Bottom line: Otter + Pop offers another protective and ultra-versatile case, this time in the transparent Symmetry model. The case has all the one-handed convenience of a PopSocket combined with the drop protection we expect from OtterBox.
Super tough protection
Versatile PopSocket adds convenience
Easy to use one-handed
A bit bulky
PopSocket scratches easily
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The PopSocket has long been known as a cool accessory that adds versatility and convenience to your iPhone, but OtterBox is the first brand to incorporate the PopSocket into their case designs. The result is a very cool case that is both protective and easier to use for one-handed and hands-free activities. This clear version also lets my lovely iPhone 12 Pro Max shine through in all its Pacific Blue loveliness.
I've been using the Otter + Pop Symmetry Series Clear Case now for several weeks, and I've put it through the paces, even a few significant accidental drops. This review details my experience with the case, both the positive points and a couple of less favorable observations.
Otter + Pop Symmetry Clear Case: What I like
Although I've been using OtterBox cases for years, this was my first experience with the famous PopSocket contraption, and I gotta say, it's a good match. This has all the heavy-duty protection we've come to expect from OtterBox alongside the versatile convenience of PopSocket. I've always seen these PopSockets around, but I didn't realize how much they would come in handy on a big phone like the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Texting, taking selfies, and propping up the iPhone are all made infinitely easier with the PopSocket. Because of the hugeness of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, it's almost impossible to text one-handed, and it's awkward to take good selfies. The PopSocket changes all that, making all one-handed actions smoother and less prone to drops. It also works as a handy stand for watching videos! When I'm done with it, I can pop the PopSocket back down into the case where it lays almost flat.
Besides the PopSocket, the OtterBox Symmetry brings all the protection and durability I love about this brand. I'm a serial breaker of iPhones, so a case like this is necessary for me. In fact, the day after I slipped my new iPhone 12 Pro Max into this case, I dropped it down an entire flight of concrete stairs. I can hear you cringing, but both the iPhone and the case were in perfect condition despite the horrifying clatter down the stairs. The OtterBox case has a tiny abrasion on one corner, but it's barely noticeable unless you inspect it closely. I call that a protection job well done.
Unlike the other Otter+Pop collaborative case designs, this is the only one that's totally clear from all angles. Since I enjoy the sleek look and Pacific Blue shade of my iPhone, the clear case shows it off to the best advantage. Even the rubberized bumpers are clear, so you can fully enjoy the iPhone's good looks through the case. The fact that you can pick and choose different PopSocket colors and patterns to customize the case is just icing on the cake.
Otter + Pop Symmetry Clear Case: What I don't like
I've used several OtterBox case models over the years, but this is my first time with the Symmetry case. After reading about it on the website, I was expecting a slimmer case. The description describes it as having a "thin profile," but I found it to be a bit bulky, as are most OtterBox cases. Granted, I need a substantial, highly protective case due to my proclivity for accidents, but this is not what I would describe as a thin case. It's a bit slimmer than the Defender Series, certainly, but not as slim as the Figura or the Strada series.
Another thing I noticed was that the clear PopSocket has a tendency to become scratched very quickly. After a few weeks of use, the surface of the PopSocket started showing fine lines and scratches. I haven't used any of the cute colors that PopSocket makes, so this might just be a problem with the clear PopSocket. I might be investing in some new PopSocket colors soon, however, since I don't like seeing those little scratches on the clear surface. It's important to note that the rest of the clear OtterBox case does not scratch easily, only the PopSocket itself. I suppose this could easily be solved by replacing the PopSocket every so often, which is probably the intention of this case design anyhow.
The Otter + Pop Case is a unique product. There isn't anything else like it, so you could say it has no competition. The closest comparable product would be the PopGrip slide - a PopSocket on a clip that will slip on or off your iPhone case. This one (opens in new tab) is made for the Apple Silicone case, but there is also an adjustable version that will fit most any other case. In my opinion, this solution is just not as elegant as the PopSocket that's built right into the OtterBox case, but it might work if you don't want to shell out for OtterBox prices.
OtterBox does offer other PopSocket cases besides the Symmetry. Look into the Otter + Pop Figura case for a slightly slimmer and more colorful case.
Otter + Pop Symmetry Clear Case: Should you buy?
You should buy this if ...
You like to use your iPhone one-handed.
This case has made it possible for me to text and take photos one-handed, which was previously very difficult with the big iPhone 12 Pro Max. It does add convenience and reliability to the case.
You appreciate a built-in stand.
Plenty of cases offer built-in stands, but they are usually ugly and easily breakable. The PopSocket is a cute solution that is also durable and easy to switch out.
You are rough on your phones.
If there's one thing you can guarantee with an OtterBox case, it's heavy-duty protection. Despite its clear, minimal appearance, the transparent Symmetry case offers drop protection up to three times the military-grade standard.
You like to customize your own look.
I haven't played around with different colors and patterns yet, but PopSocket offers hundreds of different PopSocket designs that you can mix and match with your Otter + Pop case. You can even custom-print one with your own name, so it's a fully customizable case that you can continue to change around long after you buy the case.
You should not buy this if ...
You want a super slim case.
Even though the OtterBox Symmetry case claims to have a thin profile, it was not a very thin case, in my opinion. That's okay with me because I need the protection, but a slim case, it is not.
You want to stick with a clear PopSocket.
The clear PopSocket that this case comes with is prone to fine scratches and lines on its surface. I will probably be changing it out soon for another color or pattern that's more durable with long use.
The Otter+Pop Symmetry Series Clear Case is an all-around excellent case for both protection and convenience. The PopSocket will instantly make your iPhone more versatile for one-handed texting and selfies, along with hands-free viewing. When it's not in use, the PopSocket can be collapsed into the case for a nearly flat profile. The PopSocket can also be customized and switched out to match your personality or your outfit!
As with any OtterBox Symmetry case, the clear version provides rugged protection against drops and rough treatment. This has been borne out in my testing, having dropped my phone down a flight of stairs in the Otter+Pop Symmetry Clear Case without a scratch or dent to be seen. There was a tiny abrasion on the corner of the case after the fall, but other than that, it held up fine to a truly cringe-worthy tumble down the stairs. I do not doubt that my iPhone 12 Pro Max will be perfectly protected in this case, no matter what I put it through.
Overall, the combination of OtterBox and PopSocket is a winner, and I will keep this case on my iPhone for a long time to come. After all, if I get bored with its appearance, I can just change out the PopSocket!
Bottom line: The collab between OtterBox and PopSocket makes for a super protective, ultra-versatile iPhone case that will instantly improve your experience with your smartphone. This clear version lets the iPhone 12's beauty shine through while allowing for a little customizable creativity with interchangeable PopSockets.
Jaclyn Kilani is a content writer at iMore. She's a longtime Apple addict with a flair for creating (written works, design, photos; you name it!) on her devices. Jaclyn has also worked in the marketing sector for over 16 years, dabbling in a bit of everything from writing to graphic design and digital marketing. In her heart of hearts, however, she is a born writer and an avid reader who adores everything about the written word. Someday she may even churn out a book or two.
Throughout her career, Jaclyn has also developed something of an addiction to all things Apple. Her professional and personal life is enhanced by an ever-growing collection of iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Apple Watches, and even AirTags. Luckily, this expensive habit is of great use to her work at iMore, where she writes with authority on Apple products and the accessories that go with them.