Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lifeproof iPhone 4s case vs. Otterbox Defender series

Otterbox Armor Series 

Finally Otterbox is going to release their Armor series cases.  Announced at the CES 2013, this product has been highly anticipated.  And delayed.  A lot.  Going by the pictures it looks to be a bit bigger than the regular Defender case but until I hold one I won't be able to tell.

The catch...?

These fools are charging $99.95!  That is a full $30 more than the Lifeproof case and $50 more than their regular model.  Ouch. 

But, their product their price.  I think it's a pretty safe guess so say that these will fly off the shelves when released.  But you can also expect the folks at Craigslist and (the devil) Amazon to discount heavily.  Maybe.  

I will be very interested to hear the first real time reviews on this case.  I doubt if I would get one for my 4s seeing as the 5s will be out (rumor) this summer.  But by that time five or so months would have passed and the reviews would be plentiful.  If it does what it says than I probably wouldn't mind chucking down that much change for my 5s to  protect for the next two years. 

But we'll see.  Right now everything is just speculation until my fellow iPhone-ians get their hands on one and we get a true real-world testing.  Until then check out the Armor webpage and what Otterbox has to say about their upcoming case.

What do you have to say about it?  Please feel free to let me know.
Jason - rubiconreader

Original Post - 12/7/2011
(Updates below)

I’ve had the iPhone 3, iPhone 3Gs, and now the iPhone 4s.  I have never had a case on my iPhones until now.  I love how sleek and smooth the iPhone is and I didn’t want anything interfering with that.  Of course I ran the great risk of cracking it with just the everyday thrills and spills of life, but that was my risk to take.  Yes, I’ve dropped it over the years but I’ve been VERY lucky and nothing bad has happened.  Until recently.  I was in-line skating to get my son from school I hit a very small branch that twisted my wheels. I fell correctly, on my hands, but the only problem was I was holding my iPhone in my hand at the time because I was listening to music.  CCRRRUUUNNCCCHHH!! 

Luckily the fall didn’t destroy the iPhone as I could still use it, but the screen was cracked and when you used the device, you could feel where the glass was splintered.  I was able to use it but having a cracked iPhone screen just… FEELS BAD!!  This happened in August and the new iPhone 4s was due to be released in October, so I didn’t have that long to wait.  First world problems yes, but I can not stand to have a cracked screen!  So I promised myself that going forward I would either get the insurance (NOT) or get a decent case.  Thus began my search. wrote a very good blog on their Top 20 iPhone 4s cases.  I used that as a starting point and began my research from there.  After boiling everything down I narrowed my choice with two cases; the Otterbox Defender series and the Lifeproof case.  My goal was to find a case that could protect my entire phone, including the glass front.  I found it, but these two cases are different in a lot of ways and that is the purpose of this blog.  I’ll start with probably the most important thing people want to know about: 

Price:  Otterbox Defender - $19 - $59.  The discrepancy comes from where you choose to buy it.  The assholes at Amazon undercut everyone (including the manufacturer) and you can get it there for next to nothing.  The higher price is if you get it on their website.  This case was my 2nd choice but became the 1st choice because of the price. 

Lifeproof iPhone 4s case: $79.99.  Not the most expensive case out there, but still pricey.  My justification was that I can pay $80 now and not have to pay the $7 monthly insurance charge for the next two years.  $168 vs. $80… easy choice for me. 

Bulk & Feel: A bulky looking iPhone is just ugly.  Sorry but it is.  When folks come to the counter in my bookstore and their iPhone is covered in an elephant like case I look at them and want to slap the stupid off them.  Why would you take a gorgeously shaped device and cover it in a hideous case?  That’s like Zoe Saldana wearing a trench coat and a bomber cap!

Otterbox Defender: It’s not as bulky as I thought and I was very happy at the way it fit in my pocket and how it felt in my hand.  Very solid with a good grip and it lays flat.  It is bulkier than the Lifeproof case though.  The buttons on the iPhone are very easy to get too and use.

Lifeproof iPhone 4s case: A very slim case that doesn’t add much in way of bulk to the phone.  The grip is nice but not as nice as Otterbox.  Very solid feel and very nice looking as well.  The buttons on this case are completely covered and you’ll have to use a little more effort to get them to work. 

Glass protector: since this is the “gateway” to using the entire iPhone it deserves its own paragraph.  Otterbox: I LOVED the glass protector on the Otterbox!  Very responsive and I didn’t feel any air between the iPhone and the protector.

Lifeproof: Not as responsive as Otterbox.  There is definitely some air between the protector and the iPhone.  Now this might be a protective mechanism but I think they need to rethink this.  I’ve read some of the post and they are worried about the “oily” look when you have a piece of plastic laying flush on the iPhone.  But I didn’t get that when I used the Otterbox and there are other tricks you can use to stop that.  As I write this I’m also thinking that Lifeproof engineers did this because they tout this as a waterproof case as well.  Maybe that extra small air is an extra layer of safety.  Either way I don’t like it.  Again, it’s not that bad, but this might be a deal breaker for some people especially if they don’t need the waterproof protection. 

Overall protection: I’m not one of those people who will go out and drop their iPhone on purpose just to test it out.  Sorry, but that aint gonna happen.  J  If I drop my iPhone I’ll update this blog with that info.  You don’t know my luck y’all.  I drop my iPhone and how much you wanna bet that I’ll be the one that got the “1 in a million” defective case!?  Just keep in mind that the Lifeproof case claims to be waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof, and shock proof.  There are numerous videos (here’s #1 and here’s #2) on YouTube that prove this and I have no reason to doubt that claim. 

The Otterbox claims to protect against dust, scratches, and it’s somewhat water resistant, NOT water proof.  I have no reason to doubt their claims either.  I just know that both cases felt solid and secure and I wasn’t nearly as careful with my phone when I had the cases on.

