This is a guest post by my friend Guy, who’s owned more iPhones and cases than anyone I know. Because Guy is a heavy (and very picky) case user, I figured he would be the best person to review the OtterBox iPhone 4 Defender Series Case.

I have had more iPhones than I can count since my first $600 2G back in 2007. Of those, I’ve broken the glass on a half-dozen or so. Such was the case with my last iPhone which I broke last week. At the time, I was using the OtterBox Commuter. While it was pretty effective at absorbing most of the shocks caused by dropping it – even on concrete – it didn’t do a thing to protect the screen when it fell and landed face down on a small rock…

But this new case has it completely covered. Until Apple makes a phone the equivalent of Panasonic’s ToughBook laptop, the Defender Series Case is as good as it gets. Just as you’d expect, there’s a little trade-off with bulkiness but it’s totally manageable.

There’s a rigid two piece plastic frame with a clear screen that’s actually easier to keep clean than the glass. It fits very tight against the glass too, and there’s no loss of sensitivity that I can find. Over that is a rubber cover that slips on. It’s got a non-slip quality to it that keeps the phone from sliding off of most surfaces.

I’ll admit, I had to read the directions to take it apart the first time, and even now it takes about 10 seconds to disassemble, but it’s really not hard to do. A really A+ design.

Got a GSM or CDMA iPhone? No problem. The new OtterBox Defender Series Case has been designed to be compatible with both models.

At $49.95, the Defender Case doesn’t come cheap, but really, how much is protecting your iPhone worth to you?

Overall, if you just need to protect against the “death grip“, a case like the OtterBox Commuter Series will do the job. If like me you’re always on the go and prone to dropping your phone and want to protect your investment, this is the only one to buy. Everything else is a waste of money.

Interested in the Defender Case? Click here to purchase it, and enter coupon code iDB201103A (case sensitive) to get 10% off your order.

  • Wirehedd

    My favorite case now since August of ’10 and narry a scratch on it and the phone inside looks like it did the day I bought it. Awesome case.

  • shannon

    yep I love this case!

  • Strutings

    I can also recommend Innocase 🙂

  • Thor

    I comsiderd this case but went with the Ballistic. Any comparisons would be appreciated.

    The Ballistic is bulky but provides excellent protection from my very frequent drops on concrete and pool deck. The biggest problem is the high bezel that makes pressing the P Q and backspace keys more difficult.

    What is the durability of the screen protector on the defender? My Ballistic case screen is starting to show wear with lots of little scratches. It seems like the ideal solution would be replaceable film over the plastic screen protector. Is this an option with the Defender? Does it have a better more scratch proof screen?

    While many love the ego boost from showing off their i4. I prefer the anonymity of an ugly case. No knows what kind of phone I have and it is less likely to be “liberated”.

  • dabe

    I always use an otter box case while at work, because I work doing manual labor. At home though i always go “case free” I’ve dropped my 3GS a few times with no problems. You should be warmed though if you leave your iPhone in an otterbox it leaves permanent marks on the back of the iPhone! This has happened to mine as well as the other ppl I know with otterbox cases. I really like the case but be warned it will cause severe cosmetic damage to your iPhone.

  • dabe

    That is for 3GS I don’t know if the same is true with the iPhone 4

  • I swear by my OtterBox Defender case. I’ve had it on my iPhone for over a year now, and it has saved my it from countless falls down stairways, drops on concrete, etc. It even saved my iPhone from when it got water poured on it in the sink. (Don’t ask.)

    The OtterBox was the best thing I’ve ever bought for my iPhone, and it’s saved me a WORLD of pain.

    Best warranty you can buy, in my opinion. 🙂

    • Pirates Suck

      Yeah, I’ll second that. My Otterbox has already paid for itself several times over. ( Protected my iPhone 4 from several falls and impacts )

      And to an above poster, my phone still looks as fresh as the day I initially unboxed it. I don’t know what you mean with saying that it leaves marks on the phone. My phone is PRISTINE.

      Best thing I’ve bought for my phone hands down, bar none.

  • Tom

    I currently have the otterbox defender case for my iPhone 4 and overall it is a good case except the two access ports the rubber is loose and allows dust etc to get inside. I did consider the ballistic as well. One feature of the otterbox defender that i like is the felt on the inside back for the phone to rest against and im sure it will protect the back from wear if left in the case. Know im waiting for the case that will be available in April called “Lifeproof”. It is waterproof, snowproof, dustproof and dropproof from 6 feet. It will even do video underwater and best of all it appears to be less bulky than the otterbox defender case. A bit spendy but if your into protecting your iphone from LIFE then this is the way to go, it sells for $69 and can be seen at, check it out.

  • alex s

    I love the case as far as protecting from collision with my iPhone 4, but as far as dust and other dust like substances, it’s not the best, I’ve had concrete dust get in through the case and actually leave dings throughout the phone, I now made sure I had a zagg shield on AND the otterbox for complete safety

  • Eric

    I have this same case for my iPad, LOVE IT. Its a must have with a 20 Month old toddler playing with it and giving it the drop off the couch every once in a while. Thanks Otterbox!

  • G

    Otterbox is great but theres another new case that is just as protective and comes a little bit cheaper that is way more stylish. It’s called Ballistic or something like that.

  • is three ugly..

  • Luvnphishn2

    Great case! The holster also is a stand for watching movies and alarm clock which is a useful feature.

  • J Langston

    Swear by it!
    Has saved my 4 from several hard drops and even a fall into the toilet (clean water).
    I figured after a drop in the toilet that the phone was a goner, but to my surprise the Otterbox Defender earned its weight in gold by not allowing any water to damage the phone!
    I put one on my wifes 4, and I have 3 kids with IPT4s that I just ordered Defenders for.
    Was waiting until they came out in colors but this article reminded me to check and I see they are out, so thanks for the coupon code iDB!

  • Marc Burdick

    Best case I have seen- it is a must if you work where you carry a toolbox- you protect your tools in the box and I you need to protect your iphone 4 in Otterbox.

  • aawilson

    I just dropped my iPhone 4 for the first time. I usually keep a pretty careful hold of my electronics and have very old things still in top condtion. I am so dissapointed that I dropped it though. On the concrete! Hitting one of the corners and coming to rest face down!

    Luckily, it was in an Otterbox Deffender series, which I’ve used on a Blakberry Curve too. I don’t even want to think what I would be doing right now if I didn’t have this case. Way worth the money, worth the extra bulk, and the only brand case I’ll buy for smartphones.

  • Eric

    I have been rocking the otterbox commuter case on my phone and I love it lots of protection too not as much as the defender but much smaller case. Buy these on eBay u can get them way cheaper than through otterbox

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  • Mark Tulchinsky

    Love the Otterbox, just got one for only $15 at icaseoutlet