A few months ago, I upgraded my iPhone 3Gs to an iPhone 4. At them time, I was also in the market for a great case for my phone, and decided to try out the new version of the Otterbox Defender protective case.
If you’ve never seen an Otterbox Defender case, they’re built like a tank. It’s a two-piece hard plastic frame with a built-in screen protector. That frame snaps together around your phone and then gets covered with a rubbery silicone suit.
The upside of this combination is that it’s incredibly durable. You could easily drop the phone from any reasonable height without any fear of damaging it. Also, the screen protector doesn’t give you “oily” looking bubbles on your screen like the 3G version did.
The downside is that the case is huge. Your slender iPhone’s “pocketability” will take a serious hit when it’s encased in an Otterbox Defender. On top of that, the silicone “jacket” keeps it from sliding easily in and out of your pocket.
Another annoyance was that the recesses over the proximity sensor and camera lens are dust and lint magnets, but that wasn’t the biggest problem…
The worst aspect of this case is that I continually got bits of dirt, dust, or lint between the screen protector and the screen. This is a huge issue, as it’s a pain in the butt to disassemble, clean, and reassemble – only to have to do it again within a day or so.
In the end, I returned my Otterbox Defender an Incipio Edge. In short, the Incipio Edge isn’t nearly as protective, but it gets the job done without turning your phone into a bulky monstrosity. I’ve been very happy with it, and will probably post a dedicated review sometime soon.