Sound: Otterbox: sound good as there is nothing blocking the speakers.  Lifeproof: since this case is designed to be waterproof the speakers have to be covered (duh).  But even with the speakers covered, the sound is still good.  Yes you can tell a difference between a naked iPhone and a Lifeproofed iPhone but that’s because… ummm… the speakers are covered.  Didn’t I already go over that?

Customer serviceOtterbox: I bought my Otterbox case at an AT&T store and I will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER do that again.  Let me also say that this was NOT an Otterbox problem but an AT&T store problem.  I bought my Otterbox case on a Friday night and took it back Sunday afternoon.  Why?  The bottom of the Otterbox,  where it’s supposed to cover the 32 pin thing, would not stay flush and closed uneven.  Not acceptable for a $50 case.  When I took the case back I was charged (or they tried) a $10 restocking fee!  WTF!?!!?  The case was $50!  So now I have to pay $10 to return an item that I’m not going to use.  Awwww hell no!!!  I was nice (I manage a bookstore and I hate when customers yell at me) but I let her know that that was unacceptable.  1. I had this case for less than 36 hours 2. It was defective.  Not sure who the idiot was that thought this up, but aint no way in hell I’m going to give you $10 for a case that I’m going to use.  She called her manager up and they gave me the $57 back… after about 4 days.  If companies are charging a restocking fee for products, even defective products we need to start that at the bookstore.  That’s an entire income stream that we are letting pass us by.

Lifeproof: ordering was pretty easy and simple.  When I went to go check my account the next day there was a double charge on my account from this company.  Huh?  I logged out and checked again.  Yep, same thing.  One was for $91.17 and one was for $91.14.  This happened on Black Friday and because of that extra charge it cause an overdraft in my account.  I’m pretty anal about my money and HATE paying the Wells Fargo $35 overdraft charge and, like most people, Black Friday was pretty big.  So to have this happen was frustrating.  I tried e-mailing the company, nothing.  I tried calling the company, nothing.  I tried e-mailing the company again, nothing.  I sent them a message on FaceBook, response.  Seriously?  FaceBook is a social medium, it shouldn’t be your main way of communication.  They response to me was that it would be expedited.  A couple days later I got an e-mail saying that they only see one charge on my account.  By that time I had already called my bank and got it straight.  But that kinda soured me on them.  I’m out $35 but I don’t want to be exchanging e-mails for the next month trying to clear this up, so I just ate it.

It took a week plus a day (San Diego, CA to Bakersfield, CA) to get my case because the USPS misrouted my package!  Freaking great!  Anyway, I hope this case lasts a good long time because I’m not sure if I want to deal with their customer service again.  I will say this though: they seem to be VERY busy and someone actually summed it up perfectly: “they are a victim of their own success”.  They seem to respond to FaceBook posts faster than e-mail so if you have an issue, make sure you FB them first.  To their credit they acknowledged my problem and Dusty looks like she’s pulling some serious overtime!  I think once they get that under their belt, things will run much smoother.  One small thing they can change is the shipping.  This case is small enough that they can mail it in a padded Priority mail envelope and get it to customers faster.  Since we’re paying for shipping anyway, save yourself the problems of slow shipping and do it this way.  I ship a lot of books from my bookstore and this is the only way we ship.  Just one man’s opinion.

Odds & Ends:  Using the camera with the Lifeproof isn’t as smooth because you have to press harder on the screen and that may distort the shot.  The more I use the Lifeproof the more frustrated I become with the plastic case covering the phone.  They really need to have it flush and get rid of that small air bubble.  I wish I had the Lifeproof case with the Otterbox plastic covering.  The Lifeproof is a gorgeous case but that covering is a slight buzz kill. 

Regular (non Apple) headphones will work with the Otterbox.  Regular (non Apple) headphones will not work with the Lifeproof unless you use the headphone adapter.  This is done to keep the case water proof. 

All in all I’m fairly satisfied with my Lifeproof BUT unless I can find a solution to this air bubble problem I just *might* go back to the Otterbox.  I did follow the instructions on the Lifeproof video to get rid of the excess air but it’s not helping.  It’s nice having a case that protects pretty much everything, but not at the expense of having a less than stellar touch screen.  Yeah, I’ll lose money (again) on it but my piece of mind is better.  Oh, Lifeproof also charges a restocking fee of 15%.  So what I’ll do if I do end up being continually frustrated with this case is sell it on Craigslist avoiding having to get a return label, sending it back, having to wait 3-5 for the money to get back into my account.  No thanks.  Well, I think I’ve hit most of the big things.  If I think of anything to mail, I will. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask me. 

Update – December 8, 2011 – 11:07 PM

After going all day out and about using my iPhone 4s with the Lifeproof case I have come to the conclusion that… I don’t like it.  Rather, I don’t like the plastic covering.  As I was using it I just kept getting irked by that annoying air bubble and how the screen wasn’t as responsive as I would like it.  So true to my word (almost), I sold it.  BUT not on Craigslist like I said, I went to Ebay.  And no lie, as soon as I put it up for sale some guy in Louisiana bought it (LITERALLY) in less than three minutes!  So somebody out there wants it and there are a LOT of people that LOVE this case.  Just not me.  So I went out and got myself the Otterbox (again).  For what I do, I need the touch screen to be 100% responsive and the Lifeproof case just flat out does not have it. 

I know a case can’t have everything but this seems like something that is a no brainer.  The touch screen on the iPhone is the freaking HEART to the entire device.  If that doesn’t work, nothing works.  I went to the Lifeproof FaceBook page to see if anyone else has a problem with the bubble.  They did.  One guy even went as far to post a .32 second video of how to get ride of the air.  Actually all he did was tell us and not show us.  What you (according to him) is put your mouth over the small hole near where you would put your ear and suck.  Ummmmmm… sure.  I wasn’t sure if this was a joke or not.  I’m still not convinced after reading the responses swearing that this works.  Between you and me it doesn’t.  And I tried hard. 

