Otterbox cases and the iPhone 5/5S – Review

Otterbox cases and the iPhone 5/5S   Review

I’ve grown fond of Otterbox over the years, having found them years ago whilst looking for a rugged case for my Dell Streak 5.

Fast forward a few years and Otterbox are one of THE names for mobile phone and tablet cases, with many different designs and colours available. With each new device they usually make a case for it. Be it the Commuter, Defender, Wallet,

Otterbox have sent us a few of their current range for the iPhone 5/5S. Take a look below at my thoughts on each.

Commuter case

The Commuter case has been my favourite case for years. The latest generation come with a choice of a wide range of colours. With different coloured inner and outer layers. The Commuter case is made up of a soft rubber inner layer that absorbs any impacts and a tough polycarbonate outer layer. The inner layer has flaps that cover the various ports and can easily be opened.

I really like the Commuter case, it offers decent protection and when combined with the included screen protector you’ve got a well protected device. I also really like the colour combinations that Otterbox are offering these days, allowing you to create a really unique look for your new iPhone.

In use the Commuter case easily slips into a pocket thanks to its hard outer shell, opening flaps to charge every day initially seems laborious but you’ll soon get used to it. Buttons and switches are easily accessed and used, as the soft inner layer easily moves to your touch.

The only slight issue I’ve found with Commuter cases is if you have to remove the case several times a day, for SIM card swapping or something, the process is a little fiddly.

Defender case

The Otterbox Defender case is their toughest case it is a three piece case that has a built in screen protector. This is a case for someone that really likes to chuck their phone around.

You get two solid inner pieces that you sit the phone into, you clip the front onto the rear and then you put on the soft outer layer. The top part of the inner layer has a screen protector built in. There are cut outs for the home button and the earpiece, there are also a variety of flaps to protect the various ports. The buttons are all easily usable as the inner layer has holes for them and the soft outer layer covers them up.

In use I found the defender to be really solid and I was surprised by the screen protector which I thought would inhibit touch input. I do wonder how often you’d have to dismantle the entire thing to clean dust and debris from under the film though. It isn’t waterproof though which might be something they’ll add in future versions. If you’re a builder or you work outside a lot the Defender might be the ideal case for you.

Prefix case

Some people are put off by the complex nature of the Commuter and Defender cases, so Otterbox have made the Prefix case, which is a single piece polycarbonate reinforced rubber case.

You basically get the protection of a Commuter case with the ease of fitting a cheap TPU case.

In use the Prefix case was probably my favourite out of the ones I’ve had recently. It felt nice in the hand thanks to the rubbery outer, all buttons and ports were easily accessible and usable. I even quite liked the pinky purply colouring as well. Combined with the included screen protector it really felt well protected.

Reflex case

Ease of installation is another thing that’s been looked at with the Reflex case. With the Reflex you get two halves, that clip together giving you a solid well protected case.

In use the Reflex case felt a bit odd, almost like it would come apart at any point. It doesn’t though, separating them is actually quite a task, you have to push the clip together and pull them apart.

The Reflex case offers decent protection from drops and impacts, although the volume buttons need quite a bit of effort to operate.


Overall the Otterbox range for the iPhone 5 / 5S are pretty decent. You’ve got from easy to fit with decent protection right through to super protection and fiddly to fit.

The colours they offer the cases in these days is the most appealing thing in my eyes. Yes you’ve got a chunky solid case but why shouldn’t you have it in bright green?

If you’re interested in any of the Otterbox cases for the iPhone 5 / 5S then head over to the iPhone product pages here.