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  1. #1

    Otterbox vs. Lifeproof (iPhone case question...)

    Okay, so a few months ago I posted that I was contemplating jumping into a Smartphone. At that point I ultimately decided to 'hold what I got' which is a Casio G'Zone Brigade, a clamshell texting phone but not a smart phone. I added a very small data plan but after a few months I've come to realize why people moved from these types of phones towards smartphones - even with data, they aren't that easy to use.

    Also, Liz now wants a smartphone and my Brigade is showing its age so I think it's time to take the plunge, once and for all. Although I considered the G'zone Commando (the Casio 'droid smartphone) I think we're going to stick with the iPhone just for its 'universality.'

    But anyway, since I'm coming from a "ruggedized" phone, I want to make sure any new phone I get is sufficiently protected, so I'm looking at cases. It appears that the big two are the Otterbox and the Lifeproof. The Lifeproof is more expensive but is geniunely waterproof, while the Otterbox apparently is not.

    So what experiences have folks had with them? While the Lifeproof is more expensive, it doesn't seem to be that much more, and if it's more protective, my thought is that it's a good investment.

    Also, are there any other accessories I need to think about getting? We have plenty of iPod chargers around the house and my understanding is that these will work on the iPhones we're getting (4s). Both of us have car stereos that are Bluetooth enabled as well as having USB ports with iPod controls so I'm assuming that's all we need to hook them up to the cars.

    Finally, where are most of you getting your apps from? Is iTunes the only place you can get apps for the iPhone, or are there other sites as well?
    Last edited by ZappBranigan; July 15th, 2013 at 11:21 AM.
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  2. #2
    Also look at Trident cases. I've had them on my last couple phones and they have taken lots of falls off the roof with no damage to the phones.
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  3. #3
    Lifeproof appears to be in California. Otterbox is local in Colorado. Dunno if it matters in the decision.

  4. #4
    Ace's Avatar
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    Dunno about lifeproof but I really like my Otterbox commuter. Not as bulky as the defender but the phone has survived a few good drops no problem.

    I would go with something at least as good as the defender. I dropped my 4s from waist height, deflected the fall with my shoe and shattered the screen.. it was less than two weeks old. It had a simple plastic "protector"

    There are a lot of parts in an iphone when you fix the screen!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Clod Hopper View Post
    Lifeproof appears to be in California. Otterbox is local in Colorado. Dunno if it matters in the decision.
    What matters is whether it protects my expensive phone. I don't care if it's made in Iran and assembled in North Korea by Chinese slave laborers as long as it keeps me from getting a broken screen or a dead phone.

  6. #6
    Your What Hurts? Sound_Man's Avatar
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    Wonder if the NSA has any data on which phone cases work the best based on their tracking data.
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  7. #7
    Captain Radon Steve's Avatar
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    I had an Otterbox Defender for mine. Didn't like it as it's much larger than the actual phone so doesn't really fit in a pocket. Wife had a Lifeproof and returned it for a refund; seems the waterproofing causes some distortion and loss of speaker volume when using it as a phone. Wife now has an Otterbox Commuter that's smaller than the Defender and supposedly not as protective but she's dropped hers several times and hasn't damaged it. Most any case provides some protection, so unless you drop your phone a lot I'd stay away from the two you mentioned.

  8. #8
    Old Fart Emeritus DaJudge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    What matters is whether it protects my expensive phone. I don't care if it's made in Iran and assembled in North Korea by Chinese slave laborers as long as it keeps me from getting a broken screen or a dead phone.
    For $100 I have insurance that will replace my phone for $25 if broken in the next 24 months. I can only do that 4x in that 24 months period. I fail to see the point of getting a slim phone and then encasing it in a bulky suit of armor.
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  9. #9
    scottycards's Avatar
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    Get the insurance and you don't have to worry, nor deal with a bulky case.

    Since you'll have iCloud, it's one click to restore a replacement phone.

    Judge beat me to it.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by scottycards View Post
    Get the insurance and you don't have to worry, nor deal with a bulky case.

    Since you'll have iCloud, it's one click to restore a replacement phone.

    Judge beat me to it.
    this, though i do have cases with a holster type option as when i wear pants and slacks i dont like for the phone to be in my pocket

    and if you buy an android product you can do all the same stuff, depends on what level of involvement you want in restoring stuff....
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    What matters is whether it protects my expensive phone. I don't care if it's made in Iran and assembled in North Korea by Chinese slave laborers as long as it keeps me from getting a broken screen or a dead phone.
    In that case, flip a coin. My friend run the lifeproof ipad case and lets her autistic 5 year old wail on the thing. My wife runs the otterbox defender on her iphone and we don't hesitate to let our three year old wander off with it. (Find my iphone app is WONDERFUL!)

    While not water proof, the defender is very water resistant. And by water, I mean coffee and milk.

