iPad 2 Case Review: OtterBox Defender Case for iPad 2 Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 5
What's Hot: You won't find a more rugged iPad 2 case anywhere. Included screen cover acts as a stand.
What's Not: Although the case is strong when assembled, parts of it are very fragile when disassembled so be careful when putting it together. Although it?s less bulky than the previous version, it will still add considerable heft and girth to your no longer slim and elegant iPad 2.
The new OtterBox Defender case for the iPad 2 is the top of the line among rugged cases. While there are arguably others that offer similar levels of protection, OtterBox has distinguished itself by not only its ruggedness, but by its clever engineering that achieves this without being overly cumbersome.
As expected, the Defender fits the iPad 2 perfectly. Once installed, you will have full access to buttons and ports; all of which are covered by silicone except the speaker grill, which is completely uncovered except for a plastic tab that actually amplifies nicely by directing the sound toward the bottom of the unit instead of the rear. The docking port can be quickly accessed for syncing via cable by pulling back a silicone plug. However, it is possible to completely expose the area around this port (approx. 2? x 3?) by pulling back a larger reinforced flap.
The folks at OtterBox have learned quite a bit since the release of the Defender for iPad 1. While that was a seriously tough iPad case, it was also seriously bulky. Whenever I carried it around in its cover, people thought my iPad was a netbook. Yes, it is that big. The new design is noticeably slimmer and lighter, and also covers much less of the face, allowing easier access to the edge of your touchscreen. The downside to this is that the plastic portion of the case is extremely thin in places. While you won?t notice this once it is installed, you may have some tense moments assembling/disassembling it as you try not to break anything. I am happy to say that I didn?t damage my case, even after repeated installations, so either it?s much tougher than it looks or I?m more coordinated than I remember being.
The plastic frame is lined with soft foam to ensure that it doesn?t scratch your device, and the outer silicone skin adds a welcome layer of shock absorption and dust/moisture protection. It is extra thick on the edges and even sports a nice texture to help you hang onto your iPad 2 during combat or while running to class. Together, these two layers provide excellent impact protection (although, it is doubtful if any case can provide complete drop protection). The Defender 2 is also fully compatible with OtterBox? Utility Series Latch, although it is not compatible with Apple?s iPad dock.
The case comes equipped with a detachable hard plastic screen cover; perfect for throwing in a briefcase/bag/backpack/giant purse. As with last year?s model, this cover also doubles as a viewing stand. This version, however, includes a much-improved support mechanism. Not only is it sturdier, it is also simple enough to deploy with one hand, and spring-loaded to stay up (or down) as needed.
The OtterBox Defender Case for iPad 2 is a great case for those who need maximum protection. Once installed, it is rock-solid, yet slimmer and lighter than the previous model. Full access to ports, buttons, and switches, means that you will rarely need to remove this case once it is installed; However, if you do, be forewarned that assembly/disassembly is a delicate, and somewhat tiresome process.