“DO YOU NEED AN EXCUSE TO GET A NEW IPHONE? THIS OTTERBOX iPHONE 5 CASE IS FOR YOU!”
Nobody should ever get the Otterbox Armor case for iPhone 5 / iPhone 5S. Its a bulky rugged case that FAILED both Waterproof Test and Drop Test and being at a $100 dollar price point, this one over-priced fail case.
This is surprising to us at Mobilereviews-eh.ca since we’ve done a couple of great reviews for the Otterbox cases for the iPad mini and so we were really disappointed that the Otterbox Armor case for iPhone 5 was such a poor performing case. We thought that we had a defective case so we went and bought another for the other tests but the new case didn’t fare much better.
Based on our review, we give this case an Eh? Rating score of 2.6 Eh?’s out of 5. Pretty bad.
For a detailed breakdown of our Eh? Rating System Click here.
ABOUT THE CASE MANUFACTURER
Otterbox makes a lot of cases. For the iPhone 5, there’s 5 different cases that offer various levels of protections for your device. The Armor case is Otterbox’s theoretically toughest case. According to us, you might get better protection using a large empty soup can, a Glad ziplock bag and a bunch of packing peanuts.
According to Otterbox, this case is submersible to 6.6ft (for 30 mins), drop proof from 10ft and can survive a crushing weight of 2 tons. The case is made from a mix of hard and pliable plastic and is held together with metal buckles. The case is 240% time larger than a regular device.
The Otterbox Armor case for iPhone 5 scored a 3 out of 5 Eh?’s for the Design category. The only redeeming quality about this case is the ease of installation since it only too the snapping of two metal buckles to close the case.
This case is a tank. The total volume of the case is approx. 240% larger than the iPhone5 so we don’t recommend this case if you’re big into wearing skinny jeans or normal jeans for that matter.
The height and width of device doesn’t get much longer/wider but its the depth that provide the majority increase in bulk. With that being said, the case seems a lighter than what you would expect since there is a bit of dead space between the ribs inside the case.
The Otterbox Armor is one of the easiest rugged cases we’ve had to to install. Installation basically requires the snapping of two metal buckles after you’ve put the two pieces together.
As mentioned above, this is the only redeeming quality of this case since you can easily swap out the case for a slimmer case (or no case) for a different use (going to work in a cubicle maybe?)
The only knock against the buckle is that the part that you’re suppose to pry open is a little thin so some people may have a bit of problem with it (you might pry your fingernail off your finger if you’re not careful).
We were a little torn with the build quality since the case felt fairly solid when taking it out of the box. The plastic felt tought and the rubber front panel provided us with a, iPhone 5 case that was “grippy”. The metal buckles looked like they were machined with great care for tolerances, having a great fit and the walls of the case were solid (it was hard to compress them).
However, when you put the iPhone 5 into the case, you’ll notice that the back panel doesn’t fit flush with the front of the case. This isn’t a small gap and the gap distance isn’t consistent through out the entire case.
This created a fairly sharp edge (from the back panel) that occurs around the entire iPhone 5 case. I am unsure if this was done on purpose. During the week and using the Otterbox Case for iPhone 5, I found myself being wary of the carrying the case since it felt like it may splice my hand open if I held it wrong.
Want to have a look at other iPhone cases?
Given that Otterbox claims that this case is the “toughest case ever built”, we figure that it would score well in the protection category. It did not.
A case comprised of a large empty soup can, some packing peanuts and a ziploc bag would perform better than the Otterbox case. For all its hype, the Otterbox Armor scored a measly 2.1 Eh?’s out of 5 in the protection category.
The case broke when we were filming another shot for our videos. We dropped it 3 times in a row and this piece came out of the case after the third drop. As you can see from the video, we dropped it three times from a height of about 5 ft, which is far from the 10ft drop height that Otterbox claims.
Now, we could look at it this way: The case did protect the device but broke in the process so Otterbox’s claim does stand but really, should a $115 dollar case be considered a one-off?
We didn’t think so and that’s why this case scored so poorly in the drop-ability score. The piece that snapped off was a set of plastic teeth that locked the back panel to the front case. With that piece missing, the bottom of the case wasn’t hinged properly so we basically had a case that had one side “flapping” freely in the wind.
Below is a close up view of the ridges before they broke on our first case.
Click the video below to see the drop test in action!
