iPhone 6(s+)

Otterbox Defender vs. Griffin Survivor – Tough iPhone 6 Cases


Which tough iPhone 6 case should you get? Find out in our Otterbox Defender vs. Griffin Survivor Comparison

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Looking for a tough iPhone 6 case? Well, we’ve got two of the most popular tough iPhone 6 cases out there, the Otterbox Defender and the Griffin Survivor. Both of these provide rugged protection for your iPhone 6 but are not waterproof and offer decent access to your iPhone 6. Based on our time with each of the iPhone cases, we give the Otterbox Defender a score of 3.4 Eh’s out of 5 and the Griffin Survivor getting a score of 3.8 Eh’s out of 5.

We recommend the Survivor over the Defender any day of the week. The Griffin Survivor is the better case, it offers better protection and better access to your iPhone inside the case. Overall, it seems like Griffin is doing better with their cases because between the Survivor for the iPhone 5 and 6, Griifin’s removed the camera flaps which was a big hassle for a lot of people. I’ve even lost the camera flap on my Survivor. Watching Griffin improve the survivor is a great thing to see.

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Design – The Griffin Survivor is the bigger case

Otterbox Defender Vs Griffin Survivor Comparison - Camera CutoutThe Griffin Survivor survivor is the thicker case between these two but both cases are large enough that it is difficult to use your iPhone 6 in one hand. The ease of installation goes to the Survivor as you only have to snap two pieces together whereas the Defender requires you to pack the rubber shell into a ridge. Taking the case apart is painful as well as you have to pick at an edge until it comes out of the groove on the case.

In terms of build quality, the Griffin Survivor feels solid, even after a few drops. Out of the box, the Defender feels solid as well but we know that the case will stretch out over time. Many of our readers and viewers have commented on how much the case stretches out over time.

Both cases are quite rubbery and will not easily slip out of your hand though the Griffen Survivor seems to attract pocket lint quite easily.


Protection – This case will ensure your iPhone survives almost anything

Otterbox Defender Vs Griffin Survivor Comparison - Dust/Water ProtectionThe Griffin Survivor is drop rated up to a height of 6.6ft and is rated to meet Mil-Spec 810G whereas the Otterbox Defender isn’t rated to any specification (and costs $10 dollars more). From our drop tests for both cases, we noticed that the flaps covering the ports may come undone during the drops. We took the drop test for the Otterbox to the extreme by throwing it 40 ft into the air. The iPhone 6 survived though it did bend a little. For the Griffin, we took it to a height of approx. 6 ft and dropped the case and the iPhone 6 survived.

In terms of water protection, the Griffin Survivor isn’t waterproof but will keep water out better than the Otterbox Defender because all the holes on the Survivor are either covered up by a membrane or a flap. On the Defender, the there are large cutouts for the camera and speaker ports that are not covered.

In terms of dust protection, like the water protection, we’ve discovered in our Otterbox Defender vs. Griffin Survivor comparison that the Survivor is better because of how covered the cutouts are. The dust protection for the Survivor has gotten better as the flap/cutout for the camera flash has been replaced with a plastic membrane that covers the flash and camera. This essentially removes another large opening where dust and water can enter the Griffin Survivor.

For screen protection, both of these cases have plastic screen protectors. For the Otterbox Defender, the case landed face first in a gravel parking lot and the screen on the iPhone 6 was fine.Otterbox Defender Vs Griffin Survivor Comparison - TouchID


Functionality – One of these cases makes it hard to use your iPhone 6

Accessing your iPhone 6 through the Griffin Survivor is one of its best features. The buttons are easy to use, the Touch ID membrane works, sound is effected by the case and we didn’t notice a difference in signal attenuation. On the other hand, getting to your volume buttons and power buttons on your iPhone 6 through your Otterbox Defender is a bit difficult because of the rubber shell. The shell will get looser over time which makes it easier but still, you’d think the #1 selling case company in the US and Canada would have a case that allows you to easily access your iPhone.

Otterbox Defender Vs Griffin Survivor Comparison - iPHone 6 ButtonsIn terms of accessing your touchscreen, the Griffin Survivor doesn’t get in the way. There is a slightly noticeable gap between the screen protector and the touch screen but you’re not going to bothered by it unless your actively looking for the gap. The gap on the Otterbox Defender is larger than the Survivor so it does numb the sensitivity of the case a bit. Some of our viewers have complained about this gap.

The worst part of the Griffin Survivor is actually the screen view ability of your iPhone 6 which is the Otterbox Defenders best feature. The Griffin Survivor doesn’t suffer from any rainbowing effects but it does diffuse the iPhone’s touch screen. This diffusion seems to pixelate the Retina HD screen of your iPhone and for me personally, this bothers me a bit because I really like the crispness of my iPhone’s screen. The Otterbox Defender’s screen protector does allow you to enjoy the Retina HD screen of your iPhone 6.

On top of having superior protection and better design, another fact in deciding which case to get comes down to price. The Griffin Survivor is $10 dollars cheaper than the Otterbox Defender which is a great deal considering you get a case that is much better.


Have questions about our Otterbox Defender vs. Griffin Survivor comparison? Please ask them on our Google+ page or on our Facebook page.



