iPhone

Otterbox Defender Review – iPhone 6

 

Is there anything new with this case? Find out in our Otterbox Defender Review for the iPhone 6

Watch the Otterbox Defender Review on YouTube
The Otterbox Defender could be considered a staple, maybe even iconic item when it comes to cases that protect your iPhone. For the iPhone 6, the design of the Otterbox Defender remains largely unchanged to the design of the Defender for the iPhone 5 and 5S and this annoys me a bit and I’ll elaborate on this later.

During our testing period for the iPhone 6 Otterbox Defender Review, we discovered a couple of issues with accessing your iPhone inside the case, it really bulky but offers decent access to your iPhone when it’s installed in the case.

We do have to give Otterbox props though as our cases were at our desks a couple of days before the iPhone 6 went on sale so if you were proactive enough, you could have picked up a Otterbox Symmetry, Commuter or Defender. I will give you guys a quick comparison between these three Otterbox cases after we go through the guts of our Defender review.

Based on our time with this case, we gave it a score of 3.4 Eh’s out of 5. The Otterbox Defender is an average protective iPhone 6 case.


Otterbox Defender


“3.4





Full Review
Video Review
  • Price:

    $59.95

  • Pros:

    - Offers decent access to your iPhone 6
    - Offers better protection than the Otterbox Symmetry and Commuter
    - Feels well-built (*see potential problems)

  • Cons:

    - Dust/Debris protection isn't great
    - Buttons on iPhone 6 are hard to get at
    - Slightly more complicated to install than other cases
    - Adds quite a bit of bulk to the iPhone 6

  • Potential Problems:

    - Rubber covering may stretch over time. We've seen this happen on our iPad mini and iPhone 5/5S cases
    - No seals/membranes around the camera areas mean that dust/debris can be trapped between the case and iPhone resulting in a little bit of damage

  • DESIGN

  • Weight/Bulk (3/5):

    - Otterbox Defender will more than double the thickness of your iPhone 6

  • Ease of installation (3.5/5):

    - Taking the case apart is a hassle. We recommend that you don't cut your finger nails before trying to uninstall the case
    - Comes in three parts

  • Build Quality (5/5):

    - The materials of the Defender do feel top notch
    - The rubbered shell reduces the chance that the case is going to slip out of your hand - Screen protector doesn't get scratched up from general usage
    - The case feels well built BUT Defenders are known to stretch out over time

  • PROTECTION

  • Shock Protection (2.5/5):

    - Otterbox doesn't explicitly state that what the drop rating is on this case whereas everybody else does
    - We are assuming a 6.6 ft drop rating

  • Water/Dust Protection (1.5/5):

    - The Otterbox Defender is not waterproof
    - Doesn't protect the sound ports/headphone jack from dust
    - Doesn't prevent dust from entering camera cutouts on the front/back of the case
    - Lightning port is fully protected

  • Screen Protection (4/5):

    - Thick plastic screen protector
    - Substantial edge (1/4 inch) provides decent clearance for the iPhone touchscreen

  • FUNCTIONALITY

  • iPhone Functionality (4/5):

    - Power and volume buttons are difficult to get to
    - Easy access to hardware ports
    - Sound is not effected by the Otterbox Defender
    - Touch ID membrane works
    - No noticeable iPhone signal loss

  • Screen Usability (3.5/5):

    - A small gap between the screen protector and touchscreen
    - Reduces the sensitivity of the screen a little bit
    - Plastic edge around the Touch ID sensor may get in the way of accessing your control panel

  • Screen Viewability (4/5):

    - Screen protector doesn't sit flush on the screen which results in a increase in glare and multiple reflections
    - Small dots are noticeable on the screen protector if you look hard enough

 

Design – Yep, we’ve definitely seen this case before

Otterbox-Defender-ReviewIn terms of design, the Otterbox Defender is a fairly bulky case especially when compared to the slimness of the iPhone 6. Using the iPhone 6 with one hand has become difficult to the increase in size but with Otterbox Defender installed, its close to becoming impossible. On the flip side, if you drop it, the Otterbox Defender will protect your iPhone 6.

Installation of the case requires you to snap two polycarbonate pieces together and pack the rubber shell into a ridge on the front housing. Installation isn’t a big hassle but taking the case apart will require the use of your uncut fingernail to easily pry the rubber shell out of the ridge.

In terms of build quality, the Defender for the iPhone 6 feels like a well-built product. It feels very solid but from our experience with the Defender for other devices, we know that the rubber shell will stretch out over time and the port covers may break off after extended use.