So while the case of the Lifeproof is the best I’ve seen, the touch screen makes it bad.  The Otterbox might not provide the magnitude of protection that the Lifeproof does, but it has a much, MUCH better touch screen.  And the Otterbox does provide very good protection… I just can’t take the phone into the shower with me.  But unless I’m dating a supermodel why bother?  Anyway, make your own choice on which case is better.  Or maybe not “better” but better suited for you.

Update #2 - January 19, 2012 - 11:58 AM

If you do decide to get an 'Otterbox' I would suggest you get the $50 one and not the $40 one.  The cheaper 'Otterbox' has a cheaper case that tends to move and shift.  This can get extremely annoying when taking it in and out of your pocket or purse.  The cheaper case doesn't have the tight fitting properties of the more expensive one and almost feel cheap.  It protects your iPhone of course, but there is something psychological about holding your iPhone in a case that feel secure and firm.  The cheaper case doesn't satisfy that. 

Other than that, the only other thing I have to report is that in the upper right corner of the case there is a little bit of room.  IE: the fit to the iPhone isn't as tight as the rest of the phone.  I'm almost positive that this is a manufacturing issue that changes from iPhone to iPhone.  Kind of surprising because it should be 100% form fitting.  I also remember that with the very first 'Otterbox' I owned, the rubber that covered the 32 pin connector, wasn't flush either.  

In the every day use category I'm still pretty impressed with this case.  Haven't had one drop (knock on wood) from which to report but this is a VERY, VERY good thing!   The case still has a solid feel to it and the touch screen is still responsive.

In the "I wish" department, I wish they would make it easier to get to the earphone jack instead of having to move that rubber flat every time and... (don't kill me) have the next generation cases a tad bit thinner. 

Update #3 - July 1, 2012 - 11:32 PM

It's been a little while huh?  Just wanted to give you a quick update:  I am now on my second Otterbox case.  I think I have found the Achilles heel to this thing.  The outer rubber casing.  After a while it warps.  For me it happened (is happening) in the same place.  The upper right as well as the area where the home key is.  I'll try and post pictures.  I don't use my case for anything strenuous so this is definitely a design flaw.  I have heard that Otterbox will replace the rubber casing for free if you write them, but I CAN NOT confirm that because I have yet to do so.  But I will.  I don't think I'll be purchasing another case in the near future as I can live with this (so I say now) for the time being.  But knowing this will happen to my case dampens my Otterbox zeal a little bit.  

Lifeproof has yet to fix their "bubble issue" and while they have the superior CASE, having that bubble is still a deal killer.  How do I know this?  Just look at their FaceBook page and some of the comments.  People love the case but that bubble ticks a lot of people off.  Even on this blog people have stated that they enjoy the case but... that damn bubble!  Then again I have spent about $75 for two Otterbox cases.  Ah well.  Lifeproof seems to be a company that is run by a bunch of smart people who really enjoy having fun, so maybe someone will look into this and offer a viable solution or explanation.  I certainty enjoy popping on their FaceBook page from time to time and checking things out.

I wonder what will come first though... Otterbox with a sturdier rubber casing or Lifeproof fixing the bubble?

Update #4 - July 19, 2012 - 10:22 AM

I received my new Otterbox case eight days after I wrote the company.  I sent them a question via their site using this online form and they eMailed me back with instructions on how to get a replacement.  I had to take two pictures of my defective case, front and back, and eMail it to them.  The longest part of this was the shipping.  They sent it FedEx but the FedEx driver must have walked it to the door because it took damn near forever!  First world problems really... it only took about five days.  But FedEx... from Colorado to California?  Five days?

Anywho... the best part about this experience was that they sent a BRAND NEW CASE!  I was just expecting a new rubber case.  So now I have a brand spanking Otterbox case and I'm very happy.  My only question now... how long will this one last?

Lifeproof is also now available to purchase via Amazon, so the price is cheaper than buying it directly from them.  I still look to see if they have "fixed" the slight bubble issue, but from reading the comments it seems that the bubble issue is STILL a big one.  How Otterbox can do it and Lifeproof can't is beyond me.  

Update #5 - July 21, 2012 - 10:39 PM 

Oh SNAP!!  Otterbox has a new case coming out and it looks like it (if it lives up to the hype) a formidable opponent to the LifeProof case.  The new case will be called ‘Armor’ and it will be drop proof, waterproof, dust proof, and crush proof.  I’ve perused the website and I like what I see.  The case looks black, sleek, and sturdy.  Only time will tell if it lives up to the hype that is splashed all over its webpage.  

They do have a video here but it’s not that good.   Its exciting yes, but it doesn’t do much too really show us what this case can do.  The iPhone is dropped in the dirt and mud a few times and water is shown to splash over it, but they need to do better.  They need to rip a page from LifeProof here.  Give this case to people to take to the beach, the pool, mudruns, mountain biking trails, daycare centers, REAL LIFE situations that most of us who use the case will be in. 

I’m excited because this could be the case that a lot of us have been waiting on.  I stated in my original post that Lifeproof has the superior case but that bubble is a killer.  Otterbox has a VERY good case but not the ultimate protection that the Lifeproof case affords.  And Otterbox has nailed, and I mean NAILED, the screen protector.  There is absolutely no space between the protective screen and the iPhone screen and that is exactly what I want.  I only hope that this new case by Otterbox doesn’t change that.

