Is your heart set on getting an Otterbox case for your iPhone XS? Or are Otterbox cases the only cases you find on every store you went into? Well, here’s a definitive guide to the age old question of whether you should get an Otterbox Defender, Otterbox Commuter or Otterbox Symmetry!
At Mobile Reviews Eh!, we do reviews based on actual usage. We do tests and use the products for days and maybe weeks. We have done a lot of Otterbox roundups like these for years, so you know we are pros when it comes to Otterbox cases/
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- Protects your iPhone
- Covers most of the iPhone
- No plastic screen protector/no screen damage
- Has a belt clip
- No screen protector
Otterbox Defender is probably the longest running iPhone case in the history of iPhone cases. Itʼs probably why people keep defaulting back to it.
The Otterbox Defender is one of the biggest cases weʼve ever reviewed and thankfully, they decided to get rid of the plastic screen protector. We didnʼt mind it for the iPhone 5ʼs but the moment TouchID was a thing, the cutout at the bottom became a repository for dust and debris. The screenless editions work quite well with Edge to Edge screen protectors which is great
We will admit that the Otterbox Defender is a tank of the case. There arenʼt many existing cases now that surrounds their iPhone with foam, PC and a TPU cover. The only other case that follows this trend is the Spigen ProGuard and itʼs not being made for the iPhone XS which is too bad.
However, now that iPhones can take a hit even without the cases the only reason we’d get the Otterbox Defender is for the belt clip. The belt clip is such a relic of a bygone era and for a while, it seemed like everybody had a belt-clip case. The iPhone 5ʼs and 6 eraʼs were very popular for belt-clip cases but they all disappeared for the iPhone 7’s and beyond. But the Otterbox Defender still has one so we guess if you stick around long enough that the demand will eventually come back?
- Great buttons
- Lots of different designs
- Slick back
Even though the old Otterbox Symmetry was never highly rated in the scoring system, we still like it because it was a solid feeling case with tougher than average buttons. The design of the Otterbox Symmetry hasnʼt really changed in a few years. But with the iPhone XS, Otterbox rolled out the Otterbox Symmetry with a new thin design.
Our first impression of Otterbox Symmetry was that all Otterbox did was remove the TPU lining on the inside of the case and make the PC slightly thinner in order to shave 1mm off the thickness of the case. It seemed more like a cost saving measure while keeping the Otterbox Symmetry at the same price point. Which means Otterbox makes more money.
This impression still stands after a couple days of use but Otterbox has done a little bit more than just reduce the materials in the case. The smaller case is still quite rigid as the PC back isnʼt going to flex much during a face first drop. The bottom of the older Otterbox Symmetry was thicker than the top but itʼs the same thickness across the entire device for the new Otterbox Symmetry.
When it comes to drop protection, the slimmer case design isnʼt going to offer as much drop protection as the thicker old case. But the new slimmer design would at least protect your iPhone from a waist height.
The biggest difference from the old and new Otterbox Symmetry is the buttons. With a thinner case, we were expecting a small bump in button access. However, thatʼs not the case for this new Otterbox Symmetry. The buttons on the Otterbox Symmetry went from being hard to use to one of the best that weʼve ever used. The updated buttons on the Otterbox Symmetry float in the case, similar to the Rhinoshield MOD buttons. The buttons make a world of difference when it comes to iPhone access. It wonʼt seem like much when we’re talking about it but trust us, it is. We think there can be a bit more fine-tuning with the buttons as they do rattle a tiny amount. Also, the updated buttons arenʼt as pronounce as the old ones.
- Decent buttons
- Handles better than the Otterbox Symmetry
- Better dust protection
- Dust might be an issue around the buttons
- Will slide around easier than other cases
The Otterbox Commuter hasn’t been updated for the iPhone XS (we think). Otterbox didnʼt include one on the package they sent us. But the iPhone X version we used earlier this year wasnʼt any different than the versions we used for the iPhone 6-8ʼs.
In fact, we think Otterbox didn’t make an Otterbox Commuter for the iPhone XS because their webpage heavily featured the Otterbox Symmetry, Otterbox Defender and Otterbox Pursuit series.
Prior to the iPhone XS, we actually preferred the Otterbox Commuter over the Otterbox Symmetry solely because the buttons on the case were easier to use than the Otterbox Symmetry. The updated Otterbox Symmetry makes it a non-issue so the only reason why we would get the Otterbox Commuter would be if we wanted a dust cover on the lightning port. However itʼs a bit funny because the dust cover is great but the TPU edge of the case along the top of the case are quite pliable to dust. Debris will also have an easy time getting into the case.
The only other reason we can think of why you would get the Otterbox Commuter is the ability to customize the colors of the PC shell and TPU.