iPhone X

Which case is best? Otterbox Defender vs. Defender Pro vs. Otterbox Pursuit

Thinking of buying an Otterbox case for your new iPhone XS? We recommend Otterbox Pursuit. The Otterbox Pursuit is probably one of the best cases we’ve used. 

If you just want a tried and tested case that literally didn’t change the past few years, go with the Otterbox Defender. If you need something with anti-microbial protection, then get the Otterbox Defender Pro. Need more info? Find out more in our Otterbox Defender vs. Defender Pro vs. Otterbox Pursuit comparison!

Otterbox Defender

Otterbox Defender iPhone XS version

4 Eh’s out of 5

Otterbox Defender Pro

Otterbox Defender Pro

4.1 Eh’s out of 5

Otterbox Pursuit

Otterbox Pursuit iPhone XS version

4.2 Eh’s out of 5

At Mobile Reviews Eh!, we do reviews based on actual usage. We do tests and use the products for days and maybe weeks. In fact, we have accumulated a wealth of knowledge when it comes to iPhone cases. Weʼre no strangers to Otterbox as weʼve been doing awful things to our iPhones in Otterbox cases for nearly 5 years now.

If you like how we do our reviews, please consider buying the products on the links scattered on this article.


Between Otterbox Defender, Defender Pro and Pursuit, the thinnest is the Otterbox Pursuit while the biggest is the Otterbox Defender Pro. To be honest,  Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro are almost both the same size.  However, the Otterbox Defender Pro does weight a few more grams because of the extra thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) that covers the Apple Logo.

Despite the large size of the Otterbox Defender, the case handles relatively well because of the TPU cover. Any more polycarbonate (PC) on the outside of the case and the  Otterbox Defender would become quite useless.

Different width of the Otterbox cases iPhone XS ver

In terms of overall size, the Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro are consistently the largest cases weʼve ever used for any iPhone. And this is a good thing for protection and not a great thing for usability.

Installing your iPhone is actually quite similar between the Otterbox Defender, Defender Pro and Pursuit. For the 2018 iPhones, Otterbox updated the Otterbox Pursuit. This method of installing through the front is definitely better than the old way of snapping everything along the middle.

How to install the new Otterbox Pursuit:

  1. Peel back the TPU edge and remove the front panel
  2. Put the iPhone in the back panel
  3. Reinstall the front panel
  4. Then press the TPU into the front panel.
Installation of Otterbox Defenders

For the Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro:

  1. Remove the TPU sleeve
  2. Take the PC frame apart
  3. Place your iPhone in the frame
  4. Reverse the process.

In general, the Otterbox Defender, Defender Pro and Pursuit fit quite well. We wouldn’t say this comment on the older versions of the cases. The older Otterbox Defender’s screen protectors were garbage. We were glad that Otterbox decided that the OLED screenʼs were too nice to cover with a plastic screen protector.

When it comes to sliding around the Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro will basically stay in one place whereas the Otterbox Pursuit will slide around a little easier than we would like. This is odd because the old Otterbox Pursuit has only one side that slides around an air hockey puck.

Weight of the Otterbox Defenders

Both Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro weigh in the mid-70 gram range whereas the Otterbox Pursuit is only 44 grams. If youʼre going with the Otterbox Defender, know that youʼre adding on an extra 30% in terms of weight.

When it comes to general wear and tear, both Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro will suffer through drops better as the PC on the Otterbox Pursuit will scuff up a bit. However, on a long term, we know from experience that the TPU sleeve on the older Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro would stretch out over time. But as of now we haven’t heard if that is also the case for the newer versions.

Wear and tear of Otterbox cases

When it comes to the texture of the case, itʼs hard to beat the TPU covers of the Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro. However, be mindful that the downside of having lots of texture is that you might pull out the linings of your pocket. Not to mention, itʼs going to attract dust and lint like nobodyʼs business.

The Otterbox Pursuit has TPU along the edges of the case which helps with the handling and the PC back is a little easier to deal with in your pockets.

Personally, we were impressed with the design of the Otterbox Pursuitʼs edges as the angle of the case makes the iPhone easier to use. The thicker front of the case means that our fingertips have a stronger hold on the device which is great considering Appleʼs latest iPhoneʼs cost as much as some laptops.