LifeProof iPhone Cases

Update #6 - October 3, 2012

Yeah, the Achille's heel to the Otterbox is the outer rubber casing.  As of two days ago I have taken off my Otterbox case because it has warped (again) in the exact same place as the previous case. Whenever I wanted to use my phone I had to push the rubber casing down and that got to be extremely annoying.  With the new iPhone 5 case they have stated that they have an "improved slipcover: a rubber outer layer is stronger to withstand heavy use and its shape over time".  That's good for the iPhone 5 but I wish they would use that technology on the iPhone 4 and 4s cases.

I will get a new Otterbox case but it will be off Amazon where it is cheaper.  Why?  I still think the case is good but now I know I will have to purchase one every 4 months and I'm not paying full price for a product that will lose it's prime functionality after a few months.  And since they don't seem to have a light under their ass to get the Armor series out I'll just stick with what I know.  That being said, I think it's also time to see what other cases are out there.

I sincerely like Otterbox a LOT, but through real-life living I have found that the cases do not have a long shelf life.  I'm tempted to get another Lifeproof case to see if they have done anything with that bubble.  But I don't see the practicality of spending $50 - $80 to test that theory.  And from what I've seen on their FaceBook site and from Amazon reviews, it looks like they are still having that problem.

For me a case that warps over time is better than a screen that won't function.  I'd be interested to see what other cases you guys are using.  Oh BTW... when I do order it, this will be my 4th Otterbox defender case.  (Damn.)


  1. From you post, it looks like the Otterbox is nice for the iPhone 4S, but can you comment on the sturdiness of the casing? For instance, if you were to fall again on your rollerblades and your phone was inside the Otterbox that was in your pants pocket, would it hold up?

  2. For the accident I had, yes, I think the Otterbox would have protected my iPhone from the shattered glass. My fall wasn't a total wipeout I just fell directly on the iPhone that was in my hand. It wasn't bad enough (thank goodness) to ruin it but like my blog states, having a cracked iPhone face just sucks.

  3. Curious if the Lifeproof case you tested was their first gen or 2nd gen case?

    I really want to like the Lifeproof case, but so far am leaning towards sticking with my Otterbox. Also annoyed that Lifeproof charges $30 for a belt clip.

    My brief review of Otterbox Defender vs Lifeproof:

    Otterbox belt clip broke after 5 months, store replaced. Dropped phone numerous times, even saw it go flying through the air a couple times. Eventually Apply Genius Bar replaced my phone for reception issues, they were impressed that it was in an Otterbox. Maybe it has a higher re-furb value?

    Otterbox Replacement #2 silicone broke after 7 months, this time OtterBox warranty is replacing it no questions asked! My toddler may have chewed on the edges a couple times. But OtterBox must realize the value of clients with shiny new functional products vs those self-advertising clients with half broken Otterboxes.

    At this point I thought I may as well sell the new replacement Otterbox and find something better, and found Lifeproof as the only alternative. If there are others please speak up!

    If Lifeproof didn't have screen bubble issues, I would ignore the speakerphone issue and buy it ASAP.

    1. Koula,

      I just received my Lifeproof case one week ago, and I must say it is amazing! It's slim, gorgeous, and rugged-esque. Kind of an oxymoron, I guess? :)
      Anywho, if you really need the waterproof protection like I wanted it so badly, then it is SO WORTH IT!
      I will say that the air bubble in between the screen and the plastic IS slightly annoying at first, but I've already gotten so used to it. I shower with my phone everyday now, and I've even taken it to the jacuzzi! :)
      Hope this review helps!

  4. It was the 2nd generation case. As far as other cases, I put the link to the CNET blog that has their list of the top iPhone cases. Browse through them and see what catches your fancy. So far I am EXTREMELY impressed with the Otterbox case. It's sturdy, feels secure, and it's *that* bulky in my pocket. The only thing that kept me from going ga-ga over the Lifeproof was the cover the the touch screen. Having an air bubble is simple NOT acceptable. If they can work that out with the 3rd generation cases then they will have a hands down winner.

    Well... unless Otterbox finds a way to make their cases slimmer while keeping the same protective case. We'll see. But in the meantime I will stick with Otterbox because I really enjoy the case.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Got my Lifeproof 2nd Gen Case today. Performed water test etc etc.

    Now that it's installed, well, the bubble issue is real! I talked to Lifeproof technicians today and they swear the bubble "settles" after a week. The need to apply pressure for the iPhone screen to work is a minor nuisance, but could be the nit-picking 'partner' that leads to a hasty divorce with Lifeproof.

    Ruibicon was right, Lifeproof even has the blowing into the microphone port trick listed as a suggestion to fix echos! Kind of absurd.

    Also there is a distinct raised portion of the screen under the ear piece - has anyone else noticed this? This was the first thing I noticed, mabye this Lifeproof case is defective? I believe it must be a chuck of membrane that allows sound to pass through to the ear, but it physically messes with the Lifeproof appearance - the Lifeproof screen never looks 100% flat and therefore somehow, defective. This might really irk me over time.

    Also noticed that the Lifeproof rear portion of the case scratches extremely easily! Just a simple fingernail lightly pressed will permanently scratch this case.

    I should also note that the camera lens portal was not 100% clean upon unpackaging, and even with the Lifeproof supplied cloth I was unable to obtain a perfectly clear camera window. Has anyone else noticed dirty Lifeproof camera windows?

    Otherwise, taking the Lifeproof skiiing and hot tubbing on the weekend and shall see how it holds up!

    As for my brand new replacement Otter box it's sitting in a cuppord, can't even sell it on Kijiji for even 2/3 the new price. I definitelly will -not- miss putting the Otterbox in my pockets, constantly having the silicone coming off the sides. Pressing the silicone casing onto the Otterbox literally became an unconscious routine multiple times per day - I can just imagine what people think "why is that dude pushing meticulously around the edges of his phone?!"

