OtterBox Symmetry Series for iPhone 12 Pro Max review: Vibrant protection that's never boring

Otterbox Symmetry Case Back
(Image: © Jaclyn Kilani / iMore)

iMore Verdict

Bottom line: The OtterBox Symmetry Series offers rugged protection for the iPhone 12 Pro Max at 3X the military standard. It can also do this in every color of the rainbow.


  • +

    Incredible protection, as always

  • +

    Tons of cool colors and graphics to choose from

  • +

    Nifty antimicrobial coating

  • +

    Lightweight with grippy edges


  • -

    A bit thicker than expected

  • -

    Difficult to install and remove

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The OtterBox Symmetry Series is a classic OtterBox design that has been around now for a few years. They create a new line and new colorways for every new iPhone, however, and I'm loving the designs they've created for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The Rock Candy Blue case is a vivid complement to my Pacific Blue iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Of course, no matter what color it is, every Symmetry Case comes with the military-grade, drop-proof protection that we've come to expect from OtterBox. I have tested this out extensively (although not on purpose, really), and it has held up no matter how hard I dropped it. In fact, after two months of heavy and clumsy usage, the case looks like it just came out of the box.

I've used the Symmetry Series case on my iPhone 12 Pro Max long enough now to find a few small disadvantages as well. I'll go into all of the pros and cons in this review.

A rainbow of vibrant options

OtterBox Symmetry Series: What I like

Otterbox Symmetry Case Iphone 12 Pro Max

Otterbox Symmetry Case Iphone 12 Pro Max (Image credit: Jaclyn Kilani / iMore)

Bold, bright, and stylish, the OtterBox Symmetry series looks pretty dang good on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, especially the Pacific Blue colorway. In fact, that's one of the things I enjoy most about the Symmetry Series; the model offers loads of different color and style choices, from glittery clear cases to graphic patterns and flat matte colors. It's rare to see this many fun colors on a rugged protective case like this one.

And rugged it is, despite the sleek look. While this is certainly not an ultra-thin case as some of the OtterBox marketing seems to suggest, the Symmetry Case is definitely slimmer than other heavy-duty cases like the OtterBox Defender Series or the FRĒ by LifeProof. Regardless of its thinner profile, the Symmetry case has already held up beautifully after multiple hard drops and falls over the past few weeks. I never go more than a few days without dropping my phone, so I put this case through its paces. There's not a single mark or scratch to be seen on the Symmetry Case or my iPhone, even after a particularly rough drop onto concrete.

I also appreciate the antimicrobial coating since everyone knows that cellphones are hot spots for bacterial growth. Although it doesn't protect against viruses, at least I know that there's no bacteria living and growing on this case. Finally, the Symmetry Case is lightweight despite its proven durability, and the rubberized grippy edges make it less likely to drop out of my buttery fingers.

Did you say slim?

OtterBox Symmetry Series: What I don't like

Otterbox Symmetry Case Front

Otterbox Symmetry Case Front (Image credit: Jaclyn Kilani / iMore)

After reading about how slim it was online, I was a bit surprised to find that the Symmetry Series case is not actually that thin. I mean, it's thin compared to the Defender Series for sure, but it's not exactly what I would define as a 'slim' case. The border extends almost five millimeters outside the edge of the phone, so it still has some girth to it. I suppose this is necessary to the high level of protection that OtterBox provides, so I certainly don't mind overmuch.

The case was not exactly easy to install and remove, either. Don't get me wrong; once the case is on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, it melds with the handset in a fit so snug they become one well-protected unit. But that snug fit did require quite a bit of effort, turning, pressing, and practically forcing the iPhone into the case. It's not super easy to pry off either, so I would recommend making this case a long-term choice.

The competition

Uag Case Copy

Uag Case Copy (Image credit: Urban Armor Gear)

Most cases that offer the level of protection that OtterBox provides are priced much higher. Urban Armor Gear comes in at about the same price point, however, and they have a line of rugged cases that are industrial in both look and feel. One of their slimmer options that is a little more sleek and simple like the Symmetry Series is the UAG Civilian Case. This one has a simple outline with a few interesting color options. While the Civilian Case has fewer colors to choose from than the Symmetry Series, it offers the same level of protection at the same price.

OtterBox Symmetry Series: Should you buy

Otterbox Symmetry Case Side

Otterbox Symmetry Case Side (Image credit: Jaclyn Kilani / iMore)

You should buy this if ...

You like bright colors and fun prints.

No other rugged protective case on the market offers so many fun colors, interesting patterns, and unique design options. The Symmetry case comes in all sorts of styles, and you can even order one with a built-in PopSocket if you like.

You're rough on your iPhone.

As expected with any OtterBox case, the Symmetry Series will protect your iPhone no matter where or how hard you drop it. Concrete is no match for this tough little case.

You're worried about germs.

The antimicrobial coating on this case is the icing on the cake. Along with world-class drop protection, you can expect germ protection as well.

You should not buy this if ...

You were expecting an ultra-thin case.

The Symmetry Series is slimmer than many rugged cases, but it is not a very thin case overall.

You want to change cases often.

Since it takes some considerable effort to install and remove the Symmetry case, be aware that it works better as a long-term iPhone case.

The Symmetry Series by OtterBox offers excellent protection, lots of fun colorways, and an antimicrobial coating in a sleek, modern design. It looks beautiful on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. I like the vivid Rock Candy Blue for my Pacific Blue iPhone, but there are scores of other designs and patterns to choose from in this series. Although it's not an ultra-slim case, it has a pretty sleek design for offering rugged, military-grade protection. You can also count on the antimicrobial coating to keep the case free of yucky germs.

Jaclyn Kilani

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.