I have tested and purchased several OtterBox cases over the years, since I take my smartphones out into the field and need advanced protection for my expensive devices. I've been testing the new OtterBox Armor Series with my Apple iPhone 5, and the ease of installation and removal, combined with serious protection, make it a great choice to consider.
The OtterBox iPhone 5 Armor Series is available in green (neon), blue (arctic), and electric orange. I was sent the neon green one to evaluate. The color appears on the inside of the back and on the bottom port covers. The Arctic color also has white front and rear case coloring, while the other two are gray.
Specifications for the case include waterproof for 30 minutes in up to 6.6 feet of water, drop proof for drops from up to 10 feet, high-strength reinforced plastic that can withstand up to 2 tonnes of force, and rustproof performance. It weighs just 3.91 ounces. It obviously adds bulk, which is a cost of having such protection.
One of the frustrations I had with using previous protective cases was the effort required to insert and remove the smartphone from the case. With the Armor Series, OtterBox solved this with an extremely easy method where you simply set your phone in the front piece, slide the back left side into the available slots, and then secure the two metal hasps. I can install or remove my iPhone 5 in just seconds, and this ease of use makes the case one I will use on a more regular basis.
The case design has just two simple pieces, front and back. The front is where most everything can be found, including an integrated screen protector. The top of the inside, above the screen protector, has a small piece of material to help hold the device in place. Around the inside edges you will find a frame with ridges that hold the device in place while offering shock protection.
You will also see integrated pieces for button activation, and thick foam inserts for the headset and speaker. There is a piece of the colored material that fits into the Lightning opening, too. Around each of these covers is an O-ring to help keep the case waterproof for up to 30 minutes in 6.6 feet of water.
The package also comes with a lanyard that you insert into the front piece before you attach and secure the back. A lanyard can be helpful for field work, and I tested the case with the lanyard attached and removed.
The clear material can also be found over the display and the sensors above the display. I have an iSkin on my iPhone 5 and even with this on my phone it fits well.
After placing your iPhone 5 down face first into front piece, you then take the rear cover piece and slide the left side of it down in to where the integrated pieces fit into the front slots. It is great to see heavy rubber material, colored, take up most of the back as it offers protection and shock support for the case. There is also clear material over the camera and flash openings.
After inserting the back into the left slots, press the back down and secure the two heavy metal hasps. Once they are closed, the case is secure and your iPhone 5 is protected. Wasn't that easy?
I have no reason to try to use my iPhone underwater, but need something that helps protect my phones in the rain. I am mainly interested in drop protection when I am on site since I walk around ships and engine rooms where drops are easy. I also climb in and out of tanks and voids, so having something on my phone to protect it when I press against the steel hull is helpful.
I didn't want to risk my expensive iPhone 5, but I did place dry tissue paper in the case and kept it submerged in 6 inches of water for several hours without seeing any sign of leaks. I doubt many people want their phone submerged for a long period of time, but dips in water should be survivable with this case.
You can find the OtterBox Armor Series at the OtterBox site or your local wireless carrier store for $99.95.