    Filled out the LP warranty box. Since I bought from Kijiji (classifieds) I'll be curious to see if LP honors the warranty down the road. Today on the phone LP claimed they only honor warranties for LP cases purchased from their website and One nice thing about Otter was that they sent me a replacement Defender series case without proof of original receipt - now that's a true product guarantee!


  7. If you keep your Lifeproof for the week please let me know about the bubble. I wasn't willing to wait a week or two because that damn bubble rubbed me the wrong way the FIRST day! After reading your post about the Otterbox and having to push the silicone back into place made me realize one thing... you bought the cheaper Otterbox case.

    How do I know? Because I did the same thing! Take it back (if you can) and get the $50 case for the 4s. That one fits much, much, much better and has a nice feel to it. I saw tonight that 9 to 5 Mac posted a review on the Otterbox case and they loved it!! Although I already realized that, it's nice to have a bit of back up. Here's the link if interested:

  8. It's been nearly two weeks, and the gap or air bubble feeling under the screen does not go away. I have corresponded with LP support and implemented their recommendations and the gap still does not go away. What happens is that you become accustomed to typing and after a while you stop noticing the effect.

    I've caught myself vowing to never return to an Otter Box. I am loving the sleek feeling of the LP case, the smooth border-less screen, and no longer needing a geeky belt clip! Even though I wore the Otter Box belt clip with pride, I still don't miss having a rubber tire stuck to my waist!

    The LifeProof case isn't perfect, but it's benefits far out weigh the Otter Box in my opinion. Now when it's early morning and I'm receiving business texts while still in the shower or shaving, I don't think twice about grabbing my phone and reading them! The ski trip was awesome, and instead of worrying about dropping my phone in the hot tub I was more worried about the glass beer bottles!

    I do have issues with the headphone extender cable and only receiving sound out of one headphone unless jack was rotated, but LP has already committed to sending me not one but 2 replacements.

    They deny that a 3rd gen case is in the works, which is much a lie as denying there will be an iPhone 5. When the next Lifeproof case is released, probably an iPhone5 LifeProof case, I hope they will once and for all eliminate the bubble screen issue, make the buttons easier to press, and offer better colour choices with cheaper accessories.

    So far, out of ideology, I haven't allowed myself to purchase the $30 plastic belt clip or a $40 plastic bike mount. Whilst spending $80 for LifeProof's patent pending waterproof case with Goretex membranes for audio ports is more then reasonable, paying $70 for two plastic case holders leaves one feeling that they were just mugged for $70 while willingly giving change to a bum for a newspaper.

    Come on LifeProof! Accessories For Accessories (A4A's)? It's an acceptable idea if the A4A's are reasonably priced, but they're not exactly re-inventing the Belt clip or a handlebar bicycle mount and the cost does not come with ANY reassurance from LifeProof staffers that the future improved versions of the case will be compatible with the 1st and 2nd Gen accessories.

  9. Dpes anyone know if there are the same issues re: using a screensaver under the Lofeproof bx Otterbox - never uses one under my Otterbox per directions bbut have ro knoe if this is the same with Lifeproof - and can you peeps pls explain this "bubble" - ie it screenprotector related - I have 2 know, I have MS and must make my decision ASAP due to my hands going numb causiing droppsu :-((

    1. I have a LP and my kids both have Otterbox Defenders... I havent regretted my decision to go with Lifeproof!

      Every once in awhile I get a small air bubble in it but I just blow into the spot where the charger plugs in.

      After 2 months, the rubber is stretched out on the Otterbox and they look like it is much bulkier than the Lifeproof...Ive had the Lifeproof for 6 months and it's still perfect!

    2. iPhone's r made of glass - lovely and in reality - impractical. NO CASE IS INVICINCABLE! After a myriad of different colored OTTERBOX cases (which I Still love) I realized I had neither seen nor felt my beautiful device SINCE I BOUGHT IT! I went over the top and bought the most expensive case on the iPhone market - the ELEMENT VAPOR PRO - in Epiphany (light teal w wihte). It is a screw-in polycarbonate bumper with different poly or felt backs - why? My phone is insured and I wanted to feel it, touch it, experience it AND I AM! I even accidentally dropped it last nite and IT WAS PROTECTED ( as much as ELEMENT PROMISES...) - 30 money back guarantee and 1 yrr warranty & made in the USA - kept my OTTERBOX on teal on teal with the others and so far, I'm as happy as I think i can be at this juncture. There are always going to be issues with cases and iPhones. Lifeproof isn't going to solve my quandry but happiness is. Still love my iPhone 4 (do want a 4s but will wait for my upgrade) and do I'm getting used to the feel of this sleek slim "bumper" with interchangeable backplates (stickers?!?) and I've taken myself down this road. Good luck to us iPhone users everywhere! Really love my phone, but I belive that unless i switch from apple completely, I'm staying right where I am - for now lol (btw - we pay good money for insurance, back up our important information, and pray & get a new one god forbid anything should happen PLUS I NEVER DRPPED MY OTTERBOX IN PURPOSE - just tree it to test its capacity for endurance and it was fine - I've taken a new plunge with ELEMENT!) bfn, diana

  10. Like I said, the case is wonderful, but that bubble is annoying! I don't want to have to tongue kiss my iPhone every time I use it. Both cases have room for improvement but I do love my Otterbox. Once LP fixes that damn bubble I may reconsider.

  11. agreed - love my otterbox but i KNOW THAT THE BUBBLE WOULD DRIVE ME BESERK in the LifeProof case - I can't even take it if there are watermarkes EVER under a bult in screen protector which I HAVE NOT HAD WITH THE NEW OTTERBOX DEFENDER FOR !PHONE 4 THANK GOD FOR SMALL FAVORS :=)

  12. I have a LP case and have never had a problem with an "air bubble". All my friends with otterboxes were jealous when I showed them my LP case.

