iPhone 7

Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry – iPhone 7(+) Cases

Figure out which Otterbox iPhone 7 case is right for you in our Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry Comparison

Is your heart set on getting an Otterbox case for your iPhone 7? Or are you reading this article while in a big box store and all you have in front of you are Otterbox cases? Well, we can definitely help you decide which case to get. Looking for other iPhone 7 cases? Check out our comparison tool for iPhone 7 cases.

Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry – iPhone 7 CasesUnlike our comparison for the iPhone 6 versions of the case, we can’t say for certain which case is better. The Commuter fit the iPhone 7 quite well (which wasn’t the case for the iPhone 6 version), and it’s been updated with better grips along the side of the case. The Commuter offers a bit more protection than the Symmetry as there is a port cover on the Lightning port. See if Amazon has the Commuter in stock!

The Otterbox Symmetry is a decent case but with the back of the case is quite slick so it will slide around a bit more than the Commuter. Also, the corners are slick which means there is a higher chance that the case will fall out of your hand. With that being said, it is a good case for an office dweller. Our Symmetry was pink and baby blue, wonder what other colour combinations are on Amazon?

The Otterbox Defender is the toughest case out of the three. We know the slipcover on the case will stretch out over time and people tend to pull the port covers off, but we’ve seen Otterbox Defenders last 2-3 years(an office mate has one their iPhone 5s still). The Defender will protect your iPhone 7 as the iPhone 6 version protected our iPhone from a 40 ft. drop. See if you pick one up on Amazon.

Pretty simple right? It sort of is. Below is a comparison table that might help you out. Check out the full tables here.

 Otterbox DefenderOtterbox SymmetryOtterbox Commuter
(out of 5)

(out of 5)

(out of 5)
iPhone 7: $49.95 USD
iPhone 7+: $59.95 USD
iPhone 7: $39.95 USD
iPhone 7+: $49.95 USD
iPhone 7: $39.95 USD
iPhone 7+: $49.95 USD
- Fairly tough case
- No noticeable gap on the case (unlike our previous Defenders)
- Tougher than the average slim iPhone case
- Tougher than the average slim iPhone case
- Handles slightly better than the Symmetry
- BIG!
- Slipcover may stretch over time
- Plugs can be torn off
- Buttons are slightly tougher to use
- Larger than the average case
- Back is very slick
- Hard to use one-handed
- Larger than the average case
- Back is quite slick
- What happened to the screen protector?


Design – Slim or Rugged, none of these cases are sleek like the iPhone 7

Design - Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry – iPhone 7 CasesBetween these three cases, the Defender is the thickest and widest case followed by the Symmetry and Commuter. All of these cases are bigger than the average iPhone 7 case but the extra bulk generally means extra protection.

The Symmetry is a little different than the iPhone 6 version as Otterbox has increased the amount rubber on the front which improves the handling of the case.

The Commuter has improved grips along the side and doesn’t stretch out as much as the previous versions. We’d still recommend taking the Commuter off every once in a while to clean the iPhone as dust/debris may collect between the iPhone and case.

The design of the Defender has changed (we’ve been reviewing them since the iPhone 5). The iPhone sits in a polycarbonate shell and is held together by a TPU sleeve (called the Slipcover). We know that the Slipcover stretches out over time and the port covers have been issues for many users. Buyer beware! The iPhone isn’t completely sealed which leads to poor dust/debris protection which we’ll talk about below.

Protection – The Otterbox Defender is a tough case…if you clean it.

Regarding protection, Otterbox doesn’t rate any of these cases to Mil-STD 810G but to their own Otterbox Drop Certification. For the Commuter and Symmetry, we’d be very comfortable dropping our iPhones from chest height whereas the Defender; you could do whatever you want to the iPhone from whatever height.

Regarding water and dust protection, none of the cases is waterproof, and only the Commuter and Defender offer above average dust protection. However, the edges of the Commuter are a tad pliable so dust/debris can get between the iPhone and the case. As we mentioned above, cleaning the setup is recommended.

Our issue with the Otterbox Defender has to deal with the cutout on the front. Dust/debris will start collecting between the screen protector and the iPhone’s screen which isn’t good. We’re not concerned with the back because the foam around the cutout will keep dust/debris out.

For screen protection, the edges are high enough to keep the iPhone’s screen off a flat surface. The Commuter’s of past came with a screen protector, but the one for the iPhone 7 didn’t which was a bit disappointing. The Defender has a screen protector that’s decent and doesn’t diffuse the Retina HD screen.

Functionality – Get to your iPhone without any issue

Port Access - Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry – iPhone 7 CasesThe buttons on all three cases work well though the Commuter still has the best buttons. The edges of the cases don’t get in the way, and the screen protector on the Defender sits fairly flush to the screen so there wasn’t any noticeable sensitivity loss.

The Lightning port is covered by the Commuter and Defender’s ports, and they’re not annoying to use like other cases.

Have questions about our Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry post? Please ask them below, or on our Google+ page or our Facebook page or our About Us page. To stay up to date on everything we’re doing, check out our Twitter and Instagram feeds!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joey

    October 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    May I ask two quick questions:

    1. Can I use a screen protector with symmetry?
    2. How abt the achiever model?

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