Protection – Your iPhone 6 in a Defender isn’t going to fair much better than a naked iPhone 6 against water and dust

Lots of empty spaces for dust and debris to harm your iPhone 6 - Otterbox Defender ReviewIn terms of protection, the Otterbox Defender will perform poorly in terms of water/dust protection. There are no seals or membranes to keep out water/dust so the Defender basically offers the same amount of water/dust protection is a naked iPhone 6. We will note that dust/debris can be easily trapped between the case and iPhone so if you’re not diligent in cleaning out the case regularly, your iPhone might become damaged.

For shock protection, Otterbox doesn’t tell us if the Defender is rated to any Mil-Spec so we’re going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say it will protect your iPhone from 6.6 ft drops. The Defender offers two layers of protection for your iPhone so it will definitely protect it from every day bumps and drops.

The screen protector on the Otterbox Defender feel fairly thick and if its similar to the screen protector on the iPhone 5/5S cases, it will provide decent screen protection.

Functionality – Getting to your iPhone 6 through the Otterbox Defender isn’t a problem

Tough access to the iPhone 6 - Otterbox Defender The biggest complaint about the case in our Otterbox Defender review involves with how tough it is to access the volume and power buttons on your iPhone 6 through the defender. From our review period, we found that it required quite a bit of effort to press the buttons especially when holding the iPhone 6 in one hand.

Other than that, getting to the hardware ports is pretty simple with the defender, sound isn’t muted (since they’re not covered with anything), the Touch ID membrane is pretty decent and our cell signal wasn’t affected.

For the screen usability, there is tiny gap so it does reduce the sensitivity of the touchscreen a bit. For most people, this shouldn’t be a problem but the edges right below the bottom of the iPhone’s touchscreen did get in the way of accessing the control panel every once in a while.

The screen protector on the Defender doesn’t sit quite flush on your iPhones screen so there is a tendency for reflected objects to have two reflections which adds to the minimal glare that comes off the screen. This will hamper the use of your iPhone 6 in the sun.

All in all, the Otterbox Defender is an average tough/protective case for your iPhone 6. It will protect your iPhone 6 from daily bumps and drops but don’t forget to clean it every once in a while.

Otterbox Defender Vs Symmetry Vs Commuter - iPhone 6 ComparisonsBetween the Symmetry, Commuter and Defender, we like the Symmetry the most. It’s the best built case out of the three but is a bit bulky for our liking as a slim case. The Otterbox Commuter is a poorly built case that we wouldn’t recommend to anybody. Between the Symmetry and Defender, you’re getting almost as much protection with the Symmetry (with screen protector installed) when compared to the Defender and it will wear better over time.

I’m a little annoyed with the Otterbox Defender because it is literally a direct copy of the Defender for the 5/5S that’s fitted to the 6. With every iteration of a product, a company has the opportunity to innovate/improve on their products. With the Defenders, nothing has changed. It’s still provides poor water/dust protection when compared to other cases and the rubber shell will mostly like stretch out over time.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Robert

    October 27, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    The sensitivety sucks and access to bottom scroll up is a one-in-10 success. The finger print scanner is also one in 10. The dust under the screen is by the shovel full. I am going to cut out the otter box plastic screen, put a zag protector on and then the otter box “exo skeleton” on… And tell anyone they are making a mistake with the otter box!

    • Aaron Ho

      October 27, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks for the comment. Have you tried contacting Otterbox support? Apparently there was a mix-up with the dimensions they were given by Apple so the first few cases were a little off. I’m in the process of filling out my Customer Service ticket.

      • Tim

        December 31, 2014 at 5:43 pm

        I pre-ordered the defender and it was a little off in specs causing me to mash the buttons in. Quick call to them and they happily replaced it without any issues.

  2. Jj

    December 2, 2014 at 2:26 am

    The otterbox for the iphone 6 is garbage. Haven’t even owned the new 6 for 7 days and put it in the case immediately after opening. Did not even turn it on yet before it went in the case. I notice some debri between the screen and protective screen today. Took the case apart to clean and there was a crack on the top of my iPhone 6! The otterbox claims to protect from debri/dust and drop protection. Obviously it’s a lie. I contacted their support center and all they want/can do is send me a different otterbox. Their product failed to protect my phone and thus I’m left with a 7 day old cracked iPhone 6. They stand by their product by sending you the same product that failed to protect your phone. I believe it’s false advertising. Just want to et the workd out here that the otterbox for the iPhone 6 is junk. The company is also a piece of feces. I’ve always owned them and never had an issue until now.