  13. I'm having a real problem with the air bubble. Blowing into the charging port or sucking the air from the top of screen doesn't work. Any suggestions?

  14. I've found that air bubble to be more trouble that it's worth! BUT, if they would only fix that then I would be a customer for life because the case is bomb! But having that air bubble there is the Albatross and until they fix that I will stick with my Otterbox. Advice? Trade in for an Otterbox until they fix that. and they can... why they haven't is beyond me.

  15. Has anyone tried putting a non-glare screen protector on there iPhone before putting the LP case on it? I did that for my old 3gs in my old otterbox that had the bubble effect, and that fixed the problem.
    But make sure you use a quality screen protector.
    If this works please reply, cause that would get me to purchase one.

  16. At first I loved my LP case and had all my iPhone friends turned onto it also. I didn't have an air bubble problem, but did have some echo when using speaker phone; never tried putting it in water after the phone was in it, never has a reason too. But after having it only a month, with my first ever, brand new iPhone 4S, I pulled my phone out of my purse to find the screen completely shattered! Reason UNKNOWN! There was nothing in my purse to have smashed up against the screen and I didn't drop my purse. My husband was with me and was just as shocked. The only thing the LP case did was hold the glass in the case instead of it scattering in my purse. I haven't even dropped my iPhone and had my last phone for nearly 8 years with no major drops or accidents. So even if the LP is Waterproof, it is not Shockproof, or impact proof at all! I will NOT recommend the case to my friends from here on out!

    1. That's actually quite scary. Good to know, too. I hope you got something replaced from them for that!

  17. Just a warning about the $20 OtterBox on Amazon - I purchased through one of their vendors. What I got was a Chinese knock-off. Initially the quality seemed comparable, but after less than two months, the plastic was cracked and broken in numerous places.

    Right now, I am using my old OtterBox case with the knock-off silicone cover (that does not fit correctly). After reading your review, I am probably going to stick with OB, but I might wait until the new case comes out in a couple of weeks.

  18. A new Otterbox case is coming out?

    1. Yes the new armor series. Water/drop/crush and dust proof. Going to be available in black and white. No release date yet. I am looking forward to it. You can watch the kayaking water proof test on their website, and sign up for emails of more updates on it

    2. Thank you Jamie. I just checked it out today (updated this blog as well).

  19. I have had the same problem with the Otterbox in the top right corner being not flush-and so did a friend of mine. we both contacted OB and got replacements and while at first I thought it was "fixed" after only a month or so I notice the same thing happening again just not as drastic-yet. I do love my OB cases and have used them for ipad and other phones. I was considering a life proof but the air bubble thing sounds annoying. I am curious if anyone found having a screen protector on under it helps. I have one on my 4s now in the OB Defender with no problems.

    1. three caveats to the LP case from my experience (with an iPhone 4S):
      1) the charge port has a narrow opening that does not accommodate all type of chargers or docks. (ex. When I workout at a local gym, they have built-in chargers on all equipment for iPhones, but these do not fit the opening in the LP case) Removing the case to charge/dock/take advantage of the gym's features defeats the cover's purpose.

      2) the headphone port does not accommodate any normal headphone. The included screw-in adapter must be used, and it is easy to misplace (as are the little caps that cover that outlet when not using headphones) [I find this the most annoying feature of the LP case] Currently my adapter is lost so I cannot use headphones without removing the case--again defeating its purpose. Even when I had the adapter, it was inconvenient. It must be unscrewed to hear any of the phone's sounds if not wearing headphones (alarm clocks/ phone ringing/incoming messages/etc.) Any time you remove the adapter from the device you risk misplacing it.

      3) because of the nature of the case, the sound is muffled by about half. Very annoying.

      As for switches, I have not had the problems others have mentioned. Nor have I had the bubble issue which seems to be everyone's biggest concern. This may be because I installed a clear screen protector on the phone before inserting into the LP case. (Good thing I did since all too frequently I must remove the LP case to perform normal functions.)

      I have droppd my phone numerous times with no negative result (but I must admit that some of these droppings were while the phone was in a cheap $5 case with the screen protector applied).

      I ordered an iPhone5 today and after reading many reviews I am now debating between another LP case, an Otterbox, or a BookBook. (Granted, the last option is not in the same category but having one's credit cards and phone in one location has advantages) (The LP's higher price & the 3 negatives I listed are swaying me away from the LP)

      I just ordered

  20. Has anybody else seen defective LIFEPROOF Cases? My son just bought a new iPhone 4s along with this LIFEPROOF case yesterday. He had it for 1 day and it fell out of his pocket into water. He pulled it out immediately but the phone is now fried. Looking close I see the thin film that covers BOTH the ear holes are punctured. My son ASSURES me he did NOT poke the holes or intentionally damage the case. Has anyone heard if there are reports of defects in this product?

  21. Yes Bob there are. Since Lifeproof is now being sold on Amazon there are numerous comments from people who have purchased/used the case. This link is to one of their case on Amazon. Look at the the 1-star and 2-star reviews and you'll see (unfortunately) you aren't the only one with this problem.

  22. I just wanted to thank you for your awesome and informative blog! My iphone 4 fell out of my purse last night and the screen shattered. I've always wanted to buy either an otterbox or a lifeproof case but kept putting it off for the money. Now that I've actually shattered my screen for the first time (which, I must say, I am proud of because I've had an iphone since they first came out), I will definitely be replacing the screen and biting the bullet to buy the otterbox armor. I am thrilled that they have created this. It combines the features I love and desire most in a case! I just hope they have colors :-S Without your blog detailing the differences, I never would have made up my mind about which one is best. Thanks so much!

