutive, and a difficult thing to hold onto, this case adds enough bulk to fix that problem.
Features and Quality
The Defender case, while maintaining the same durability standards of previous versions, has improved substantially in a few key areas. As with last year’s model for the iPhone 3GS, all ports, buttons, and switches, are protected by the thick rubber cover, with the docking port and headphone jack receiving nice snug-fitting flaps. However, the current iteration has improved somewhat on the docking port cover by enlarging the accessible area to allow a greater variety of docking cables to fit. Previously, if you weren’t using an Apple cable, there was a pretty good chance it wasn’t going to fit.
The second improvement is in the holster, and this one almost made me weep for joy. The 3GS version "secured" the phone with two small tabs that wore down each time you inserted/removed the phone. This meant that after the first week or so, the phone could be dislodged by a light breeze or even a stern look. The new holster, however, has a VERY sturdy retention system. It also sports a rotating belt clip so you can wear it horizontally. As an added benefit, the holster allows you to insert the phone facing out, and doubles as a hands-free stand for your iPhone.