Posts tagged: OtterBox

Review – Otterbox Armor Series for iPhone 4/4s

OtterBox Armor Series Waterproof Case for iPhone 4-4s front back
 

Long Time Coming
It was a long time coming (including a cancelled launch for this iPhone 4/4s model in June 2012), but OtterBox has unveiled their waterproof series of cases, called the Armor Series.  Unveiled at CES 2013, the line of cases is now shipping at AT&T stores and Otterbox.com, and Amazon.  With a long history of highly protective cases, this is OtterBox’s first attempt at a completely waterproof case.  Overall, it is a great effort.

Details
OtterBox has released models for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4/4s, and Samsung Galaxy S III. The price point is an industry high $99 and the case for the 4/4s is only available in the Neon/Grey color scheme. Strangely, the 5 is also available in Blue/White, and Orange/Grey colors. We will see if those are released later on for this 4/4s model.

As for size, compared to other cases, the OtterBox for iPhone 4/4s is a beast:

  • Weight: 4.23oz / 120g
  • Dimensions: 5.14 x 2.94 x 0.82 in / 130.6 x 74.7 x 20.8mm
  • Depth rating: IP-68, 6.6 ft for 30 minutes
  • Drop Test: 10 ft

The iPhone 4/4s Armor is about 10g heavier than the iPhone 5 version and a little larger in thickness to make up for the size difference of the phones. It is certainly larger than the iPhone 4/4s case from LifeProof, which weighs only 28g and has dimensions of 129 x 66 x 10.7mm.  OtterBox has never shied away from making large, solid cases, and the main difference is in the thickness of the case.  However, this can add to the protective ability of the case, and this is rated to withstand 2 tons of pressure. Similar waterproofing and drop test specs as LifeProof.

Video Review
Here is a video that shows the functionality and build of the Armor 4/4s:





Analysis
The Armor Series has an interesting closure mechanism.  Overall, it is easier and seems more secure than LifeProof’s force fit closure. As seen in the video, one side has two very strong closures that compress the black o-ring of the case, creating a seal. I really like how strong these are:

OtterBox Armor Series for iPhone 4-4s metal closure-clasp

The side opposite the latches, while innovative, is a little more problematic.  It consists of block like groove that back of the case fits into, creating a non-moving hinge.  After fitting together on this side, the case is then sealed and tightened by closing the two clasps.  In theory, this works fine, creating a strong seal. However, in the torture test on the Armor for iPhone 5, this opened during huge falls.  Note that these were much larger falls than guaranteed by the product and shouldn’t be a problem.

OtterBox has done a really nice job with the colored overmold. The inside of the case is super soft and protective, and the outer edge has another layer of soft protection. The bottom area is really nice, with two rubber overmolded lanyards that peal apart to reveal ports to the phone’s controls. These are protected by small black o-rings that keep out water.

OtterBox Armor Series for iPhone 4-4s seal for charging port

One advantage is that, compared to LifeProof, there are no small pieces to lose.  The downside of this is that it is impossible to listen to music in a waterproof setting, or with right angle headphones jacks, whereas LifeProof offers an adapter for this.

The Armor series has controls for all power, home, volume and mute buttons, and transparent screens for all sensors and cameras.  There is even a port for the microphone on the back near the camera.

Overall
The Armor Series was a long time in the making but is an excellent product. While delayed, they have done it right and are giving LifeProof a run for their money with potentially a more solid, protected product.

OtterBox Armor Series for iPhone 4-4s inside ringer switch and volume

 

 

The OtterBox Armor for iPhone 5 Case Compared

OtterBox Armor for iPhone 5 big in hand

 

After a long wait, the OtterBox for iPhone 5 case is out, and it is a beast.

The data tells most of the story.  The following chart compares the Armor to the LifeProof, both for iPhone 5:


Armor LifeProof
Height: 140.2mm 137.5mm
Width: 75.5mm 67.1mm
Thickness: 17.8mm 12.2mm
Weight: 110.88g 29.9g
Price: $99 $79



The key variables are the width, thickness, weight and price; in each of these, LifeProof has an advantage. However, what is not measured is durability. OtterBox’s size and weight combine to put more material between your phone and the outside environment, which in theory makes a more protective, durable case. OtterBox appears to be sticking to their guns and designing for users who require a more rugged, heavy duty waterproof case.

