Review – Otterbox Defender iPhone 4 Case

Otterbox Defender Case for iPhone 4
Company: Otterbox

Price: $49.95

Until now, cases for the iPhone 4 have been scarce. With both the front and back of the phone being made of glass, most of us worry about breakage for good reason. I was fortunate enough to find an Apple bumper for my new iPhone while visiting an Apple Store in Charleston, SC. I’ve been using this bumper as my primary case, but while proudly showing off the beauty of the hardware, the bumper doesn’t offer much protection for the iPhone’s back glass.

In true form, Otterbox has has solved this dilemma by delivering what amounts to armor for your iPhone with its new Defender series cases. As someone who spends a lot of time outdoors with my phone, I really appreciate the thought Otterbox has put into the Defender. Don’t let the higher price-point scare you, the Defender’s built quality and functionality fit the price.

The Defender offers multiple layers of protection for your iPhone. The fit and finish are amazing. Apple would be hard pressed to do better. It has a soft lined, hard plastic inner case surrounded by a soft and flexible outer silicone case. Thankfully, the Defender comes with installation instructions.

The inner case has plastic tabs that hold the front and back halves together. It takes a few moments of pondering to figure out how to get it open, but it’s extremely secure once in place. It is not waterproof, so I highly recommend you stay away from the pool or hot tub with your phone in hand, no matter what case you have it in.

The front of the Defender offers a built-in clear protective film for the front glass of your iPhone. Unlike previous models, this film is extremely sensitive to the touch and has a coating that resists fingerprints. I don’t notice any loss of touch sensitivity when using the case. The film does get the occasional bit of dust between it and the glass, especially if you’re keeping your phone in your pockets. I’m happy to see that Otterbox has done a great job addressing this issue, for the Defender case for the iPhone 3GS allows much more dust into the case and has that “oily film” effect that is sometimes annoying. The new Defender is a real improvement.

The outer silicone shell of the Defender fits perfectly and stays in place on your iPhone. The volume controls and sleep switch are covered, but still work well. The headphone jack and 30-pin connector port have flaps covering them, keeping unwanted dust out. The flaps can be a bit tricky to get in place, but once there they stay put. The mute switch is uncovered, but even with the thickness of the case, you can still use the switch easily. Like all silicone cases, dust tends to stick to it, but wipes off easily.

Perhaps the biggest consideration to make with the Defender is its thickness. This is a tradeoff you have to be willing to make if you want this level of protection for your iPhone 4. The case adds significantly to the bulk of your phone, so it’s probably not going to fit into any of your docks as a result. This is a personal choice, but I feel much more secure with the iPhone in the Defender case.

The Defender also come with a sturdy holster for those of you who like to wear their phone on their belt. What I find cool is that the rotating clip doubles as a stand for watching videos.

Many of us will be receiving a new case from  Apple as a result of their ‘Antennagate’ response program. None of the cases offered by Apple offer a degree of protection that is anywhere near that of the Defender. If you put your iPhone 4 through its paces at work or play and don’t mind the added thickness, the Defender is the case for you. review rating: 9 out of 10

13 thoughts on “Review – Otterbox Defender iPhone 4 Case

  1. It’s big. Looks bigger in the box than it looks with the phone in it. 100% dust protection, not water proof, but it’s probably the last cell phone case you will buy for your phone. I have a drawer full of cases that seemed pretty good, or stylish. Thank you otterbox for making my cellphone safe from it’s number one enemy, me:)

