OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

Summary: The new OtterBox Defender is the ne plus ultra of hard case solutions for protecting your iPad 2.

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TOPICS: iPad, Mobility
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The new OtterBox Defender is the ne plus ultra of hard case solutions for protecting your iPad.

As I've been showing you in the last few weeks, OtterBox has been rolling out its next-generation in hard-case protection for tablet computers, first with RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook and now, finally for the Apple iPad 2.

Gallery: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2

The first thing you notice when removing the case from the packaging is just how much bulk they've managed to remove from the product while still maintaining a very high level of protection. Roughly 20 percent of the weight has been eliminated from the previous design.

As I have observed from the construction of the PlayBook version, OtterBox appears to be moving towards a clamshell design for their tablet protection systems that snaps rather than slides together. While this makes it slightly more difficult to remove the device from the case, it does make for a tighter and slimmer fit than the original version for the first generation iPad.

Additionally, besides making substantial engineering changes to the basic case design, they've managed to shave off a bunch of excess polycarbonate from the front of the case and on the case cover itself.

The area which used to completely surround the iPad 1 bezel on the older case with polycarbonate now leaves a large part of the bezel area exposed, so that it is easier to clean the screen, but keeps the edges and rim of the case above the screen in the event of a fall, so that it will be unlikely that something directly hits the glass itself.

The main action button is covered by a similar mechanism as the previous case but the polycarbonate plastic wraps around it as opposed to covering the entire bezel area.

As with the previous version of the case, all of the receptacles and control surfaces are protected and covered with silicone rubber but are also completely accessible, so your iPad 2 can live its entire life in the Defender.

Unlike the previous generation which used a large sliding peice of polycarbonate that slided out to and was removed to protect Apple's proprietary charging and syncing connector, the charging port is covered with a silicone rubber flap bonded to polycarbonate that can easily be bended away so that the 30-pin connector can be inserted.

The polycarbonate cover itself which snaps on to the front or the back of the case (where it does not obstruct the view of the rear camera) has been improved as well. The hinge mechanism which is used to support the iPad at an angle for typing as well as in a standing position for viewing now slides into position rather than snaps as used in the previous model, making it easier to move.

While the design has been reduced in weight substantially from the previous version, the case is still one of the heaviest available for the iPad 2 -- with the cover off, the iPad 2 in the new Defender weighs just under two pounds, approximately 31.2 ounces. The iPad 2 is 1.3lbs naked, so you're sacrificing a lot of the lightness of tablet in the process of protecting it.

The Defender for iPad 2 costs $89.95, which is no small price to pay for a case either. But then again, the first time the Defender protects your iPad from a hit on the corner, the side or the front may save you several hundred dollars from having to replace your device.

Will you be purchasing the new Defender your your iPad 2? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: iPad, Mobility

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience 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.

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24 comments
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  • The 100$ piece of plastic

    Good article. I just can't justify spending a hundred bucks on a case made of plastic and rubber. I get that it is to protect your investment, but strictly considering how much money it cost to create the item? I'd pay 30$ for it, even then I wouldn't be happy though. If it comes with a guarantee that says if it break while it is in this case they will fix it, THEN I'll talk about a 100$ price tag.
    aclonedsmurf
    • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

      @aclonedsmurf I agree with one minor difference: I paid the $120 for a square trade warranty as soon as I got my iPad 2. I don't care how much it costs to make, but what I do care about is how much I have "invested" into this product. <br><br>It doesn't seem worth it to pay $499 for a device, pay $120 for a warranty, $60 for (most cases) $30 screen film, $30 sleeve, $30 smartcover. <br><br>At a certain point you have to call it good and just enjoy using the device and throw caution to the wind. Before you know it you could easily spend $300+ on accessories & warranties, when really a warranty is all you need. <br><br>A case won't protect you from theft either. Just makes the burn that much worse.
      deftdrummer
      • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

        @deftdrummer I completely agree. I'll take a warranty and a medium case.
        aclonedsmurf
      • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

        @deftdrummer
        I totally agree with you. Good logic.
        Ram U
    • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

      I agree with that. there are may skins out in the market and some are cheap. the specs featured is impressive but is too much and almost a hundred bucks. I'll just have to wait if it is on sale.

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      arthur.freed
  • Message has been deleted.

    dougit
  • Two words

    pri cey
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~-~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

      I agree but given some time the price will drop on third party sites I'd imagine you could get one for $70ish or less in a few months.
      Jarhead5811
  • I was always curious what the OtterBox Defender looked like.

