Otter Box Defender iPad Case Review

On September 9, 2010

Recently, we got our hands on a few Otterbox cases for our iPads, the Defender and Commuter cases.  The first of our tests were done on the Otterbox Defender case for the iPad.

Otterbox is known for building some of the worlds most protective cases, and the Defender case is no exception.  What makes the Otterbox design unique from others is that their cases almost always involve having 2 different ‘skins’ wrapping around your device, and this is how the Defender case is designed.

The first thing we noticed was that the hardshell case (the one fitting around the iPad first) had a nice snug fit.  It took us a minute or so to get it on completely, but once it was on, we had no doubt this case would not be moving around at all.  The hardshell case comes with a detachable bottom plate which can be removed to dock the iPad with the Apple dock.  This feature makes it very easy to charge and stand the iPad upright without having to remove it from the case.  A definite feature that we miss in a lot of other competitive cases.  The other thing we noticed right away was the hardshell snap on screen protector which covers the entire front of the iPads screen and provides protection in case you drop the iPad screen first.

The second skin made from a silicon material is then stretched over the hardshell case providing a "cushion" protection to the iPad, and adds a nice grip and ease of holding the iPad without worrying it will slip out of your hands.  The added texture to the skin makes it that much easier to get an easy grip around the bottom and edges, and makes the exterior look good.

We also liked the plastic ‘window’ on the back of the case so that you could not scratch that part of your iPad but still see Apple’s logo.

At first, we thought that the large silicon skin would get in the way of pressing all of the buttons easily on the iPad, and at first we had to get used to pressing a little harder than usual.  After a while though, we got used to the required pressure and using all of the button controls became easier and never required a second thought.

The case travelled with us over 2 weeks on planes, in cars, and one time on a boat (we took a vacation with it), and even though it was handled by 2 young kids a few times, its extra bulk never really got in the way and made us feel a lot better about being "rough" with the iPad.  The one thing we did notice though was that the case adds some weight to the iPad, not enough to make it less portable, but enough to notice the difference and want us to put the iPad down more often.

The other thing we tried a few times was the built in stand that is attached to the front screen protector.  This stand allows you to prop up the iPad so that you could use it horizontally.  Although it worked well for watching video on the plane and surfing the web at the hotel, it didn’t feel as comfortable typing as the built in incline that Apple builds into their slip in folio case.

We thought that was a small price to pay for such great protection and if your looking for the case to protect your iPad when your taking it out on the road, letting the kids play on it, or rough housing with it, the Otterbox Defender is the only choice for such serious protection.