    1. You are very welcome Rebecca, I'm glad I was able to help. Yeah... I can't wait until the Armor is released either. They seem to be taking their time in R&D and making sure it's up to specs. I wonder if they are waiting for the new iPhone to be released? Rumor has it it's going to be longer than the current model and that may be the hold up. Who knows? :-)

  23. Thank you so much for the reviews and the updates! I have had my otterbox defender for about 6 months and am so relieved so know that I'm not the only person having problems with the rubber stretching. I also noticed that the hole in the rubber part of the case for earphone jack, isn't over the actual earphone jack in the phone. So I guess I should contact Otterbox.

    1. You are very welcome PJ. Something tell me that Otterbox is going to have A LOT of trouble filling the Armor orders.

  24. I watched a YouTube video on how to get rid of the air bubble problem. You put your lips over the holes where you put your ear and suck the air out. Pretty simple solution if you ask me.

    1. Yeah... I already addressed that in my blog. That stupid solution doesn't work and I'm not about to tongue kiss my case just to get it to work.

  25. Thank you for the detailed blog post. I was having trouble. choosing between Lifeproof and otterbox. I think even if the otterbox is bulky I don't think I'll like the bubble issue with lifeproof.

  26. I appreciate this post and your updates so much! I love my Otterbox and I've been spoiled to be dropping that my phone daily without $800 bills all over the place. But, the only thing is, (I've had the Defender case) it's too thick to fit in many iPod adaptable stereos--iHomes and stuff like that. I end up undressing my phone everyday at work to plug it in for music, and I'm getting annoyed by that and of course, the rubber case always getting very loose. I was looking into LifeProof because of that, but I'm glad that I found out the defects of it and a new OB coming out! Yay! Thank you!

    1. You are very welcome. With the new iPhone 5 coming out I was hoping they (Otterbox) would have announced the Armor series. I'm very anxious to try it out.

  27. On lifeproof case just suck air from where the headphones go while cap is OFF .... I never had that problem with 2nd case but did with 1st and that would solve it .... I have no bubble on my screen an it works fine

  28. Are you sure you went to an AT&T store and not an Authorized Dealer? According to here
    AT&T does not have accessory restocking fees for items under $200. AT&T also has a one year in-store warranty on most accessories. I had my otterbox replaced two times, for free, before I switched and bought a lifeproof.

  29. I have been shopping for a case for my daughter's phone for about two days when I came across your blog and review. I must say it was very entertaining, informative, and thorough. Thank you for all of the information and updates. I will say that you could use a proofreader before you put these "out there" as I found four errors just perusing through it one time. Please don't take offense, I have always just had a knack for picking up on mistypes and it drives me crazy that someone of your obvious intelligence and level of OCD would let something go out in this condition. Once again, please don't take offense, I absolutely enjoyed the critique and would give anything to see you sucking on your phone's porthole :-). Really, the article was very helpful and I, too, think I will go with the Otter but feel free in the future to send me your offerings for a looksie. Keep writing!!!!

  30. I have read some reviews saying that the Otterbox Defender cases that are purchases on Amazon are fakes and they do not protect the phone, is this true? I would rather pay more money for one I know will protect my new Iphone then one that will do nothing to protect it.

  31. Here are the 2 cases that i am looking at. They are from 2 different sellers but both are fulfilled by amazon. I do not care about the color, i just want one that is a real Otterbox Defender. Thank You

    1. Both of those look legit, but I'm not the seller. If you are wary then I would contact the seller of the items and ask them. If you do buy it and it is NOT the correct case or a knock off, you can return it to Amazon and get a refund. Amazon is pretty good about that.

  32. Thanks for the update. On my way to get Otterbox case. Have you seen the TakTik case? Thanks

  33. I have an Otterbox Defender case on my Iphone 4. I forgot my phone on the roof of my car a couple months ago. Imagine my horror when I saw the phone fly off the car at 50mph, bounce a dozen times towards the shoulder of the road (Thank you God there were no cars behind me.) and survived. The rubber had come off the top corner of the case and there is a tiny crack in the corner, but the phone was fine. So although, I LOVE the look of the Lifeproof case, Otterbox has my loyalty for life.

  34. LifeProof is perfect for someone such as myself. I have wanted the Iphone for over a year. I finally decided which plan, and which phone I wanted. I purchased the Iphone 4S from Virgin Mobile. This means that I bought the phone at retail price ($645) and pay a low monthly price for service.

    I am the type of person who absolutely hates phone cases. Phone cases make the phone itself look too bulky and ugly! Since I paid full retail cost for my Iphone, and the fact that the phone is pure glass, I decided to get some sort of protection. I do not agree with nor believe in phone insurance, nor did I purchase an Apple Care protection plan. I found a LifeProof case online for $40 (much better than the retail price of $80) and decided to give it a try. I like the case, it's rather sleek compared to other 'tough' cases. The air bubble issues that everyone talks about is in fact annoying, but you get accustomed to it after a while. The only problem that I didn't like about the case was the fact that I had to purchase an adapter to use my charger with it. This case came with a headphones adapter, why wouldn't they include a charger adapter instead (or as well). I find the charger to be more important than the ability to use headphones.

    As the LifeProof case isn't perfect, it is still perfect for people like me who have purchased the Iphone at a ridiculous price and need some form of protection for the phone itself who do not want to spend a lot of money on warranties, and insurance.

  35. I have owned both the LP and the otter defender and found that there is no perfect case to my liking. The LP was slim and completely sealed, but the face scratched easily and it was also extremely reflective. The "air bubble" was not really an issue to me. It did only take Apple brand accessories but this too was not a deal breaker. For me it was the scratching of the face that did it for me. Mine had scratches from having it in the holster (face in) let alone from usage. I ultamitly returned it to best buy with no questions asked within the 30 days because I wanted to try the otterbox.