    I'll never use one. Not because this product isn't practical or useful. It's just too heavy. I value the unadorned iPad as a better ergonomic experience. And if the unprotected tablet befalls some calamity do to my actions .. Well .. That's life.
    kenosha77a
  • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

    Definitely designed by an engineer. The real problem for tablets is mobility for business users who are on their feet walking around the enterprise operating apps.. no solution here... check out the product at www.itabgrip.com.
    perler
  • Just what the Doctor ordered.

    I got mine a few days ago and I'm quite pleased with it. I don't believe in extended warranties and choose to spend my money on not breaking the the to begin with. While adding some bulk it's not near as bad the trifold leather case I had before, which was all I could find locally at the time I got my iPad 2. I have a two year old that plays toddler apps on it from time to time and this gives me some piece of mind. I also like holding the silicone of the case better than the bare iPad 2 or the much bulkier leather case I had. I'm sure someone will dig up the numbers and correct me but when I hold my iPad 2 in the OtterBox Defender and my Grandmother's unprotected iPad, one in each hand then swapping, I can't tell you which is heavier, they "feel" about the same to me and I feel less likely to drop the mine.
    Jarhead5811
  • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

    I'm waiting for my case which I should receive in a few more days, I've had the case for my iPhone,iPod touch and while it might be a little pricy I don't mind because each time I dropped my phone I didn't have a scratch and that's important to me, that just my opinion
    tiggerlove
  • Well worth the money

    I've ordered mime. My first iPad has been inherited by the family, and with the otter box I got for it when it was new, it's safe. The baby can drool on it, my 7 year old can ding it and my 13 year old can put it in a backpack and I know it will be fine. There is no way the device would still be functioning without it. My wife and I have otter box cases for our iPhones and she drops it on a regular basis onto tile or cement and it too is in perfect shape still.
    duckydan
  • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

    Unless you are using the iPad in a really extreme environment, it's hard to justify the weight vs. protection equation. Unlike a phone form factor, that screen is a big target for misfortune. The Apple Smart cover seems like reasonable screen protection for almost no weight increase, and you don't have to juggle a separate piece if you are using the iPad while walking around.
    Biotechguy
  • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

    It is of the course the "Nec plus Ultra" not the "ne plus ultra"
    phleroy
  • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

    I bought a Gumdrop Drop Series case over the Otterbox Defender. It's cheaper (I got mine for $40, but usually sells for $60) and it's less bulky and comes in different colors. The Otterbox only comes in black right now. It also has a special snap-on screen protector that snaps on before you snap on the layers of the case - which is cool, and it's replaceable.

    Yes, it's true that you might only need a warranty and a medium-range case and that the case doesn't protect from theft - but most warranties (including Squaretrade) don't protect from theft either. Not to mention that you have to send in your iPad for repair when you need to make a claim and the length of repair depends on if they have parts available. Generally, they're pretty quick, but when you rely on your iPad everyday, it can seem like forever. And Squaretrade won't fix things that they consider "cosmetic" such as scratches or dents. I'm obsessive about keeping my devices looking new, so a case was a no-brainer for me. I did purchase a squaretrade warranty as well, just in case, but I'd much rather prevent any damage from happening at all!
    china_cat84
  • Worst Case From Otter Box EVER!!!

    This is by far the worst case I've ever bought from @otterbox! First off, there is no screen protector!!! I'm sorry but I do not consider a "sticker" a good enough protection and not only that the one they send you with the case is JUNK!!! Second, there is NOTHING covering the speaker... if anything splashes on it your screwed! Third, the plug that covers the top headphone jack does not properly seal.

    I will be changing all my products (iphone, itouch, my girlfriends iphone, my parents iphone (3gs) over to GumDrop cases so thank you for the info!!!

    I spend over 50 hours a week working full time in a Ambulance and 8-16 hours a week in a ER on top of working at the Fire House. Protection is VERY important to me and I'm sorry to say that @otterbox really let me down.

    James
    _iFester
  • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

    Otterbox is one of our best selling products on our website www.betterbargainz.com. Otterbox is more expensive than other products but well worth it.
    Betterbargainz
  • RE: OtterBox Defender for iPad 2: Lighter, slimmer, but strong as ever

    <a href="http://www.sfplanet.com/category/our_top_sellers.otterbox_cases/">Otterbox</a> case for ipad 2 is great.... I already ordered for my ipad 2
    petersf
  • Annoyed

    I hate otterbox. I like the cleaner original out of the box looks
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