  2. ive been an otterbox user since the iphone 3g came out and would not ever go without a defender series, the only problem i have with tthe 3g/3gs model i have had to put a anti glare screen protector on , to prevent watermarks from the defender screen protecter and after time eventually just remove the screen protector from the otterbox and just use the anti-glare , the dust level have gone down since than and i love it 10X better!
    as for the iphone 4 otterbox defender series like i said i am a firm believer of the otterbox and my phone has been in the otterbox since before it was even activated, i like that you dont have a watermark issue like the 3g/3gs series, but i noticed dust in the case is a bigger issue with the industry that i am in.
    a major problem i am noticing with everyone that has an otterbox defender case for the iphone 4 has a defective area where the back of the case on the bottom tends to not go in the track and the rubber stands or pops out where it should not be , this is frustrating because this is letting more dust in the case and as well as poor craftsmanship it seems as if the rubber is .001-.003 to thick around this area and is not laying how it is supposed to , another problem or an overlooked issue they didnt put into aspect is the charging cover , i open and close this flap 5-10x daily at times its more of a process to get it to stay shut or stay closed when sealing on the go as to the 3g,3gs you just press and whala!
    it seems as if you miss putting the otterbox in the holster and when you go to take it out you have to reform it to be back together often.
    the best yet is the belt clip very durable better hold thank you for this fix i have had so many 3g&3gs’s that have fell out and a friend of mine knocked his out the clip into the toilet i rigged the waterdamaged phone so he could exchange it without a charge lol!
    one of my biggest dislikes is the lego buttons for the volume they could have designed this any way they wanted and it tolls toyish the other day my kid was trying to connect his legos to the volume buttons on the otterbox woah!
    hopefully i will not have to go removing the screen protector on the otterbox after time and go to the anti glare screen protector as for i am big on not wanting to see scratches or oily fingermarks when i am using my device!

  3. When purchasing my iPhone 4 I told the salesman I wanted the Otterbox Defender to go with it. He asked me if I wanted to see it on the phone before I paid for it. I told him no…it’s an Otterbox, I don’t care how it looks I want it for protection. After 3 different Otterbox cases for Blackberry’s and one for my 3GS I needed no convincing.

    Awesome! I knew I could depend on good design that would protect my new HIGH-DOLLAR iPhone 4 but i really wasn’t expecting to finally have a defender series that is equally as good looking. Great defense for iPhone and great looks, IMO. And yes… they have improved the screen protector so that there is no appearance as though there is water between the screen and protector.

    I miss some things about my Blackberry, I love my iPhone 4 and I am interested in where the Droid is going (and since AT&T sucks I might end up with a Droid some day). I am confident that whatever phone I end up with next…. It will be protected by a Otterbox Case.

    Thanks Otterbox!!!

  4. The coating on the screen membrane on mine does NOT resist fingerprints at all. Also, when there is dust on that protector, you’d better use an alcohol wipe as the ‘protector’ scratches VERY easily. The other reviews are correct: the silicone will peel off every now and then and it has nothing to do with stretching it out.

  5. I have found the case to be an excellent protector of my 1 month old iphone 4 … However, the only issue I have so far is that the clip on the belt-clip assembly is in the middle of the holder and it makes the entire assembly ride “too high” on my belt and it gets in the way of me working and is uncomfortable (as it digs into my “love handles”) … I have “modified” the belt-clip assembly by removing the clip / sanding all the protrusion on the back of the case and clip down smooth / gluing and riveting the clip toward one end of the holder … This modification allows the entire assembly to hang “below” my belt but obviously prevents the assembly from rotating (as original from factory)

    1. I dont have love handles and the thing manages to still poke me in my side sometimes as well… I wish they would fix that some… Somehow make it sit slightly lower or something.

  6. GTI_GUY is there anyway that you can post a picture of your modification? I also think it rides too high and out of the belt/waist. I was trying to figure out what you did but can’t get around it.
    PS by the way a great case for Iphone. 🙂

  7. So I have the Otterbox Defender for my iPhone 4S, and I was wondering if anyone can help me fix my problem! So where the two hard plastic shells fit together on the bottom of the back of the phone, they don’t quite fit and fully click together, and it makes the top corners squeaky and not secured properly. Has anyone else had this problem? Please help me!

    1. Metre57 yes I had the same issue as well on one as well… I had a black and army fatigue green, and the thing would squeak away anytime you would touch the top of the device… Im sure if you call otterbox about the issue they might help you out… My 2nd caseI got sold a iPhone 4 otterbox … My ambient light sensor wouldn’t work on my phone at all. I noticed it in the first 24 hours of use and looked online what the difference in cases were found out I got the wrong one. Then I tried to take it back 24 hours later and they wouldn’t take it… Otterbox sent me a new one due to the mistake and the fact that style of otterbox was discontinued for a reason incompatibility between two models…

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