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Otterbox Defender-Mini Review


iPF Noob
Jul 7, 2010
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I returned from the road last night to discover that my Defender case had arrived.
In typical Otterbox fashion,they had said it would be 7-10 days but it arrived just 1 day after the order date?

I picked it up this morning,opened the box and here are my first impressions without pics until I get more time to follow through a little more.

Having had several Defender series cases before for various phones I was fairly sure what the iPad case would be like.

The fit and finish and overall quality really are as good or better than any other case I have seen or used.
The way the iPad slides into the protection is tight and I can see where using a screen protector would make it a little difficult to get it in there,but worth it too.
There is no play at all,ZERO!

The initial un-boxing was fun as always and this time it included the inner hard plastic skeleton of the case,the outer rubber,a Screen Protector Film,A hard protective screen cover,a full size microfiber cloth and some cardboard part I can not determine a use for?

Also as usual for Otterbox the instructions are merely a series of pictures that are almost worthless to me and no other help at all?

It is fairly obvious how it goes together once studied for a minute but how hard would it be to give actual written directions?

First the screen protector goes on.

Then the skeleton is a 2 part, full size carrier that the iPad slides into from the top.
There is a second skeleton piece that then slides into the first and is about 1/3 the size of the front of the iPad. Once this part slides in the iPad is sealed inside the inner protection.

Then the rubber skin wraps and tucks into the skeleton all the way around forming a Defender case which gives every spot of an iPad except the screen protected from most anything......but not water.

There are rubber flippers over the headphone jack and screen rotation switch.

There are solid rubber extensions over the Power and Standby switches and there is a removable flap that slides off to reveal the dock connector.

This sliding part does not feel right to me and you can see the rear of the iPad around the gap left when it is installed.
This is an entry point for dust for sure.
The iPad in the case can sit on the Apple Dock with this cover removed.
There are cutouts for the Light Sensor and Speakers and Microphone.
There is also a plastic film over a hole meant to display the Apple logo on the rear.
This feels flimsy and serves no other purpose except when taking the inner skeleton apart it seems to act as the latch holding the 2 parts together.

Then there is the cover/stand.
It is difficult to really describe this well and it is a little confusing but here goes.
The cover will snap over the entire front of the case and protect the screen.
It aligns with 4 plastic tabs and snaps on fairly well but also removes easily.
The cover can also be snapped on to the rear of the case and works just like when on the front.

The cover is thicker than it needs to be though because it is also the stand for the case.
There is a pair of plastic parts inside the cover that slide together to form the stand and the case then sits in the inverted cover at the angle formed by the sliding parts.
The case can sit in the stand in 1 of 2 ways each allowing a slightly different angle to the screen.

It feels as though you will break these sliding parts whenever you put them up or down and I hope this loosens up a little with use.
The stand also snaps into the up position but again it feels like it may break as you are doing this.
It is so hard that I was not sure it even locked and I was scared it would breal but it did lock and did not break.....yet.

The case merely rests on the stand though and does not really attach in any way so it is really only suited fro tabletop use to me.

Overall the whole case is well made and very substantial.

It is difficult to imagine better protection from any other case I have seen so far.
It is also not really the most practical case to me and I am somewhat torn about whether I will keep it or.......?

If I had not just received the ZooGue case before going on a trip over the weekend I would be crazy about the Otterbox.

I find the ability of the Z.G. to select and hold at any angle to be a huge advantage when using the iPad in the real world.
Add to this the elastic strap for hanging the iPad and I found the Otterbox case to be lacking in these 2 important areas.

The Z.G. is nicely made but not exactly meant for extreme locations where the Otterbox is clearly meant to able to absorb some abuse.

I have found myself looking to make or modify the Otterbox to replicate the function of the ZooGue.

As they say "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

The other concern I have is that the Otterbox has several parts that are not connected all the time and can be lost or must be stored somehow.
The dock connector sliding cover seems like it may be a pain to keep track of to me.
I think it would be better if there were a cut-out for the connector as well as the whole cover sliding off so the iPad could at least be charged and sync'ed without removing that cover.

So until I can get back with pics comparing the 2 cases I hope this gives an idea of the Otterbox and its properties?

Let the fun begin.



iPF Noob
May 12, 2010
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Dallas, TX


iPF Noob
May 18, 2010
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ordered mine last night, fyi there is a coupon code easily found on yahoo search for 10% off making it $80 shipped

expires 7/31


iPF Noob
Apr 20, 2010
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Fort Lauderdale, FL
Damn. I had an Otterbox for my 3GS (waiting for it to come out for the iphone4), and was planning on getting one for my iPad. However, i fish and am on boats a lot, and even though they say it their cases aren't waterproof, the 3GS case easily guarded against the occasional splash of water or a wet hand.

With the screen protector for the iPad being a separate film and not a plastic "sheet" that is actually a part of the case, it seems like it can be an entry point for moisture around the edges, as does the slight gap around the dock connector cover. And not being able to charge/sync without taking that cover off is going to be a PITA.

Think I'll wait until I actually see one in person to see for sure, but doesn't look like I'll be ordering one. Big disappointment for otterbox.

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