The Otterbox Armor case for the iPhone 5 / iPhone 5S also claimed to be Crash proof, withstanding weight of up to 2 tonnes. We performed our own test, by driving over the iPhone 5 case with a car. This was the only test that passed. We did notice that the case did depress a little bit, but did not damage the iPhone 5 placed inside.
Since the Drop Test differ from the Crush Test by testing different types of impact, we considered the drop/bump tests to be more accurate. In order for the iPhone 5 to end up on the ground to be driven over, it had to be drop to the ground. Taking this into account, if the case broke (just like it did for us) and then were driven over, would the iPhone 5 inside the case survive? Based on the results, we are more inclined to say No.
After we broke the case during the drop test, we figure it would be unfair to Otterbox if we tested the waterproofing claim, so we bought another case. The video below shows you the Waterproof test we did, in accordance with Otterbox specifications, before submerging the case with an actual iPhone 5 installed.
It wasn’t much of a surprise to us given the poor build quality of the case, that the waterproofing failed. As you can see from the video, water started seeping into the case around the 7 minute mark.
Now, sitting in 7 minutes under water might not make it the worst case ever but since Otterbox claims this case is waterproof up to 6.6ft for 30 mins but we hope nobody buys this $115 dollar case “hoping” that it will keep your device waterproof.
UPDATE: One of our subscribers on our Youtube Channel: ASDIncYYC, suggested that we take the O-Ring located on the back piece of Otterbox Armor Case for iPhone 5, and rotate it. Then perform the Waterproof Test once more. Therefore there will be an Update Review video coming soon. Check back with us!
The screen protection for this case wasn’t bad. We gave it a 3.5 Eh?’s out of 5 since the screen wasn’t harmed during our crush test. The screen protector didn’t register finger prints much but you would still need to wipe the screen on a sleeve or pant leg every once in a while. We’d suggest washing it with soap to get it sparkly clean but since Otterbox’s waterproof isn’t really waterproof, we won’t.
Surprisingly, the Otterbox Armor scored fairly well in the functionality, especially for a rugged case. Now, we would be singing its kudos right now but since it failed a good portion of the Protection scores, we can only talking about its functionality merits with a bitter-sweet taste in our mouths.
Out of the three scores in the Functionality Category, handling was the worse. The only reason that it scored 3 Eh?’s out of 5, was the significant degradation in sound quality. Phone conversations were a little more difficult to hear, especially in a noisy area. Most buttons could be easily reached but it is important to note that the switch for the ringer was reversed so it may have rang on me a few times when I thought the phone was silent.
Another thing that brought the Eh? Rating System score down were the covers over the ports. The port covers at the bottom of the case and can be pulled out which allows you to access the headphone jack and lightning ports. However, the port covers are very rigid and when we put a set headphones into the jack, the port covers push on the ends of the headphones. The headphones still worked but we are thinking that having a set of headphones plugged in at a slightly off angle might damage either the headphones or phone.
Access to the touch screen worked very well on the Otterbox Armor case. The edges of the case weren’t so high that you would have a hard time typing in portrait mode. The screen protector did allow us to register touches from a Adonit Jot Pro as well as one of the nub styluses.
There was no reduction in screen sensitivity in the corners which tends to be a problem with rugged screen protectors. We don’t remember registering many double taps with the device and this Otterbox Armor case for the iPhone 5 / iPhone 5S.
With all this great praise, we gave the Otterbox armor a Eh? Rating score of 4 Eh?’s out of 5 for screen usability.
The screen was quite viewable in most cases as the diffusion of the retina screen was kept at a minimum. Despite the extra weight and bulk of the case, it handled fairly well (it felt like I was using a gaming controller rather than a smart device).
The glare of the screen protector was a bit annoying hence the Eh? Rating score is 3.5 Eh?’s out of 5, but glare is a relative thing since once the device is in the case, you wouldn’t notice the glare but it is something we note in our reviews.
Otterbox Armor Case for iPhone 5
All in all, this is a rugged case that you have to spend over $100 dollar on. It fails 2 out of 3 tests regarding protection and with the reduced functionality of the case, you’re basically spending money on making your device unusable.
We give the Otterbox Armor Case for the iPhone 5 a Eh? Rating score of 2.6 Eh?’s out of 5.
iPhone 5 Case / iPhone 5S Case Suggestion:
Pelican CE1180 Vault Series Case for iPhone 5 – this Pelican case hands down beats the Otterbox Armor. It is a very though case, survived our “Skip-It-Like-A-Rock” test, on a gravelled parking lot. Also Pelican provides a Lifetime Warranty for all its products. Really nice.