OtterBox Armor Series – Serious iPhone 5 Protection: Review

March 18, 2013

If you’ve followed any of my blogs and technology conference coverage, you know I’m a fiend when it comes to protecting my tech. I fear that the slightest dust, dirt, drop and fluid will render my equipment useless. And as a content creator/journalist/geek, I cannot live without my technology. In fact, part and parcel of my trip to cover the Gulf Oil Spill was a result of my care and understanding of technology.

Therefore, whenever OtterBox comes out with a new case – and better still new technology – I jump at the chance to put my device inside and test it out. The latest cases in the Armor Series are no different. As I type this, one of the Armor Series cases is floating in my sink sans iPhone.

The directions that come with the case tell you to test the case for water-tightness for 30 minutes. I’m doing that and marveling at the overbuilt (not for me) nature of this line of cases. In fact, the insert says the Armor Series from OtterBox is constructed to standards that specify…

  • Zero Dust
  • 2-Ton Crush Resistance
  • 10-Foot Drop Protection
  • 6.6ft Immersion in Water for 30 Minutes
Here’s the video – or really just a snippet – of that water-immersion test…

Is that enough for you? It could very well be for me. Unlike friends Mike Langford and Steve Garfield – who both go minimalistic on their iPhone cases – I don’t mind putting a larger-profile case in my pocket. It serves two purposes. It allows me to grin and laugh when folks ask “Is that an iPhone in your pocket?”. It also allows me not to freak out when using the iPhone on rooftop parties at South by Southwest, in bathrooms with tile floors, in kayaks on the open ocean (OtterBox includes a lanyard with this case so your phone won’t sink to the bottom of the bay in the Armor Series as long as you loop the lanyard on your wrist) or in any other less-than-safe scenario.

I’m not sure that the case can stop a bullet or prevent hangovers, but otherwise it seems as if it’s the best, most-protective case they’ve ever made. Also, from a use-case study, I found the buttons all work, photos can be taken from within the larger case without the flash issues that have plagued other cases from other manufacturers (flash gets bumped and photos get washed out), and the grippy surface allows you to hang onto your phone.

Is this the best case solution for everyone? Not if you don’t like some semblance of bulk. The case is large. Nor if you feel that up to $100 is too much to pay for a case. But as you all know, the iPhone protection plan through Apple or ATT/Verizon is now $99 AND you pay a $50 fee when you replace your phone. I look at this case as an immediate $50 savings and instant peace of mind.

I’ll share on my social networks whether I hit any bumps in the road – literally – with the OtterBox Armor Series. But so far it’s my favorite case. Let me know what you think.