Does OtterBox Really Work?

Do OtterBox cases work?The OtterBox is a special case for the iPhone and other smartphones, and the iPad and other tablets that is supposed to make it basically impervious to drops and other accidents.

Ever since cell phones started getting popular there have been cell phone cases to help protect them from damage. As they get lighter, thinner, and more sophisticated, it’s become even more important, as well as more difficult to keep them safe from harm. It seems easier to scratch or drop today’s phones because they go with us everywhere and always seem to end up in harm’s way.

The Claim
The makers of the OtterBox claim that it will make your smartphone or tablet waterproof, dust proof, crush proof, and able to bounce back from drops. They say that it’s the best selling case in America for smartphones. They have different series’ of phones depending on your lifestyle and the way you use your device, so you can shop depending on what type of case you need.

The Hype
These are pretty much super popular right now, with many trusting their precious gadgets with the case, even though it seems to add to the size of your phone making it hard for you to put into your pocket or other slots that are meant for phones. They keep adding new models to their offerings, making it a better experience for the user, but also making the choice harder since there are so many to choose from.

The Cost
In the world of cell phone cases, you’re going to pay a premium to get an OtterBox. You can get cheap plastic cases for less than $5, and you’re going to pay around $30 or more for an OtterBox depending on what kind of phone or tablet you have. They say there’s no substitute for quality, but at the end of the day we’re talking about a plastic case. Not all plastic is created equally of course, but it still seems rather pricey for a cell phone case.

The Commitment
Once you’ve got this on your phone you pretty much can forget about it. You might need to take it off your phone if you want to use it with one of those speaker/charger units that let you listen to music on bigger speakers.

The OtterBox isn’t winning fans on accident, it does work really well and lives up to the claims it makes. Not only does it work in the short term as far as protecting your phone from individual incidents, it’s also effective for the long term, providing protection over the life of your phone.

You can’t really make a strong case for this product not being effective, but it is possible to nitpick on some features that aren’t exactly ideal. This might not be the most attractive case in the world, but they’ve taken steps to make newer models sleeker and more attractive, as well as slim as possible while still providing the same sort of results. Earlier models were big and bulky, but now they seem to have slimmed it down as much as possible.

One common complaint is that once you get the case on it’s hard to take off. Also it makes it hard to put your phone onto iHome and other peripheral devices that require you to dock your device. There is also concern that in moist environments it won’t work too well for you since it can fog up and make it hard to see your screen. There are also complaints about the placement of certain pieces of the case that interfere with the input for headphones and microphones. This seems to have been rectified in newer models. This shows that the folks at OtterBox Inc. are listening to the feedback and making upgrades on their already successful line of products.

It’s a good idea to buy the cases straight from the source, or from an authorized retailer, because there are a ton of knockoffs out there that claim to be similar to an OtterBox, and may even look and fit like one, but aren’t actually made by the same company. Even though imitation may be the highest form of flattery, and you might be tempted to save a few bucks, the difference in quality is apparent, so you don’t want to end up with a flimsy piece of plastic and entrust your phone’s well-being to it.

Final OtterBox Review

The OtterBox is getting our Thumbs Up review. You can justify the extra cost by the fact that it’s protecting your devices that cost hundreds of dollars, and potentially extending the time you’ll be able to use them, meaning you won’t have to replace them as often. The proof is in the thousands upon thousands of actual buyers that say it works, and that it does what it says it can do.

Our Recommendation
If your phone is the main crux of your life and you can’t get by without it, you need to take steps to protect it and keep it functioning properly. Part of the process is to protect it from bumps and bruises with a case like this, but you also may want to buy some insurance for the phone in case it get lost or stolen, or in case the cover you get for it isn’t enough and your phone still ends up damaged.

What do you think? Does OtterBox work or not?


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lane March 26, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I’ve already busted up a kindle by dropping it and I’m not about to do the same with my brand new ipad. The only issue though is the quality of the case. Sometimes the dimensions are not exact and the edges end up touching the screen, thus making the touchscreen error out a lot. It’s always risky buying these cases, not because they don’t work, because making a strong case is easy, but because making them work seamlessly isn’t always so straightforward.


Rebecca Ashcraft July 9, 2013 at 1:58 am

In the years that I’ve owned iPhones (since they first came out) I have tried cheap covers and I’ve tried expensive covers, but the only one I’ve come back to is OtterBox. I’m not sure how they perform on other brands of phones, but what the OtterBox lacks in ease of removal it more than makes up for in incredible protection. We have had several cover types in a rainbow of colors in our extended family, and I have only known of one person who had a problem with her cover. The front panel broke near the base, and when she called to tell the company in Fort Collins about it, their only question was the address where she’d like her new one sent. We’re fans.


