Otterbox Defender Case for iPhone 5 Review

  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4.5 stars
  • 80%

  • Otterbox Defender Case for iPhone 5
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: December 19, 2018
  • Cosmetic Appeal
    Editor: 80%
  • Design & Build Quality
    Editor: 90%
  • Features
    Editor: 40%
  • Function
    Editor: 90%
  • Value For The Price
    Editor: 90%

The rugged Otterbox Defender case is a perfect match for iPhone users who want superior protection at an affordable price.

Otterbox Defender iPhone 5 Case Description

Made for Adventure

The iPhone 5 is worthy of protection from the most rugged and nearly-indestructible Defender Series case. Because your iPhone is not just a smartphone, the Defender Series is not just a case; it's a multi-layer protective solution for your most prized possession.

The Defender Series for the iPhone 5 draws inspiration from customers with an active lifestyle or who subject their phone to harsh environments. Its robust, three-layer design withstands dust, drops, and bumps, making the Defender Series the industry leader for its protective qualities. From a drop onto the asphalt to a toss across your living room by a temper tantrum-throwing toddler, we’ve thought of all of those “worst case scenarios” when designing the Defender Series.

OtterBox Provides Protection for What's Next

Key Features

  • Three layers of protection include a polycarbonate skeleton cushions the iPhone.
  • Built-in screen protector prevents smudges and scratches.
  • Outer layer wraps around the solid inner shell creating a practically indestructible iPhone 5 case.
  • Redesigned belt-clip holster is included and doubles as a media viewing stand.
  • Port covers keep out dust and debris.
  • Full access to all the features and functions of the case, including all buttons, microphone, and camera.

Vital Statistics

The Defender Series features a two-piece plastic inner-shell that snaps together around the iPhone, and a built-in plastic screen protector. A rubber outer layer wraps around the inner-shell and absorbs impact from drops and bumps. It weighs 4 ounces.

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The folks over at Otterbox have established quite the reputation over the past years offering their rugged protective cases for Apple products. This year's Defender model follows the same footsteps and provides superior protection from the unavoidable everyday dings, scratches, and drops. It is more reasonably price than competitors such as the LifeProof case, but does feature less overall protection from things like water and cold temperatures.

Design & Build Quality

Unfortunately, the downside to this design is that it is surprisingly difficult to dismantle.Straight out of the box the case is impressive with it's multi-layer design and high quality build materials. It features 360 protection (covers both the front and back of the phone) and is primarily made of a hard plastic and an exterior rubberized edging. The only components of the phone that are not protected are the bottom speakers, top speaker (that is put to your ear), front camera, and the back camera/flash. The design of the case keeps it secured tightly to your case at all times and it will not fall off or break apart when dropped like some of the cheaper competitors. Unfortunately, the downside to this design is that it is surprisingly difficult to dismantle the case to insert/remove your iPhone. This is mainly due to the first step of removing the case which is to take off the exterior rubberized coating. By looking at the simple instruction paper supplied in the case you would think this would be an easy task, but we thought wrong. You will need long finger nails to get in-between the two layers of the case and separate them in a prying motion. We actually had to reference a YouTube video of someone else dismantling it since we were scared we were going to break the case just by attempting to forcefully remove the first layer.

Would we pass on buying this case based purely on its difficulty to dismantle? Absolutely not, we feel as though we'd rather have a case that keeps your phone secure and protected at all times than a case that will break apart the moment you drop it from a knee high distance (trust us we've had it happen numerous times with previous cases). Another factor to consider is once your case is assembled with your phone inside, how often are you really going to need to access it without the case on? If you are like us then that answer is not often. The case allows the phone to function fully meaning you have access to all the necessary buttons, connectors, and camera so there really is no visible need to remove the case once it has been assembled.

 Features & Function

The screen protector is built into the case and does not require any adhesive…The case is extremely durable and can take a serious beating. Though it has some impressive external protection, it will not be enough to protect your iPhone from water, mud, dirt, or sand like the LifeProof. It really is not made to compete with a case of that caliber since it retails for a much more affordable price (Lifeproof sells for $79.99). The screen protector is built into the case and does not require any adhesive which forgoes the headache you deal with when trying to put a traditional adhesive screen protector on trying to avoid creating those annoying bubbles. Another plus is that it does not impede the touchscreen functionality in any way. The average person probably would not realize there was a screen protector on the case. It successfully keeps your screen from getting those inevitable scratches from everyday use, but it does have a few minor flaws. As you'd probably expect you will need to make sure you clean your iPhone's screen very precisely before installing the phone into this case. Dust and dirt is very noticeable once it is trapped under the screen protector. Fingerprints and smudges are also a nemesis to this case as they become visible after consistent use.

We were also impressed by the included belt clip holster.The bulkiness factor did take a little bit of getting used to, but after a day or two it really didn't bother us all that much. The case gave us a feeling as though the phone was well protected and put our mind at ease while handling the phone from then on. Like I stated earlier, the phone's functions are all accessible through the case besides it blocking access to the side sim card tray (which shouldn't be an issue). Components such as the vibrate switch, lightning bolt port, and headphone jack are all covered by exterior rubber tabs (for protection), but these tabs flip up and out of the way for easy access. We were also impressed by the included belt clip holster. It has been improved over the previous model and keeps your iPhone connected securely and easily. It is a great alternative than trying to fit this bulky case into your pants pocket.

Overall Value & Final Thoughts

The Otterbox Defender Case for the iPhone 5 is an excellent choice especially considering its affordable retail price. We highly suggest this case to any prospective buyer that does not need the additional protection from water and debris that the more expensive Lifeproof case covers. This case is bulkier than the standard case, but still remains attractive and works like a charm for protecting your precious iPhone from the scratches, dings, drops, and tumbles it will take over the course of time.

What Are Others Saying About This Case?

If you're looking for the best protection for your iPhone 5 right now, this is the case you're looking for. The fit on the iPhone 5 is superb, and the peace of mind it will bring you is worth the cost of entry if protection is the utmost priority.

-Gabriel Marcial (Amazon Reviewer)

 recommend the Otterbox Defender for iPhone 5 for those seeking one of the top consumer-priced pieces of iPhone 5 protection on the market.


Great product. Perfect fit and great protection for the iphone 5. Screen is just as responsive as without the screen protection. Very easy to install and attractive.

-st croix glock (Amazon Reviewer)

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