OtterBox Defender Series Pro iPhone case review: Extreme protection

Do you tend to drop your phone on occasion, or do you work in an environment that's hazardous to your phone? If you want to minimize the risk of damaging your iPhone, consider the OtterBox Defender Series Pro. It includes a holster that doubles as a kickstand for added convenience.

The Good

  • Heavy-duty protection
  • Variety of colors and patterns
  • Holster doubles as a kickstand
  • Phone fully operational in case

The Bad

  • Bulky

Rugged protection

OtterBox Defender Series Pro iPhone case: Features

Otterbox Defender Series Pro iphone case

The case is actually four pieces. Two piece comprise the hard polycarbonate inner shell; just place your phone on the back piece and snap on the front. The synthetic rubber outer shell layer is softer, and goes on around the other two parts. It has a nice grippy texture to it. You cannot use the inner shell without the outer shell or vice versa; all three of those pieces make the case. Finally, there is a hard plastic holster with a belt clip, which you can use or not. The swiveling holster does double as a kickstand, nice for watching videos on your iPhone.

There is no included screen protector with this case, which suits me just fine. I despised those built-in plastic screen protectors which obscured the iPhone's beautiful screen and interfered with its functionality. I have a glass edge-to-edge screen protector on my own phone and the OtterBox fits and works just fine with it.

Full functionality and ultimate protection define the OtterBox Defender Series Pro iPhone Case.

The Sleep/Wake and volume buttons have button covers over them that work perfectly. The mute switch and Lightning ports both have cutouts with rubbery covers over them that must be opened (with some effort) to access them. The camera and speakers have cutouts so photography and sound are not affected by the case. There is a large lip around the edge of the case, so placing your phone face down will not result in contact with any surface. OtterBox claims the case offers microbial defense against common germs.

Wireless charging works great as long as it's not in the holster. The holster, of course, interferes with wireless charging. There are small divots on either side of the case. The divots secure the case into the holster, and because there are two, you can place your phone in the holster in either direction. You can also put your phone in the holster facing in or out.

Feels so safe

OtterBox Defender Series Pro iPhone case: What I like

I always get AppleCare+ on my iPhones, so I feel pretty comfortable using a minimal case in my day to day life. I carry a small purse and have small pockets, so a big bulky case isn't really my thing. However, if I managed to use up both of my AppleCare+ incidents, or I was going to be bringing my phone into a hazardous situation, the OtterBox Defender Series Pro case would definitely be the kind of case I'd go for. It's really not bad-looking for a heavy-duty case; I quite like the Purple Nebula color and there are many other attractive colors and patterns.

Otterbox Defender Series Pro iphone case

It's bulky

OtterBox Defender Series Pro iPhone case: What I don't like

There's no getting around that this is a bulky case. It takes up a lot of space, obscures the lines of the phone, and adds weight to your phone. Also, it's not going to be the kind of case you can slip on and off with ease. It takes a minute. The covers over the mute switch and Lightning port definitely take a few seconds to pry open.

Best for particular needs

OtterBox Defender Series Pro iPhone case: Bottom line

If you are looking for an extremely protective case and you're not bothered by bulk, the OtterBox Defender Series Pro iPhone case is perfect for you. Though the case is quite thick and heavy, the phone is still fully functional within it. It does not have a built-in screen protector (thank goodness), but it is fully compatible with the edge-to-edge glass screen protector I have on my phone. The included holster has a belt clip and can also be be used as a kickstand.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.