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OtterBox Defender and Symmetry for Apple iPad Pro 10.5: 3-layer rugged and stylish protective cases

The Apple iPad Pro 10.5 is a fantastic tablet and OtterBox now has two case options to protect your investment. One provides multi-layer protection while the other lets you use your Apple Smart Keyboard.
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By Matthew Miller, Contributor on
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1 of 16 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

OtterBox Defender and Symmetry for iPad Pro 10.5

The new Apple iPad Pro 10.5 is a stunning tablet that starts at $649 and goes up to $1,129. While it is less than the new iPad X, it is still a significant investment you want to keep safe and sound. OtterBox is known for providing protection and is the Kleenex of the protective case review market.

Currently, OtterBox offers two case options for the iPad Pro 10.5 and the company sent both for me to test out with my iPad. The Defender series provides three layers of protection, including integrated screen protection, while the Symmetry series protects your iPad and gets out of the way with clear plastic materials.

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Four pieces of the OtterBox Defender series

The Defender series case is available for $89.95 in black and vinyasa (pink and purple). The case has OtterBox certified drop+ protection, which means is has undergone 24+ tests and 238+ hours of testing. In addition to the expected drop protection, the Defender series has dust protection with port covers and screen protection with a clear membrane over the entire display and TouchID button.

The Defender series consists of four pieces; front cover piece that is mostly clear, back cover piece in hard plastic with soft lining to protect the back panel and help protect your iPad, an outer synthetic rubber slipcover, and a polycarbonate shield stand. The two cover pieces snap together securely and serve as the complete inner shell. When I wanted to take my iPad out of the case to test another case, it took serious effort to pry the front cover off the back in the 12 areas designated by arrows on the back cover shell.

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Openings in the inner shell

There is an opening on the back inner shell and outer rubber cover that shows the Apple logo. The inner shell opening is covered by clear plastic. The front cover of the inner shell is primarily clear plastic material. I was able to easily use the fingerprint sensor to unlock my iPad. In addition, my Apple Pencil works perfectly through the clear front cover of the case.

There are openings for the cameras, mics, speakers, 3.5mm headset jack, and Lightning port. There are raised buttons for the power and volume buttons. Thick port covers are positioned over the headset jack and Lightning port.

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Front and back inner shell pieces snapped together

Openings are present for the speakers and other parts of the iPad Pro 10.5.

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Rubber slip cover in place over the inner shell

Port covers keep your iPad safe from dust.

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Rear camera opening and volume buttons

The rear camera is fully accessible and raised buttons make it easy to manipulate your device.

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Thick covers for your openings

The headset jack is protected on the Defender case.

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Back openings in the inner shell

The Apple logo is visible on the Defender case.

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iPad propped up in the shield stand

The OtterBox Defender provides serious protection for the iPad Pro 10.5, but you cannot use the Apple Smart Keyboard with the case. You can use other Bluetooth keyboards and the shield stand helps by propping up your protected iPad Pro.

The shield stand adds even more protection for the iPad Pro as you carry it around, simply snap the shield stand over the front of the iPad. There is also an Apple Pencil holder within the shield stand.

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Shield stand over the iPad Pro 10.5

The shield stand covers the iPad Pro 10.5 and keeps your iPad safe in the field.

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Apple Pencil holder in the shield stand

There is a place to secure your Apple Pencil in the Defender series case.

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Clear back on the OtterBox Symmetry case

While the OtterBox Defender series case is fantastic for field work and other use outside the office. If you want drop protection with the ability to use the Apple Smart Keyboard, then you should consider the OtterBox Symmetry series case. It is available as a clear case for $79.95.

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Camera opening and silicone edges

The Symmetry series case is a single piece case where you insert your iPad Pro 10.5 with the clear silicone edges holding the iPad Pro securely in place. The back of the case is a hard polycarbonate material that shows offer your iPad Pro in all its glory. The case protects your iPad from drops and scratches with the back material of the case having some scratch resistance as well.

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Silicone edges and openings

The edges are easy to grip and there are openings in the Symmetry case.

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Nylon Apple Pencil holder

You can safely carry your Apple Pencil by sliding it into the nylon loop on the OtterBox Symmetry case.

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Use your Smart Cover or Smart Keyboard with the OtterBox Symmetry

If you want to use the Apple Smart Keyboard or Smart Cover, there is a removable spine piece that opens up one side of the case. On the opposite side of the case you will find a nylon loop that is used to securely hold your Apple Pencil.

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