iPhone 7

Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry vs Pursuit – iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 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 Commuter

Otterbox Commuter Review - Galaxy S7 - Dual layered case


  • Larger than the average case
  • Back is quite slick
  • What happened to the screen protector?


  • Larger than the average case
  • Back is very slick
  • Hard to use one-handed

3.9 Eh's out of 5

Unlike our comparison for the iPhone 6 versions of the case, we can’t say for certain which case is better. The Otterbox 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 Otterbox Commuter offers a bit more protection than the Otterbox Symmetry as there is a port cover on the lightning port.

Otterbox Symmetry


  • Tougher than the average slim iPhone case


  • Larger than the average case
  • Back is very slick
  • Hard to use one-handed

3.6 Eh's out of 5

The Otterbox Symmetry is a decent case. However, the back of the case is quite slick so it will slide around a bit more than the Otterbox 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.


Otterbox Defender

Ballistic Hardcore vs Otterbox Defender Comparison


  • Fairly tough case
  • No noticeable gap on the case (unlike our previous Defenders)


  • BIG!
  • Slipcover may stretch over time
  • Plugs can be torn off
  • Buttons are slightly tougher to use

4 Eh's out of 5

The Otterbox Defender is the toughest case out of the four. 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 Otterbox Defender will protect your iPhone 7 as the iPhone 6 version protected our iPhone from a 40 ft. drop.

Otterbox Pursuit

Otterbox Pursuit - iPhone 7 Case Reviews


  • Thin, modern design
  • Sealed camera opening
  • Lanyard attachment available


  • Not fully waterproof
  • Quite expensive
  • No screen protector

4.1 Eh's out of 5

The Otterbox Pursuit will offer your iPhone better protection than the average tough case and feels slimmer than the average tough case. Otterbox has done a good job ensuring dust and debris doesn’t touch most of your iPhone.


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

Design - Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry – iPhone 7 Cases

Between these four cases, the Otterbox Defender is the thickest and widest case followed by the Otterbox Pursuit, Symmetry and Commuter. All of these cases are bigger than the average iPhone 7 case but the extra bulk generally means extra protection.

The Otterbox 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 Otterbox Commuter has improved grips along the side and doesn’t stretch out as much as the previous versions. We’d still recommend taking the Otterbox 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 Otterbox Defender , on the other hand, 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. The iPhone isn’t completely sealed which leads to poor dust/debris protection.

While the middle of the Otterbox Pursuit is quite thin which reduces the feeling of “bulk” in the case. The case will wear well over time but drops will be noticeable on the case.

Wear and Tear - Otterbox Pursuit Review for the iPhone 7

Installation of the Otterbox Pursuit  is simple as you snap two pieces together. Taking the Otterbox Pursuit off is simple as well if you use a coin to pop the bottom apart. The backside of the case is slick which isn’t great but the rubbered bottom and edge provide enough texture for day to day usage.


Regarding protection, Otterbox doesn’t rate any of these cases to Mil-STD 810G but to their own Otterbox Drop Certification. For the Otterbox Pursuit, Commuter and Symmetry, we’d be very comfortable dropping our iPhones from chest height whereas the Otterbox 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 Otterbox Commuter and Defender offer above average dust protection. However, the edges of the  Otterbox 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 Otterbox Commuter’s of past came with a screen protector, but the one for the iPhone 7 didn’t which was a bit disappointing. This is also our gripe with the Otterbox Pursuit, for $ 80 dollars your case still leaves your most vulnerable part of the iPhone exposed. This is more disappointing when you realize Otterbox Defender is packaged with a decent one and the screen protector also doesn’t diffuse the HD retina display,

The Otterbox Pursuit is probably the best Otterbox case for dust and debris protection. The lightning port has a tight fitting plug and the camera cutouts are surrounded by foam which keeps dust and debris from collecting inside the case. The edges of the case are high enough to keep the screen off a flat surface.

For extra protection, Otterbox Puruit also comes with a lanyard loop!

Functionality - Get to your iPhone without any issue

Port Access - Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry – iPhone 7 Cases

The buttons on all four cases work well though the Otterbox Commuter still has the best buttons. The edges of the cases don’t get in the way, and the screen protector on the Otterbox Defender sits fairly flush to the screen so there wasn’t any noticeable sensitivity loss.

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

So this is our  Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry vs Pursuit!  Have any questions? Leave them below! Definitely SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel to stay on top of all the new things we are review!

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Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry - The Best Otterbox case for the iPhone 7
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Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry - The Best Otterbox case for the iPhone 7
Looking to get an Otterbox case for your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus? Check out what we think the differences are in our Otterbox Defender vs Commuter vs Symmetry comparison!
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Mobile Reviews Eh!
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  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?

  2. Dean Webb

    September 13, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    Will The defender or the pursuit cover any part of the screen on the iPhone 8+ or the X

    • Aaron Ho

      September 18, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Not the 8+, not sure about the X

  3. Doug

    September 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    I have read and watched reviews were the Defender case for the iphone7 has left marks near the home button. The guy in the video showed how the different plastic used for fingerprint ID reading causes a discoloration/damage to the iphone screen.

    Has anyone who has used the defender case checked their phone and did this happen?
    Also anyone take the screen off their defender and throw on a tempered glass protector?

  4. Joe

    September 20, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Hard to tell if the Symmetry is thinner than the Commuter. Which one is less bulky?

    • Aaron Ho

      September 27, 2017 at 12:06 am

      The Symmetry has a slimmer profiel.

  5. George Simon

    September 26, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Called Otterbox and asked which of their cases will work on the Iphone 8 with the new wireless charging stations….
    They said they’ve all
    Been tested and all work….
    Have you folks tested this function ??

    • Aaron Ho

      September 27, 2017 at 12:06 am

      I’ve been playing around with the wireless chargers and anything thicker 1 cm will be an issue. I don’t think any of the OTterbox cases are that thick.

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