    Unless you plan to pound on it like a silverback, I think you should be in great shape with either.
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  12. #12
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    My friend had the Defender but his screen still cracked when he dropped his phone off his bed.

    My roommate dropped his in a Lifeproof case off the filming stand on the football field without issue.

    My mom recently switched from an otterbox to a magpul case and likes it, but it's not nearly as protective.
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  13. #13
    Grumpy Ol Biker CLYDE's Avatar
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    I have the defender, and so far no issue. Im pretty rough on phones doing excavating, lots of drops, and general rough handling. Seems to be pretty water resistant, but certainly not waterproof.
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  14. #14
    newracer's Avatar
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    I have had a Defender case on several phones and they held up well to my abuse and I am hard on phones.

    My 15 year old son has a Magpul with a good screen protector and it has worked well for him.

    Otterbox is a lot cheaper than the Lifeproof.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by DaJudge View Post
    For $100 I have insurance that will replace my phone for $25 if broken in the next 24 months. I can only do that 4x in that 24 months period. I fail to see the point of getting a slim phone and then encasing it in a bulky suit of armor.
    This times a trazillian!! My less than a year old S3 got wet this weekend [while in a zip lock baggie] and is now completely done! I did not have insurance, and will now have to shell out a ridiculous amount of money to get a replacement! :sigh:
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  16. #16

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    I have the Defender and the rubber outer shell makes it tough to slide in and out of a pocket easily. I don't care to clip it into a holster either.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by rubbersidedown View Post
    This times a trazillian!! My less than a year old S3 got wet this weekend [while in a zip lock baggie] and is now completely done! I did not have insurance, and will now have to shell out a ridiculous amount of money to get a replacement! :sigh:
    Point well taken.

    Will probably spend less on a case and more on insurance.

  18. #18
    clemsonkrawler's Avatar
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    I had otterboxes on my phones and switched to lifeproof cases. They are much thinner and don't turn my pockets inside out everytime I pull the phone out of my pocket. Both have proven to be 3yr old boy proof though.
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  19. #19
    Loki's Avatar
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    I have the Magpul executive field case, my 4s fell from the seat of my leveled Ram 2500 onto the garage floor without damage. They have two other more protective cases than the one I'm using.

    http://store.magpul.com/category/125
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  20. #20
    scottycards's Avatar
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    Best minimalist case I've found that offers protection is a "bumper case". Google for results. Cheap, effective, not bulky. Does withstand occasional drops. Coupled with insurance, a decent option.

  21. #21
    I have had Otterbox defender cases on 3 iphones and 2 ipads. The phones still look new after a few years.
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  22. #22
    I x12435 brajillion the OtterBox Defender... Daughter has one on her Ipod and has gone through some terrible abuse and the thing still looks new.
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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by DaJudge View Post
    For $100 I have insurance that will replace my phone for $25 if broken in the next 24 months. I can only do that 4x in that 24 months period. I fail to see the point of getting a slim phone and then encasing it in a bulky suit of armor.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottycards View Post
    Get the insurance and you don't have to worry, nor deal with a bulky case.

    Since you'll have iCloud, it's one click to restore a replacement phone.

    Judge beat me to it.
    This and this. Just had my 5 replaced. I thought they would 'use' one of two of my accidental replacements. I had dropped it a couple times and the auto brightness didn't seem to be working. The back glass encasing the lens and flash was cracked and there were several dings around the outer bezel. They claimed it under the one year manufactures warranty to replace it. Even when I fully admitted to dropping it several times and showing them the cracked glass. The other lady who was trying to BS them about her 5 was denied based on internal water corrosion. Stating it had been exposed to excess water. IOW a good attitude and some honesty goes a looong way when dealing with CS reps. And I think Apple Care extends the period to three years. Correct me if I'm wrong. The replacement fee is $50 per occurrence though. I've 'heard' that if you're real nice that SOMETIMES, NOT ALWAYS, they'll 'waive' the fee on the first occurrence.

  24. #24
    Otterbox Reflex for my iPhone, minimalist but still has good protection on all edges and corners. Price wasn't too bad either (sub $30). I keep my phone in my pocket and while this cover does have some softer silicone on the corners, it still works well with pockets.
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  25. #25
    I'm holding out for the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active (waterproof and rugged version of the S4).
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  26. #26
    Captain Radon Steve's Avatar
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    If anyone wants a free Otterbox Defender for an iPhone 4s let me know as neither Kathy or I like the one we have and won't be using it.

  27. #27
    AppleCare is $99. That's 1-3 cases. I buy 2-4 cases 'cause I get bored or find another case I like better. It's cheaper to buy AppleCare for me.

  28. #28
    Do I have to buy applecare when I buy the phone? Or is it something I can get separately?

