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

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

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

TOPICS: iPad, Mobility

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

    One of the objections of using an iPad (or tablets in general) inside primary or secondary educational institutions concerned inadvertent damage to the tablet from accidental student actions. "Oops, teach .. it just slipped out of my hand!"
    In your opinion, does this product protect the iPad from an accidental fall onto a hard surface (say from upwards of 4 feet)?

    By the way, good article but I must suggest something. You know, they do make tripods for cameras that don't cost all that much. Just suggesting a tip for one amateur video producer from another.
    • RE: OtterBox's Defender Case puts your iPad in a Batman Suit

      @kenosha7777 I actually have a tripod but I was lazy. I'll use one next time.

      I haven't tried drop testing the thing but I'll call Otter and find out if they've done impact tests.
  • RE: OtterBox's Defender Case puts your iPad in a Batman Suit

    Jason, I second the tripod suggestion. Thanks for the review. I have the Otterbox defender for my iPhone and it certainly does defend. I beleive you say in the video that the Defender "waterproofs" the iPad. Otterbox's website specifcally says the case does not water proof your iPad Of course it makes the phone so big and cumbersome I rarely use it. I feel this might be the same situation for the iPad defender. I'm also a klutz, but the iPad is heavy enough so I don't think I'd get much use out of this case unless I start using my iPad while working on my car (which is certainly a realistic possibility) or even using in the kitchen while cooking. I like the built in stand in the cover but it appears that it only supports the iPad in the landscape direction. There are many applications where I prefer my iPad in Portrait mode. Other than that, good review, I see this case is available from Amazon for $75 so if you're looking for max protection this seems like a reasonable product.
    • RE: OtterBox's Defender Case puts your iPad in a Batman Suit

      @jondrew yes the original OtterBox 1000 products are for waterproofing, the Defender doesn't waterproof the device.
  • I'm not wearing hockey pads! nt

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

    lol this is kind of weird looking
  • RE: OtterBox's Defender Case puts your iPad in a Batman Suit

    Yeah, I've got a defender for my 64GB 3G and its excellent!

    Until you have experienced your first ipad cement drop *cringe*, its hard to understand how much better you feel with the 2.5lbs of protective awesomeness surrounding your $800 ipad. (btw, the weight isn't an issue)

    For someone thats busy moving around each day its inevitable, you will drop your lovely apple (and fragile) pride and joy. I dont feel like I am handling a fragile $800 sheet of glass. Even "plopping" it in the front seat of my car isnt a problem.

    Oh, it also looks wicked awesome.

    Last words: Buy one.
    The Joe Man
  • RE: OtterBox's Defender Case puts your iPad in a Batman Suit

    Got the sniffles today, Jason? Get better soon! ^_^
  • SplashProof?

    No mention of splash proof which is what 90% of the public needs in the kitchen, garage and around the pool!
    • Splash proof cannot be easily done,

      In order to waterproof. The security package must touch the screen to form a seal, or the package must have its own transparent surface. Now here's the problem, if you start putting stuff on the screen, the iPad might behave strangely, or not respond at all.<br><br>Screen armor would be good for schools too. But there is no easy solution to this other than a develpoer side variant of the device. Namely a slightly thicker iPad (thicker screen), water tight seals around the edges and no ports at any point on the device. Said device must Charge with a wireless Pad, earphones will need a BluTooth receiver, and internet will be WiFi only. Now add the Armor and it's going to be kid proof and water proof.
      • above

        Sorry for the typos, tried to fix but fixes auto trigger a filter each time...
  • Awww.. you deleted my post of a cheaper alternative

    shame...... sense of humour failure ??????
  • RE: OtterBox's Defender Case puts your iPad in a Batman Suit

    Yeah...the OtterBox Defender a pretty awesome case. Make it completely waterproof by putting it inside the OtterBox laptop case:

    Here are a few more pics of the various pieces. Click on any of the images for a larger version:
  • RE: OtterBox's Defender Case puts your iPad in a Batman Suit

    This case is the best case ever. It was on for $54.03+$7.00 shipping. The shipping was really fast.
  • RE: OtterBox's Defender Case puts your iPad in a Batman Suit

    I have the otterbox defender, and it was on when it my ipad fell of the couch. results were not pretty. without the top cover on, the screen cracked instantly upon impact. the tech support told me its possible, depending on how it fell, and what angle it landed on the floor. the otterbox may protect the ipad when not in use, but for those who actually use the ipad, it may not be the best option. the hard plastic on the otter box frame will hit the floor first, before the rubber edges can absorb the impact.