    The otterbox also has its negatives. The rubber is a little too tacky for a pocket and it does not protect from dust. The earpiece, speakers and rear facing camera are all exposed and dust and dirt gets into the case and settles all through it. I do like the matte screen cover and the ports are easily accessible on this case.

    Over all, if I could have the otterbox screen cover on the LP that would be the best. Right now I still have the blue otterbox but the longer I have it and the more stretched out the rubber gets and the more I have to take it apart to clean the under the case the more I think about going back to the LP.
    I hope this helps.

  36. I almost forgot... If you wear the belt clip for otterbox, there is a piece that sticks out on the inside of the clip and marks your belt. It actually scratches your belt and leaves an indent in your leather belt. Highly annoying!

  37. Hey, just thought I would let you know about the otterbox service. They will replace your otterbox as many times as you need them to. I have had four of them shipped to me so far over the last year and a half. They have not charged me once...if you want to get things done faster, call not use the online service. Calling is much faster and you will get it in 2-3 days. Not to mention they are so pleasant to deal with via phone.

  38. i want the armor so bad after seeing that video

  39. FYI, Otterbox is good for life.
    Anything thats bad or you dont like call them or email the. I have had 3 phone replacements due to the rubber casing and one due to the case cracked. 2 years after buying the first.
    I have also had friends tell me the same that Otterbox is real good about replacing them.

  40. Plz research the warranty for each product. Lifeproof does not under any circumstance cover your iPhone nor will they replace your phone if something happens to it while in the case. Whereas. I was told otterbox wil

  41. I know most of you seem to be Iphone fans, however me being a droid fan i thought i could fit somewhere into the defense series discussion. I purchased a defense series case for my Droid Razr Maxx HD and i absolutely love it! The rubber outside is completely flush with all buttons and the port protectors tuck in perfectly.
    Conclusion- Maybe the Iphone design is just hard to make a flush case (for outterbox anyways) with all those round corners and what have you. I guess what im saying is if you want a reliable flush phone case, switch to a droid razr maxx HD and buy case :)
    Droid FTW!!!


    An Australian tough as nails case I found on my way to this blog. No Bubbles.

  43. I just got the lifeproof case for my 4s. The first one I got had the issue of no one could hear me, and echoing. I returned it and this one has been fine. The regular speakers are muffled a bit, but talking and hearing the person I'm calling is perfect.

    The thing I like best about the lifeproof is that it's waterproof. If it didn't have that feature I'd be using an otterbox, and that "Armor" case you linked looks great, I'll get one the day it's available, thanks for the link.

  44. I have a defender case. I'm horrible at dropping things. And I have two small kids. Anyways, my phone fell of the roof of a van while doing highway speeds. I was chasing it down in my vehicle and watched as it bounced off the asphault several times.
    The phone was fine. The case had sone chew marks on the impact spots but otherwise good.

    I will stick to the otterbox.

  45. Nice thought thanks for share this post this I also share with you something Many have placed their iDevices in the trust of our expertise and care inorder to get you up and running as soon as possible so that you can continue your demanding and professional lives with your trusty electronic companions.
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  46. I prefer the Otterbox Defender for my iphone, I love it and bought it for only $19 at

  47. I know that I am late but your blog is awesome it give us great information of iphone, give us update like this in future also.

    Thanks For post
    drop ship device cases

  48. Just a quick FYI... my husband (over the road truck driver), myself, and our 13 yr. old all have the otter box defender series cases.

    Just to test out the Otterbox defender case (before we bought them for all of the phones) I deliberately threw my phone as hard as I could at a brick wall, dropped it on cement and on pavement. I tried to simulate any possible thing my husband could do to the phone before I bought the case for him, since he has a history of damaging and loosing phones.

    No joke this actually happened my husband phone was only one month old husband ran over his phone (phone was in case) while driving his semi (loaded with 80,000 lbs.). the only damage to the phone was a shattered screen, no scratches and the cover was cracked slightly but not bad. The phone still turned on and there was no damage done to the battery. We replaced the phone and a new defender case and we were good to go.

    Thanks to all of the "tests" I had done with my phone, under the rubber gasket coating the plastic has broken at the seams. We took pictures of the damage and sent them into otterbox and a new case arrived did the exchange per their directions, no questions asked, no extra money out of our pockets.

    We have only replaced the cover one time (since Feb 2013) on my daughters iphone 4, because she ripped it. Again we took pictures and a new case was sent out.

    We have been very happy with the defender series...but I am curious about the armor series... has anyone tried it?

  49. These tips to much helpful for party hope I am post for my friend. To the surprise of many friends, I still used the phone regularly for months, and I began to not even notice the fractures in the middle of the screen anymore. Eventually, however, the iPhone began to look a lot like The Terminator in the scene where he's looking in the mirror and pulls off part of his eye socket and face. Slowly, pieces of glass had come out, the front camera became exposed as a rugged bump with no glass over it, and the phone weakened until the backside glass started to crack too. As much as I enjoyed referring to this as "my anti-theft" device, it was time to do something about it.
    Iphone Water Damage Repair

  50. Did you try the Lifeproof nuud or the fre? The nuud says you can touch the iPhones actual touchscreen (and still waterproof etc) so kinda curious as to how this is possible

  51. You shared nice information but as I read a review saying of Amazon that the Otterbox Defender cases are fakes and they do not save from harm the phone but I think that unsatisfied customer will be happy to see the site I want to share with all.

    drop ship iphone 5 cover.

  52. I have never use any protecting cases for my iPhone. I am taking care of it. But it is nice to use the cases for saving cell phone in accidental cases. en ucuz iphone 5

  53. I like the Otterbox Defender series, just bought one for $15 at

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