    • Tim

      December 31, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      Your phone screen was cracked before putting the phone into the case. plastic CANNOT and WILL NOT scratch or crack glass EVER. I can slam my 6 on a table with full force and throw it across a room. Never failed me…same with my 4S defender on a phone that is entirely glass. No cracks there either.

      • Matt Hayes

        April 11, 2015 at 4:17 am

        That’s a false statement look up Google iPhone 6 plus otter box defender marred my screen it happened to mine after 8 days in the case got pics to prove it. Need a class action against this stand up (down?) company.

        • Sharon

          October 18, 2015 at 5:14 pm

          I agree. I also have an iPhone 6 and the otterbox, which was put on it at at & t. Well, it caused a crack across my phone where the volume (+) is. I never dropped my phone. Sharon

  3. Brett

    December 27, 2014 at 2:48 am

    Like the defender so far, just kind of big (like every other defender) all In all a good case, pushed the screen protector out and am using a tech armor screen protector which makes the case even better without the old one.. Also any plans in the future on doing a review on the Magpul field case for the iPhone 6? Would really like to see how it does! Thanks for all you do, awesome reviews!

    • Aaron Ho

      December 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Glad the Defender is working out for you. The Magpul cases are on the list so stay tuned!

  4. Steve

    December 29, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    The Defender case sucks. I have to practically PUNCH the screen to type or do anything. The space between the protector and screen feels like I’m typing on a trampoline and doesn’t register some keystrokes. It’s sad because the Defender worked so good on my iPhone 5 that I really wanted it for my iPhone 6 Plus. I was hoping that it would stretch out, but it hasn’t.

  5. Luis

    January 17, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    I have had the same problem quite a disappointment. Have you tried using a film screen protector to eliminate / reduce the gap between the defenders screen protector and the actual screen? I thought about removing the plastic screen protector on the defender and use a regular film screen protector.

    • Aaron Ho

      January 23, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      I’ve heard people using another screen protector to reduce the gap and it seems to work.

      • Luis

        January 23, 2015 at 4:10 pm

        I just installed an OtterBox Clearly Protected Vibrant this morning. There is not as much bounce tapping the screen. I am still considering removing the Defender’s screen protector plastic. I may get some dust in but will have no interference between the screen and my finger.

        • Luis

          January 25, 2015 at 1:07 am

          I have been using my iPhone 6+ for a day without the OtterBox Defender case, just the OtterBox Clearly Protected Vibrant screen film. I now realize how incredibly poor is the performance with the Defender’s screen protector. So, I decided to remove it. I just used a hairdryer for two minutes to soften the glue, gave it a little push and clean the remaining residue with Goo-gone and then an alcohol wipe. I put everything back together, the Defender sans screen protector plus the screen film protector. It works great!!! Can’t be happier, I’d recommend it to anyone.

  6. Paul

    April 8, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Regarding the Otterbox Defender for iPhone 6- it seems they rushed to get out the first batch of cases. If you compare any of the colored cases to a black on black case purchased in the last month or so the black will cover the entire earphone plug and they made the lock and volume buttons much easier to use. I assume they updated the colored cases as well just the black on black sells better and the updated ones just hit the shelves faster. Hope this helps. No one seems to know this. Thank you for the service you provide. Very informative

  7. Pingback: Griffin Survivor – iPhone 6 Drop Test

  8. Harry

    July 9, 2015 at 5:03 am

    Had the defender on my iphone 5, it worked seamlessly. Put the defender on the iphone 6 and promptly took it off again. Can not swipe for the control panel or the side bar in contacts. Need both all the time. Don’t have an issue with bulk but it has to work. Maybe it’s time to look else-where, based on the reviews.

  9. Gerald

    November 13, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Is this case better than the Griffin Survivor Slim?

  10. Vitruvious

    November 21, 2015 at 3:08 am

    This case is a little bulky but worth it. No problems with touch sensitivity on a 6s, purchased 10/24/15. Wife dropped the phone an entire floor while walking down stairs and answering an email at work: Phone unscathed. Would recommend to anyone who doesn’t mind a little extra girth for excellent protection.

  11. John

    December 13, 2015 at 3:03 am

    Please see this website as the damage done to my iphone 6 was caused by an authentic otter box defender case. Many are victims as well. Please check out the info and comment.

    http://www.billgillam.com/blog/2014/10/29/otterbox-defender-case-damaged-iphone-6-screen.html

  12. CJ

    December 20, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    The otter box for the Ipad is a complete rip-off. I put it in my bag for a short period of time and when I took it out of my bag one of the corners of the defender layer completely broke. 90 dollars for a broken case.

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