Stephanie Caldwell July 9, 2013 at 7:24 am

Otter boxes work but they are not the only cases that work. I stopped using otter boxes when I had one that was supposed to have a lifetime guarantee but then when I tried to return it to the company they basically said sorry for your luck.

I use speck a case now and I love it, on my iPad I use a snap on case that has a front flap and an elastic closure. I have dropped it numerous times and aside from the one time I dropped it out of the case there isn’t a scratch on it.


David July 14, 2013 at 3:23 am

As for the Otterbox I find this product to be a very useful and is ideal to have if you have a smartphone. I personally do own an Otterbox for my smartphone and the reason I bought it when I did is because I had already experienced what happens to smartphones when they are unprotected by a case. Long story short I had a smartphone prior to my current one and one night it slipped out of my pocket, fell less than a foot to my concrete porch, and the screen just spider-webbed almost from end to end. So when I decided to upgrade and get a new phone I knew that protection was mandatory and that I needed a case. The price to me was reasonable for what my Otterbox offers though some people might think that $35 is too much for a phone case, especially if they get a good deal on insurance with their phone company. I haven’t had any drops since I got the phone and the Otterbox but I’m sure there are a few right around the corner but I’m not worried about it, I am confident that my Otterbox will do what it is designed to do.


Alex Manea July 14, 2013 at 8:01 pm

A colleague recently bought an Otterbox for his Samsung Galaxy S4 and I had to try it myself to be convinced that it was as good as the manufacturer says. I dropped the phone from my waist and my head without breaking it. I also stepped on it, gently, and the case withstood the pressure. The Otterbox should also be waterproof, but for some reason I was afraid to submerge it in water. I have to say that I’m convinced it’s a good product, but since I’m very careful with my phones, I never broke one so far, I won’t be buying one. Plus, I don’t like its design and it makes the phone feel bulky.


Vanessa B. July 28, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Less than a week after getting my iPhone, I was walking down stairs, turned around to help my daughter with something, and my iPhone tumbled downstairs and onto the hard tile floor below. Of course it was broken, but luckily the people at the Apple store were great and replaced it with a refurbished one. This time, I got an Otter Box to put my iPhone in. It’s dropped a few more times since I put it in the Otter Box and it’s still fine (the falls weren’t as extreme as shown in the video though!) this product is super expensive, but so worth it in my opinion.


Allison July 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm

I bought a pay as you go plan for the iPhone. Now anybody who uses that kind of plan knows that you have to pay a pretty penny for a nice smartphone, which I did. The iPhone 5 cost me $600. (Don’t worry, I did the long run math of contract vs. prepaid and it was actually cheaper to be prepaid, believe it or not.) When I handed over that much money I knew I wanted to invest in a really good phone cover so that my expensive purchase would be relatively protected. Otterbox is amazing, does just what I need, and is highly recommended.


John February 15, 2017 at 10:42 pm

I bought a otterbox case 3 weeks ago I drop my phone from about 2 ft screen shattered


Tom July 7, 2017 at 3:33 am

For me these as do not work. I use them on my iPad and my G4. Screen is cracked on both, but my iPad is severely damaged. Case doesn’t even protect it anymore.


Gerardo Meneses September 12, 2017 at 2:21 am

Otterbox Symmetry Cases for the Galaxy S8 don’t work. My phone slipped out of my hand as I was closing the trunk of my car and it hit the driveway about 4-5 feet away. Sure enough the screen cracked. So much for superior protection. Not worth the cost of the hype.


David Zagorski July 27, 2018 at 2:58 am

Otterbox does not work. My phone slipped out of my hand as I took it out of my pants pocket and the screen cracked in 3 places. The company offered a replacement case; but what is the point if the product doesn’t work? Don’t believe the hype; the Mile High standards touted by Peyton Manning for this product are crock.


Jakub Barvir October 24, 2018 at 9:12 am

Otterbox is overpriced and rubbish product. They take big advantage of product releases and charge a fortune for their cases. You basically think you are getting a top quality product as you are paying a top buck for your case but the reality is different. The cases are poorly made, don’t fit properly and start peeling a few month of use. The customer service is rubbish (check the trustpilot)
You can buy better quality cases for 4 x less the price this company is charging. They have a good advertising and know how to sell it however the product is very poor!


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