Review - Otterbox Armor iPhone Case

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This review was also broadcast on the MacReviewCast #148.

Remember when the iPhone first released and there were just 3 cases on the market? Well that was eight months ago and now there are more like 3,000 cases on the market. To be honest I had little interest in any of them. I have an invisible shield on my phone (although I’m often tempted to remove that as well) and that is it. It works fine. Fits in my pocket and gives me no troubles.

I must admit however that I was very intrigued by the products offered by OtterBox. They specialize in cases that are more functional than pretty. Put simply, Otterbox is in the protection business.

The reason I was attracted to Otterbox is that while I usually don’t need a case at all, I sometimes need one desperately. Our home is very near some of the areas that got burned out in the California fires this year and I’ve taken to hiking through the woods and taking pictures. Likewise, I often find myself chasing my kids through things like tidepools and beaches with my phone in my pocket.

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This is why I got an Otterbox Armor iPhone case. This case is the Sherman tank of iPhone cases. It opens with two sturdy latches. Inside is a stereo plug that slides into your iPhone and a rubber grip to hold it snug.

You then close the case and lock it down with the side tabs. On the outside is a translucent material that allows you to operate the touch interface with a noticeable, but not unusable, bit of resistance. This may have been amplified my invisible shield. It has an external headphone jack (not recessed) and external buttons that (with some mashing) give you access to all of your primary iPhone buttons and controls. It even has small diaphragm type devices over the speakers.

Put simply, this rugged case makes your iphone waterproof, dustproof, dirtproof, sandproof, and drop-proof, kid-proof, tidepool proof, and just about anything else-proof. It has rubber on the inside and protective plastic rubbery stuff on the outside which would allow you to confidently spike your phone on the ground with little fear of damage. I don’t think there is another iPhone case out there that could take a beating the way this one could. It can even go underwater. That is right. The iPhone submarine. According to the manufacturer it could go as deep as three feet.

Now I love participating in the Mac community and I will go to great lengths for my fellow Mac geeks, but sinking my iPhone three feet in the pool was one shot I just couldn’t take for the team. Instead I put a wad of tissue in the case and then sank it three feet for 15 seconds. When I pulled it out, I opened it up and the tissue was remarkably dry. I couldn’t see any signs of water intrusion inside the case. I don’t think you can take your phone scuba diving with this case but if I do end up dropping it in the tidepools someday, I’ll probably be alright.

They have one version that is black on black and another that is black and yellow. The Armor is not what I would call an elegant case. It is attractive though ... in the same way a muddy Range Rover driving out of the jungle is attractive. It is big and bulky and completely contrary to that elegant simplicity that you always find in Apple design. However, if you are going to beat the heck out of your phone, the Armor is for you. I keep mine in my car so when I decide to hit the beach or go for a hike, into the Otterbox Armor it goes. The armor sells for about $70 and you can find it at many online retailers.

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