Between the Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro, the biggest obvious difference in texture is the removal of the Apple cutout on the Otterbox Defender Pro. But if you look closely at the TPU cover, youʼll see the Otterbox Defender Pro has a lot more texture which theoretically will enhance the grip on the case. But with the TPU of Otterbox Defender Pro, the added texture is almost overkill.

You might be thinking weʼve left out the biggest marketing feature of the Otterbox  Defender Pro which is the Otterarmor Microbial Defense. According to Otterbox, this feature is going to kill off common germs. If you haven’t heard, our smartphone are just a cesspool of germs. It seems like everything our bodies try to get rid of ends up on our devices so having a feature that kills off these germs would be smart.

However as a product reviewer, we try to test these marketed features but given our lack of knowledge about growing microbial cultures, we have no idea if itʼs going to work.

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Weʼve found that accessing an iPhone through Otterbox products was subpar over the years. For the Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro, our biggest complaint was the screen protectors. Those would suck the joy out of using your iPhoneʼs screen as well as damage it over time.

When Apple moved to OLED screenʼs in the iPhone X, Otterbox decided it was a good idea to remove the screen protector and thatʼs a great move.

Otterbox old screen protectors

In general, the buttons on the iPhone can be accessed through the Otterbox Defender, Defender Pro and Pursuit without much hassle. For all three cases, the button access has gotten better between the older versions of the cases and the newer ones. On the original Otterbox Pursuit, using the buttons was difficult because of the design. The newer Otterbox Pursuit allows for better access.

Otterbox new buttons

The Otterbox Pursuitʼs mute switch is easily accessible which is different than the old version. The old Otterbox Pursuit had an incredibly frustrating tiny switch. 

The sound of the speakers is also projected to the front and thereʼs a dust mesh at the bottom which adds to the dust protection of the bottom. The lighting port on the Otterbox Pursuit is covered and the cover fits surprisingly well.

Otterbox Pursuit iPhone XS ver speaker cutout
Otterbox cases lightning ports

On the Otterbox Defender, there are flaps that cover the mute and ports and those flaps literally flap. The speakers arenʼt covered like the Otterbox Pursuit. The belt holster is handy for those with tight jeans and can function as a stand as well. None of this should be new to anybody because itʼs been like this for years.

The only thing that you canʼt really use is a charging stand with these products.

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Otterbox blazes their own path by saying their products are Otterbox Drop+Protection Certified. This logo will make you feel like your iPhone is incredibly tough because there is the word Drop, thereʼs a + symbol and the word Protection. The combination makes it seem like the Otterbox cases provide above average drop protection. Doesnʼt it?

Actually, the logo really signifies that the case will offer an undisclosed amount of drop protection and a bunch of other things that Otterbox protects against like Purell. Itʼs an incredibly smart piece of marketing. Most companies say there product is Mil-STD 810G certified, which says the case will protect at least  a 4 ft drop but we canʼt find anything like that for the Otterbox cases

In general, the bulkier the case, the tougher itʼs going to be. Thereʼs so much plastic and rubber on the Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro that your iPhone is going to be able to take a beating. Thatʼs probably the #1 reason why people keep deferring back to the Otterbox Defender because they know itʼs going to save their iPhones. These stupid little pocket computers arenʼt getting any cheaper any time soon.

Otterbox iPhone XS versions drop tests

Based on our drop test, your iPhone is going to be able to take anything you throw at it on a day to day basis. Just remember to get screen protector for your case. We will add that the Otterbox Defender Pro is going to be a tougher than the regular Otterbox Defender. It wasnʼt obvious to us because the dimensions of the case are almost identical but the TPU cover of the Otterbox Defender Pro is thicker by about 10%. Again, the bulkier the case, the more protection itʼs going to offer. By how much? We have no idea.

Between the three cases, the Otterbox Defender and Defender Pro are going to be tougher than the Otterbox Pursuit. However Otterbox Pursuit is going to be tougher than the Symmetry, Traction and Strada and defiantly tougher than the average iPhone case.

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So this is our Otterbox Defender vs. Defender Pro vs Otterbox 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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Which case is best? Otterbox Defender vs. Defender Pro vs. Otterbox Pursuit
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Which case is best? Otterbox Defender vs. Defender Pro vs. Otterbox Pursuit
Has Otterbox cases gotten any tougher over the years? In our Otterbox Defender vs. Defender Pro vs. Otterbox Pursuit comparison, we've discovered that the Pro is going to be slightly tougher.
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Mobile Reviews Eh!
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