iPhone Cases by OtterBox: Protecting the Goods

Now that you possess the electronic gizmo of your dreams, how will you protect it on the racecourse? Gear Up from our December 11, 2007, /SW eNewsletter/

GUiPhoneCase368

Otterbox

As a certified Apple geek since 1984, with a house full of Macs and an iBook on my desk here at the office, I was excited as all the rest of the true believers when the iPhone was introduced last summer. However, with a job in journalism and a household that includes four kids, I shelved my desire for the latest Mac wizardry.My wife runs the family finances, and she's the best gift-giver ever (just ask my kids), so when my birthday rolled around in November, she shocked me with the object of my desire, an 8-Gig iPhone. Once my initial rush of gratitude and awe had subsided, I immediately started thinking about ways to protect my new gizmo, which, as anyone who pays attention to such things knows, is just about the most expensive mobile phone on the planet at $399. At around the same time, OtterBox--which has made a name for itself as the go-to manufacturer of cases to protect gear such as iPods, digital cameras, and expensive cigars from falls, moisture, and general mayhem--announced two new cases specifically designed for the iPhone, the Defender, which protects from drop, bumps, and scratches, and the fully rugged, waterproof Armor, which protects in more extreme environments.OtterBox was kind enough to send me the Defender model in black (it's also available in yellow, which I predict will sell slowly, if at all. The idea of covering the sleek black and silver iPhone with something colored bright yellow goes against even my rudimentary sense of style). Simple, clear, well-illustrated instructions came with the case, but there's also a helpful video posted on YouTube. It took me all of three minutes to remove the protective silicone shroud, crack open the two-piece polycarbonate case, remove two pieces of disposable protecting plastic from the two view ports, insert my iPhone, and seal the whole deal back up again. Inside the Defender case, it's still possible, via two port protectors, to synch and charge the iPhone, and attach the headphone/microphone combo. It's also possible to access the touch screen through the thin, scratchproof Defender screen, and to manage the volume and power buttons. The only inaccessible control is the ringer's mute switch, which will require some pre-planning on your part before entering a business meeting or movie theater.Overall, I'm impressed by the quality and utility of the Defender case. It fits the iPhone well, and I think the silicone shroud/plastic case combination will protect the iPhone from most drops and dings. The Defender case isn't waterproof, but should prove adequate at protecting the iPhone from random raindrops and malicious mists. The case adds a bit of bulk to the sleek iPhone, but is worth it for the protection it gives. The included swiveling belt holder really adds bulk, but if you do decide to use the feature, it promises to hold the iPhone quite snugly.If you need full protection, you should probably look at the waterproof Armor model, which we'll be trying out once the sailing season re-starts here in New England next spring, (or if I head for any regattas down south this winter). The Defender case is $49.95, the Armor version is $69.95. www.otterbox.com