The question after looking at these specs is how the competition plays out between OtterBox and LifeProof. There is a clear size difference which bisects the market. And OtterBox is currently positioned at $20 more and has been released much later in the iPhone 5’s life cycle.

We expect the Armor price to be cut to around $79 at some point.

OtterBox Armor left side

OtterBox Armor for iPhone 5 right side
above photos from Macrumors Forum

Review – Otterbox Armor for iPhone 5

OtterBox Armor iPhone 5

 

Long Time Coming
After some serious time in development (including a cancelled iPhone 4/4s launch in June 2012), OtterBox has unveiled their waterproof series of cases, called the Armor Series.  Unveiled at CES 2013, the line of cases is now shipping at AT&T stores and Otterbox.com, exclusively.  With a long history of highly protective cases, this is OtterBox’s first attempt at a completely waterproof case.  Overall, it is a great effort.

Details
OtterBox has released models for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4/4s, and Samsung Galaxy S III. The price point is an industry high $99 and the case is available in three color schemes: Neon/Grey, Blue/White, and Orange/Grey. Compared to other cases, this thing is large and in charge:

  • Weight: 3.91oz / 110.88g
  • Dimensions: 5.51 x 2.97 x 0.70in / 140.2 x 75.5 x 17.8mm
  • Depth rating: IP-68, 6.6 ft for 30 minutes
  • Drop Test: 10 ft

Compared this to the iPhone 5 case from LifeProof, which weighs 29.8g with dimensions of 137.5 x 67.1 x 12.2mm.  OtterBox has never shied away from making large, solid cases, and the main difference is in the thickness of the case.  However, this can add to the protective ability of the case. Similar waterproofing and drop test as LifeProof, although OtterBox Armor can withstand 2 tons of pressure.

Video Review
The first few minutes of this video review cover the case impeccably:





Analysis
The Armor Series has an interesting closure mechanism.  Overall, it is easier and seems more secure than LifeProof’s force fit closure. As seen in the video, one side has two very strong closures that compress the black o-ring of the case, creating a seal. I really like how strong these are:

OtterBox Armor closure system

The other side, while innovative, is a little more problematic.  It consists of block like groove that back of the case fits into, creating a non-moving hinge.  After fitting together on this side, the case is then sealed and tightened by closing the two clasps.  In theory, this works fine, creating a strong seal. However, in the torture test, this was a weakness from from huge falls.  Note that these were larger falls than guaranteed by the product.

OtterBox has done a really nice job with the colored overmold.  The inside of the case is super soft and protective, and the outer edge has another layer of soft protection.  The bottom area is really nice, with two rubber lanyard that peal apart cleanly to reveal ports to the phone’s controls.  These are protected by small black o-rings that keep out water.

OtterBox Armor iPhone overmold

Compared to LifeProof audio system, there are no small pieces to lose or screw in.  At the same time, with the Armor Series it is impossible to listen to music in a waterproof setting, or with right angle headphones jacks. LifeProof offers an adapter for this.

The Armor series has good controls for all power, home, volume and mute buttons, and transparent screens for all sensors and cameras. There is even a port for the microphone on the back near the camera.

Overall
The Armor Series was a long time in the making but is an excellent product. They have engineered this thing well and have made an excellent product. They are giving LifeProof a run for their money with potentially a more solid, protected case.  

OtterBox Armor back view

 

 

Otterbox Armor for iPhone 4/4s/5 Released

Otterbox Armor Case for iPhone 5

 

At long last, after numerous delays and many months of waiting, OtterBox’s entrance into the waterproof iPhone case market is complete with the launch of the Armor series. The case was launched at CES 2013 for the iPhone 4/4s, iPhone 5, with a model for the Samsung Galaxy 3s is on the way.

The case comes in at a steep $99 compared to $79 for LifeProof (some discounted to $53). The case is large, somewhat bulky but looks like a tank.

Full review on the way.