OtterBox for the Samsung Galaxy S3
After breaking a few phones in the past, a good case was definitely in order to protect the shiny S3. After a bit of research, I found this bad boy … er, bad box, the OtterBox Defender.
Complete with built in protective screen, the Otter Box Defender is currently the toughest S3 case out there.
Gloss be gone! This case ain’t gonna scratch or slip!
Nearly twice as thick as the Galaxy S3, the OtterBox adds some bulk, but also lots of protection.
The OtterBox Defender offers 3 layers of protection. An internal soft shock absorber, an inner hard plastic case and an outer grippy rubber layer.
Not exactly quick to take back out, but it’s not that difficult either.
All that extra thickness offers some decent protection for the deeply recessed camera lens. The S3 power button is actually easier to operate in the case!
Likewise, the thick protruding bezel around the screen offers much more protection … than none!
The salesman told me it’s water & dust resistant, but given the holes next the the plugs, I won’t be taking it into the shower.
The built-in screen protector is cut out around the phone’s front speaker, some sensors and the hardware home button at the bottom. Unfortunately this makes it possible for moisture, dust and larger scratchy bits to get between it and the shiny screen! For this reason I left a clear film protector attached to my screen. After a week of general use, quite a bit of pocket residue had worked it’s way under the shield and was quite difficult to remove from the protector as the particles had begun to rub from use. Touch sensitivity is affected somewhat as the protector isn’t attached to the screen and tends to bounce very slightly causing some typing errors. Screen visibility is still good, but it does tend to flare the pixels – for want of a better description – in some lighting conditions. After a week and a half of use, I removed the built in screen protector by seperating it from the case, mainly because of long term particle rubbing concerns. This has resulted in more flex on the longer edges of the case. I expect I’ll have to remove the case weekly to give it a clean inside as now small bits can get behind the phone easier.
Quite a bit bulker than the Extreme Silicon case and the naked Galaxy S3, the Otter Box Defender offers far superior protection.
Photo above is digitally modified showing the DailyRoads Voyager app in action.
I made a bracket out of a piece of bent sheet metal and some foam which fits onto my iLoad dash without drilling any holes or causing damage.
The phone’s belt carrier holds the S3 securely and conveniently clips on and off. It will fit a belt about 5mm thick x 4cm wide.
Depending which way you place the phone in the holder, either the power button or the volume buttons become inaccessible.
I’ve modified the belt carrier by drilling and filing a hole where the camera lens is as shown below. After the shot was taken, I also drilled a smaller hole below for the rear speaker. I’m also considering cutting a small section from the bottom/side so the volume buttons will be acccessible when mounted in the car.
The belt clip can swivel and be locked in an open position which allows it to be used as a stand.
If you ride, skate, build, dig, jog, climb trees or are just plain clumsy, the Otter Box Defender just might save your phone. Is it worth the extra bulk? Well, it’s kinda like insurance, you won’t need it until you drop it. If only I’d had one on my old – now broken – HD2! There’s also a Commuter version which is a little less bulky but a little less rugged.
UPDATE: OK, so I’ve been using the Otterbox daily on my SIII for about six months now, so what are my long term thoughts …
Well, I’ve accidentally dropped and fumbled My Galaxy several times with this case on, though mostly low impact, but I can think of one big hit when I definitely was extremely thankful for the Otterbox Defender’s shock absorbing abilities – so the bulk has been worth it!
The pic above shows how the outer soft shell of the Otterbox has stretched out of shape, and no longer fits snugly into the groves of the hard inner shell as it should. Upon pushing the bottom end in, the corners pop out as can be seen in the top corner of the phone. I probably remove the cover once a fortnight or so to clean all the dust and crap out that works it’s way in there. The back of the phone is still shiny and new, probably due to the soft inner padding, but a few small scratches have developed around the chrome bumper where grit has rubbed between the case and phone’s edge. I took the shot above before I cleaned it, you can see dust sitting around the edge of the screen, much of it gets caught on the sticky bit where I removed the cases built in screen guard (as mentioned previously) before it can get around to the sides and back on the inside. I’m using an “Extreme” branded stick on film screen protector – the one on this pic has been on the phone for over 6 months and is due for a new one – I highly recommend them. As for the OtterBox stretching, I think I’ll test their warranty claim -“ warrants our OtterBox products against defects in material or workmanship for a period of one year from the original date of purchase” – I’ll post here how I get on.
[EDIT] I had no problems making a warranty claim with OtterBox from their website and sending some pics and details in reply to their email response. A new soft outer case was received within a week 🙂
Since buying the OtterBox, I’ve discovered another very tough case from Lifeproof which is in development for the S3 and should be released soon – you can get notified of it’s release HERE.
“Take your Samsung Galaxy S3 everywhere you want to go. To the beach, under the shower, down ski slopes, over rocky terrain or anywhere else you can imagine. The LifeProof case for Galaxy S3 provides the highest degree of water proof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof protection in an incredibly sleek and low profile case. Every feature and function is still accessible, including touch screen functionality, volume controls, the home, option and back keys, as well as the front and back cameras. The speakers and microphones are protected while still providing great sound and the headphone jack and charge port are covered from the elements until you need to access them. Freedom to go everywhere and do anything — available soon for your Samsung Galaxy S3.