Received my OtterBox Defender iPhone 5 case other day, being an OtterBox fan since the release of the iPhone 4, this case for the 5 leaves me a little disappointed. For others all the changes vs the i;phone 4 variant may be all improvements, for me and how I use my iPhone, the changes are a few steps backwards.
History; I bought the Defender case when it was first released for the iPhone 4, LOVED it, wore it out, literally. As an Electrician and using my phone in the trade I keep it in my chest pocket. Early on with my pervious iPhones I learned the Silicone cases were better suited for me due to the stiction of the grippy silicone, wouldn't slide out of my pocket when I bent over and the soft silicone added a good measure of shock absorption for those times when I did drop the phone. OtterBox to the rescue with the Defender, flaps to cover the ports to keep debris and dirt out, good overall protection, etc. After a year the silicone skin was wore through on the corners, the flaps were tore surrounding the hinge points and the plastic inner shell was cracked in two places from multiple drops, yet the phone was still in as new condition. Extremely pleased with how the case faired and protected my phone especially considering the environments I subjected it to I didn't hesitate to purchase another Defender case to replace the worn out case. 8 months later ready for the new iPhone 5, again didn't hesitate to order the new Defender case. Case arrived, opened the package and... It looks very nice but the new rubberized skin is much harder and slipperier than the previous iPhone defender silicone version. For some/most this may be a welcome attribute, for me its not. 1) It does not have the grippyness of the previous skin allowing the phone to fall out of my pocket when I lean over, 2) the harder rubber "feels" chincy in comparison, 3) the flaps now push against the charge connector and headphone plug with considerable side loads that I am not comfortable subjecting my new phone to. It feels like it may create issues internally over time with the amount of side loading the hard rubber flaps put on those connectors.
Granted, the sides of the skin around the face don't peel up like the previous softer version but to me that was a compromise worth dealing with, now the added strain being placed on the connectors and a slipperier skin, compromises I am not wiling to make for how I use my phone.
Currently looking into alternative cases, a few have my attention, the LifeProof water proof case, Ballistic Hardcore, Griffin Survivor, and the TakTik, (TakTik is an exotic case, price is bit higher and adds considerably more to the perimeter dimensions and smooth, not grippy).
I have the case mate tough extreme and the defender. I'm taking the defender back tomorrow. The case mate is thinner and also full body protection with a built in screen protector as well.
The defender case I though was well made just not for me. On mine (could be a defect also not sure ) the built in screen protector was a sliver above my iphone screen. So whenever I typed I could here the clicking on the screen. Not so with the case mate. The entire case is rock solid. I was actually quit surprised.
I had only previously purchased there barely there cases and this is the first tough case I bought from them. I am now thinking of buying a second one in a different color. My wife also wants one as well.
The case mate is a two part case. The top part covers the screen with its screen protector and the that slide in the hard rubber inside to protect it further. Really impressed. It also has a textured sides so you won't drop it.
The otterbox also has great protection but is bigger and kinda of slick compared to their precious models. Like I said it still is a great case and it has gotten tons of great reviews. The case mate case just was released and also has great reviews.