  1. Greg

    October 30, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Greetings Aaron (and Monty!):

    Thanks for the comparison, since I want to get a very protective case BEFORE I buy an iPhone 6 plus (replacing a 3GS in an Otterbox Defender). I appreciate why you liked the Survivor, but am not sure it’s for me since it’s even thicker than the Defender, the screen protector distorts the Retina display, and I rarely pocket my phone, so I really need a reliable, secure holster.

    Does the holster on the Griffin Survivor grip securely? How hard is it to replace the Griffin screen protector with something better like a Spigen GLAS.tR SLIM?

    The Thule Atmos with a screen protector would be my choice, but there’s no belt clip or holster. Know of any aftermarket ones?

    Keep the awesome reviews and comparos coming! And more Monty.

    FYI – While reading the “Otterbox Defender vs. Griffin Survivor – Tough iPhone 6 Cases” review, when I clicked to get the full review on the Griffin, the link went to the Lifeproof Nuud 5s review.

    • Aaron Ho

      October 30, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      Thanks for pointing out the broken link! The holster on the Survivor isn’t great…if it gets torn out roughly, there is a chance that the screen protector pops off the case a bit. I personally wouldn’t replace the screen protector on the case. I’ve got a ZeroLemon protector on my desk right now which seems pretty tough. It installs like a slim case but has pretty thick bumpers around it. You can install 3rd party screen protectors on it as well.

  2. Steve Elliott

    November 21, 2014 at 10:27 am

    You listed the wrong price for the Otterbox Defender for the Iphone 6 plus. It cost $69.90 not $59.95 . I like the Otterbox Defender better because of the better quality holder. Spigen and Incipio Dualpro makes some very nice cases except they don’t make any case holders for them which is a big deal breaker for me. I like wearing my phone on my belt or use the clip to hang on my pants pocket. I don’t mind having a thick case for my Iphone 6 plus. A lot of people buy cheap thin cases and they drop it then it gets damaged. You need to lose the Canadian flag where you post your review points, it looks tacky especially when Americans look at it. I have heard many people are complaining about a design flaw with the screen protector for the Otterbox Defender on their own website. It sounds to me like the Griffin has the same problem. I wonder if you can use an Otterbox Defender belt clip holder on a griffin case? I really enjoyed your review, but still can’t figure out why you like the Griffin case much better.

    • Aaron Ho

      November 21, 2014 at 10:49 pm

      Thanks for the comment. The pricing on the Otterbox Website shows 59.95 for the iPhone 6 version. If you’re looking for a belt holster, the Sedio cases might be up your alley.

      I don’t have any Canadian flags on my posts. I have maple leafs but not Canadian flags. Regardless, the branding stays.

      The Defender clip won’t fit with the Survivor and I like the Survivor mostly because it keeps the functionality of the iPhone. The Defender, with its poor fit, the bump in the screen protector (which minimizes the sensitivity of the iPhone as well as adding to glare) is a poor case, especially for the price.

  3. Molly Walker

    November 29, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve used the Otterbox Defender for years on my previous iPhones, but this and other reviews about the screen protector not sitting flush has me worried. I don’t drop my phone regularly, but more than I would like. I’m not sure what case to get now, is the Defender still worth it?

  4. Franklin Forbes

    January 12, 2015 at 12:27 am

    just want to say i love this website keep up the good work THANK YOU.

  5. Hugo

    April 6, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Hey Aaron, just wanna start by saying you do some great reviews.

    My girlfriend is looking to buy either the Griffin Survivor or the Otterbox Defender. I personally love the Defender but after reading this review I’m not sure which one she should get. My two main doubts are how easy is it for the Survivor to open up because of a fall and how much damage can be brought onto the phone because of dust coming into the Defender.

  6. Hugo

    April 6, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    I forgot to mention the price is actually in favor of the Defender ($40 against $50 for the Survivor)

  7. Erik

    May 14, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    First I’d like to thank you for the great reviews!

    I’ m using the Survivor since october 2014. I’m someone who realy takes good care for his stuff, so I’ve placed my brand new iPhone 6 in the case before I turned it on for the very first time. Out of the box into the Survivor.

    Since I’m using the Survivor I had to take out my iPhone a couple of times because there were dust and sand under the screen protector and at the back of the iPhone. Because of this my iPhone got a bit damaged. I’m realy disapointed about this cause I can’t trust the case…

    Kind regards!

  8. Tad Pepper

    July 12, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    First, thanks for all the reviews, information and opinions! I just found your site and already it’s provided a wealth of information.
    Here’s my question. I have an iPhone 6 plus, I am a holster guy, meaning I like my phone on my hip not in my pocket. I have read a lot to my our reviews and watched lots of your videos. Can you suggest a case the has a holster other then the otter box defender. Water proof is not required, so drop proofing would be good, screen protector is ok but I have ghost sheiks on the phone already.
    I would just like your opinion or suggestion. I am having a hard time deciding and there does not seem to be spot of options.
    Thanks for your time and effort on all the reviews!

  9. Stephanie

    July 26, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I bought Defender and I soon regretted it. It makes pressing the power and volume buttons impossible. You have to press down really hard. The screen protector makes typing hard. You have to press down very slowly. That is a deal breaker because I type really fast. Needless to say, I am taking this back to Best Buy and going to get a Survivor.

    • Aaron Ho

      July 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      I do believe there are some issues with the Survivor as well…just be warned!

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