OtterBox's Defender Case puts your iPad in a Batman Suit

Summary:OtterBox's "Defender" case brings you ultimate protection for your iPad.

OtterBox's "Defender" case brings you ultimate protection for your iPad.

Over the weekend, I received the highly-anticipated "Defender" case by OtterBox for my iPad.

OtterBox is an established leader in the device case space -- they first started out with waterproof cases for various cell phones and PDAs in 1998 and have distinguished themselves with high-quality, highly protective cases for the past 12 years.

The Defender continues OtterBox's tradition of highly protective cases for cell phones and media players, but now for the much larger iPad. But all this protection comes at a price: $89.95. That's roughly 1/5th of the price of a entry-level iPad.

However,  if you want to be able to feel secure that your iPad is highly unlikely to get damaged if dinged, dropped off the side of a coffee table/bed or slipped off the couch while you doze off and want the closest thing to a klutz-proof insurance policy for your precious tablet, then this is the case for you.

What do you get for ninety bucks? Well you get a high strength polycarbonate plastic shell that has been fully encased in thick silicone rubber. Effectively, you're putting your iPad in a Batman suit or making it semi-worthy of military field use.

In actuality, what you'll spend on this case is a bargain, because the protection you get with the Defender really isn't that much different than what you'd see on far more expensive ruggedized vertical market mobile devices for the transportation and commercial/retail industries.

Once fully encased, your iPad can live in the Defender for the rest of its natural life -- all of the buttons and controls and receptacles/sensors are fully accessible through the polycarbonate bezel and silicone rubber cover.

The iPad dock connector is covered with a slide-off polycarbonate/silicone backing that allows for the unit to be charged or docked/synced with the case still on.

But all this protection comes with a trade-off: the weight. The 680-700g iPad gains 340g without the cover/integrated kickstand on it -- to a total of 1020g, or 2.2lbs. With the cover, which you can clip to the back of the case while you are holding it, it jumps to 1275g, or 45oz, roughly 2lbs 13oz.

That's just short of three pounds, which is putting you into notebook computer territory. It should also be added that all of this armor coating also adds a decent amount of thickness and girth to the device as well.

For those of you willing to compromise on some of the protection, OtterBox also offers the Commuter case for $64.95 which reduces some of the polycarbonate components and also a decent amount of the weight.

Still, even with the weight trade-off, I happen to think this is one of the best cases on the market. And considering how much tablet computers get handled, it's a small price to pay for keeping yourself out of the Apple Store for a replacement when you or someone else who uses your beloved device inevitably has an "oops" or worse, an "oh $@#!" moment.

Have you ordered a Defender or Commuter for your iPad yet? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: iPad, Mobility


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet is a technologist with over two decades of experience with integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer... Full Bio

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