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    Do I have to buy applecare when I buy the phone? Or is it something I can get separately?
    Either with the phone when you buy it, or within 30 days IIRC.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I have the Magpul executive field case, my 4s fell from the seat of my leveled Ram 2500 onto the garage floor without damage. They have two other more protective cases than the one I'm using.

    http://store.magpul.com/category/125
    Hmmm...those look like good cases. I'm thinking at this point basic case + applecare is probably the way to go.

  31. #31
    One thing worth considering: you may opt for a screen protector or a case that comes with a screen protector. No matter how good you think you take care of your phone, it's bound to get a light scuff/scratch on it at some point in its life. Not sure if the Magpul covers come with a screen protector, but most/all of the Otterbox ones do.

    My 3 y/o iPod Touch is virtually immaculate because I had a screen protector on it.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by longboy View Post
    One thing worth considering: you may opt for a screen protector or a case that comes with a screen protector. No matter how good you think you take care of your phone, it's bound to get a light scuff/scratch on it at some point in its life. Not sure if the Magpul covers come with a screen protector, but most/all of the Otterbox ones do.

    My 3 y/o iPod Touch is virtually immaculate because I had a screen protector on it.
    Does the screen protector affect the responsiveness of the touch screen?

  33. #33
    Grumpy Ol Biker CLYDE's Avatar
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    doesn't on my nokia lumia, works the same with the case on/off.

  34. #34
    newracer's Avatar
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    Magpul does not come with a screen protector. Sometimes my touch screen does not react in the very corners with my Defender case.

  35. #35
    Captain Radon Steve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    Does the screen protector affect the responsiveness of the touch screen?
    The ones that apply to the screen don't at all. We didn't like the one that's integrated into the Otterbox Defender.

  36. #36
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    I'm in my 19th month with the otterbox defender on my iPhone 4s. Usually when I get a phone, the screen is cracked within a month, but this phone is perfectly new. My wife and daughter are in their 8th month with lifeproof. My daughter is even rougher on stuff than I am, but she couldn't stand the idea of the big rubber case. The lifeproof is fairly slim and slippery, and moves in and out of a pocket very easily. It's also nicely waterproof, which has saved her phone twice... though I was stopped on 225 last Friday in that thunderstorm, absolutely drenched, blinded, soaked to the skin, with almost an inch of water on my floorboards trying to get out of the drain holes (plugs are in the glove compartment), and have been in similar situations. This one was more notable because I've torn the top part of my case a bit and I knew it was providing even less water protection than usual. But Kate has had to replace hers due to a known bug with the wifi/bluetooth unit and it had had none of its indicators tripped... she's never had to open the case to get condensation out of it, etc.. It does frequently fall out of her pocket when she sits down.
    I don't have a good comparison of drop protection. The phones we have in the otterboxes have never been dropped more than a foot, but mine has had the whole running child knocking it out of my hands, sailing head-high through the air tumbling and landing on concrete, once on a corner, once almost flat on its face.

    pros
    otterbox - high drop protection, medium splash protection, very grippy, easy to use the touchscreen through the protector, controls work easily through the case.
    lifeproof - mid drop protection, full immersion protection, slim and slippery.

    cons
    otterbox - no immersion protection, bulky, resists going in and out of pocket
    lifeproof - slips out of pocket unintentionally, requires a pigtail to stay waterproof with headphones, very difficult to get the 30pin connector on and off, touchscreen requires very high force to get a response through the protector, difficult to actuate the volume and mute switches through the case.
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  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post
    We didn't like the one that's integrated into the Otterbox Defender.
    And at the other end of the spectrum I notice no difference with or without the Defender on my Iphone. There are five of them in our house and three are teenage text machines.

  38. #38
    Loki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZappBranigan View Post
    Does the screen protector affect the responsiveness of the touch screen?
    We bought some screen protector film off Ebay, put one on my wife's phone, I opted not to put it on mine.

  39. #39
    My 4s fell out of my truck at about 45 mph on highway 93. Had a Magpul case on it that protected it and the incident resulted in no damage to the phone.
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  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by DaJudge View Post
    For $100 I have insurance that will replace my phone for $25 if broken in the next 24 months. I can only do that 4x in that 24 months period. I fail to see the point of getting a slim phone and then encasing it in a bulky suit of armor.
    But then you are without a phone until you get the replacement. I prefer to keep it protected and not be without it.

    One thing worth considering: you may opt for a screen protector or a case that comes with a screen protector. No matter how good you think you take care of your phone, it's bound to get a light scuff/scratch on it at some point in its life.
    This. Trident cases come with hard plastic screen protectors built into the cases. Doesnt effect the touch screen at all. After 2 yrs of drops down roof hatches (about 12 ft), crawling under mobiles, and in roof top a/c units the cases had some abuse but the phones (2 of them every 2 yrs) look like brand new when you take the case off. Not a scratch on them.

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