Otterbox Defender iPad case review: Best rugged case money can buy

Otterbox Defender iPad case review: Best rugged case money can buy

Otterbox Defender iPad Case

The iPad has established itself as one of the coolest gadgets of the year, and is a must have if you love Apple.  Its large display, crystal clear screen, and a multitude of features make it one of the most impressive tablets on the market.  Check out Mobile Magazine’s iPad review here. However, like all iDevices, they do leave something to be desired in the area of durability.

Fortunately, or unfortunately in respects to decision making, there are multitudes of cases available for you to buy.  The most noteworthy iPad case on the market is the Otterbox Defender.  It features three layers of protection, a screen protector, and a hefty $90 price tag.  Otterbox has made quality cases in the past for countless mobile devices, Blackberry’s and the iPhone 3G/3GS; but can the iPad version of the Defender live up to expectations?

Features and Design
The case itself consists of three layers: a hard inner shell, silicon outer shell, and hard outside shell with stand, this protects the screen on the go.   The layers all overlap like a suit of advanced armor providing for maximum protection with very few weaknesses.  A removable tab allows you to easily access the dock connector without removing the entire case. The materials are incredibly well made and light, considering the amount of protection you’re planning on getting. They protect your iPad against bumps, shocks, drops and dust intrusion. But it will not protect your iPad from water.

Back side of the Otterbox Defender iPad case, without the front guard clipped on.

Overall Performance
Ergonomically, the stand and screen protector work well for your everyday use.  All buttons are accessible, and the stand/outer shell works great in portrait mode. The screen protector allows you to use your iPad’s touch screen with no problems whatsoever if applied correctly. Its a thin film of plastic that sticks to your display flawlessly  That being said, the case’s only weakness is the standard full screen sized adhesive protector. You need a very clean surface and a bit of patience to get it right.  The cardboard air bubble remover is essential to getting it right.  Once you do, it’s on for good and hardly noticeable.

The Defender is tough, but I’m not going to say it’s indestructible.  The hard layers protect from big bangs, while the silicone absorbs shocks from falls, covers your ports, and can really save the day in case of an accidental drop.  It can stand up to some pretty decent drops.  I’ll go as far to say that you’ll have to look to break the case, in order for it to be broken.

Wireless connectivity does suffer a tad when wrapped in its protective sheath. I noticed on average a 30% reduction in signal strength. One trade off in respects to near indestructibility.

This is the front protective cover/stand which clips on the back when not in use.

Bottom Line

Despite the high price tag, and the generic screen protector, I highly recommend the Otterbox Defender for your iPad.  If you’re using it in an environment where “shit happens,” this case is the one you want. It’s the strongest and best-made case I’ve come across since I bought  my iPad.  It may be expensive and not waterproof, but the extra $90 you spend on the case could very well save the $500+ investment you’ve put into your iPad, so long as it doesn’t take a dip.

Check out the photos in the gallery for the stand, and other angles.

Otterbox Defender iPad case – $90 from Otterbox