iphone 3G Otter Box review
The new iphone 3G is a pretty heavy piece of kit, I guess that’s because of the metal in the back which doubles as an antenna. It’s not a bad weight, actually it has quite a nice weight to it, like it was a quality piece of engineering, which I suppose it is.
Having dropped a few blackberries, which survived but came up looking pretty scratched and horrible, there was no way I wanted the new phone to look like that! I expect it would be a pretty ugly sight after skating a meter across concrete – that shiny metal/plastic/ceramic or whatever it is back wouldn’t look too flash, and that’s assuming the screen wouldn’t break, which is it likely too.
My phones usually get a beating and it’s a difficult pick between style and function. The overriding factor for the iphone is that it’s $1200 worth of phone and I tend to be a bit rough on them, experience has shown it’s a total pain in the ass being without your own phone while it’s being fixed.
I looked at a lot, and there is a bit around for the iphone, from film, light plastic, rubber through to leather. I got a plastic case but it just clipped on and didn’t really offer a lot of protection, it was really little more than a scratch guard against normal wear and tear, and it didn’t protect the screen.
Any case that is going to offer reasonable protection is going to bulk the phone up, so your iphone will go from looking sleek and cool, too looking, well, bulky and big – it is actually quite a big phone, it’s just the design that makes it look smaller than it is.
I discovered a few weeks ago that Otter Box were going to put out an iphone 3G cover – the ‘Defender’, so put my name down for updates and when it became available last week I ordered one. There was a bit of a problem with my credit card and address on the web ordering system (this is from the USA, not expansys) but the staff were really helpful and seemed to be up at all hours and sorted the order out and it arrived today.
The Otter Box comes in two parts, a hard plastic inner with a rubber ‘shell’. You peel the rubber off the inner case, clip it open, slip the iphone inside, clip it back together and pull the rubber outer back over.
The case is not water proof, it looks like it would be fine if it got splashed or rained on, but there’s no doubt if you dropped in down the toilet or in the river, it’d be goneski. It has dust guards on the ear piece and speakers, and flick up rubber covers for all the ports and the mute switch. There is a clear plastic cover and the screen works fine under it, although it seems to stick to the screen in spots which is a bit annoying and is my only gripe about the case. There may be some simple solution to this as it may be static or something.
The case itself has a seperate belt clip that is slots into (like the old 7290 series Blackberries had) so if you want to look like you have a massive PDA clipped onto your belt (which isn’t cool) you won’t be using that, unless you happen to be a cop or someone who already has a belt with gear on it, in which case this might be pretty trendy.
In a nod to people who feel the need to show other people they have an iphone, Otter Box have provided a window on the back so everyone can see the Apple logo, there is also a window next to it for the camera.
There’s no escaping that this case makes the phone bulky, but it isn’t any worse than my wallet. It has the look and feel of a ‘milspec’ case and while I’m not going to start throwing the phone around to test it, I’m sure if I drop the phone, it will survive in one piece. It’s not a major hassle to remove the case if you’re not going to need this level of protection.
In my opinion there’s nothing else like this on the market for the 3G iphone, and it’s no bulkier than some of the leather cases I looked at, but offers far more protection.
It will be available out in NZ at some point, but if you can’t be bothered waiting you can buy direct USD49.95 plus USD26 for freight to NZ from the USA.
UPDATE, Well its still a damn good case, in fact, I haven’t taken it off. There’s only one gripe, I cannot get the earphone jack out without using something to pry it out. If you pull it out using the cord sooner or later it will break the wires, but I’ve found the car keys work just fine and you can flick it out with the end. This is probably partly to do with the fact that the plug is actually difficult to get out anyway, but the Otterbox has a small ‘rail’ that provides a surround for the rubber plug, and this makes it difficult to get a fingernail into the gap… maybe something that can be rectified in the next model? In the mean time the care keys are fine and it’s still the best case on the market!