iPhone 4/4S Case Review: OtterBox Armor for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S Review
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 5
What's Hot: Incredibly tough. Waterproof (up to 30 minutes). Easy installation.
What's Not: It's huge.
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
The Armor Series of iPhone cases from OtterBox have just escalated the rugged case arms race to new heights. It's waterproof for up to 30 minutes and heavily armored to provide unparalleled drop/crush protection for your precious iPhone. Oh, and it's massive.
Size and Fit
Did I say this thing is big? Because, well, it's big. While the Armor will only add approximately 0.64" to your iPhone's length and width, it will more than double its thickness. That, however, is the cost of protection from everything but a nuclear strike. As with all OtterBox products, it will fit your device perfectly, and even when fully ensconced, your phone will still be completely functional and accessible.
Features and Quality
While I have always been a fan of OtterBox products, I have two complaints about their Defender case: It's a pain to install due to its multiple independent layers, and the silicone outer skin stretches and sags with long-term use. The Armor Series puts both of these issues to rest. First, installation. To install your phone, simply pop open the two heavy-duty metal clips and the back panel pops right off. Drop your phone in, re-engage the clips and you're off to the apocalypse, safe in the knowledge that your iPhone will likely outlive you. Second, the folks at OtterBox have moved away from silicone, and instead opted for a hard plastic case with a slightly rubberized feel. While this case may get beaten-up over time, you're never going to be faced with saggy silicone. Every button, switch, and port is fully accessible, but all are covered by gasketed flaps or completely covered by rubber. Of particular note is the clever way the mute switch is protected. Instead of covering it with a simple flap, it's completely sealed by a secondary switch that can operate it without exposing it to the elements. The only compromise here is that the switch functions in reverse. In my tests, I submerged the Armor Case for 30 minutes and the sponge inside came out bone dry. Be careful, however, not to take it too deep. As the pressure increases, the likelihood of leakage also increases.
The Armor Case is big, rectangular, and black/grey. The cover over the docking port is neon yellow, as is the cover over the headphone jack. I like this splash of color. More would have been gaudy, and less would have made the case look boring; especially considering the complete absence of festoons and flair. Curiously, the inner lining is also neon yellow, although that is completely obscured by your phone at all times.
There's a new champion in the world of rugged iPhone cases, and it's the OtterBox Armor Series. If you need serious protection from everything, and don't care about size or weight, this case is the absolute best you can buy... For now.
Web site: OtterBox
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