The silicon plugs work really well on this case, keeping out any debris from both the sync/charging port as well as the headphone jack. Here we see the sync/charging port closed as well as open and in use. Like most other iPhone cases, the added footprint from the case prevents you from using the iPhone dock, but you can still use the sync/charging cable just fine. This is not really an issue for me, as I don't use the dock anyway.
The headphone silicon plug worked equally as well, keeping out dirt and debris but easily accessible when I wanted to use the jack.
The Apple logo looks great through the rear of the case and the camera is still 100% functional. To give you an idea of the added footprint this case gives, I snapped a picture of the iPhone beside the case. As you can see, the OtterBox will just about double the thickness of your iPhone.
At the end of the day, I found that I really liked the OtterBox for iPhone Defender Series Case. The case is extremely well made and it is clear that a lot of time and consideration was put into its design.
All of the external buttons (volume control, home, sleep/wake) on the case worked perfectly. The silicon plugs for the headphone and sync/charging port are a great idea, helping to keep dirt and debris out of those ports. Just a few days ago I saw rubber plugs for the sync/charging port for sale at an iPhone accessories website and thought it was a great idea - clearly the folks at OtterBox agree.
The thin membrane that covers the screen performed flawlessly. The only way you can tell it is there is if you look at the phone from an angle. This membrane fully protects the glass surface of the iPhone and didn't hinder interaction with the phone one bit.
The holster with belt clip does its job, holding the iPhone tightly... perhaps too tightly. I found it somewhat difficult to remove the phone from the holster, although I am sure some people will appreciate the added sense of security this gives. The ability to adjust the belt clip to any angle is a nice plus.
During phone conversation, the person on the other end of the phone reported me being "slightly muffled" but nothing too bad. I was still able to hear the other person very clearly. The iPhone's external speaker was also slightly muffled, but honestly, who cares? The external speaker of the iPhone is so terrible that I can't imagine why anyone would want to listen to their music / movies without headphones or some other external speakers.
The one obvious negative of this case is not having access to the Silent switch. As mentioned earlier, as a semi-workaround, you can simply turn your ringer volume down using the volume controls... but this only works for calls. Text messages and other alerts will still sound, unless you specify otherwise in the options.
Expect the case to nearly double the thickness of your iPhone and add a little more weight to it - 1.9 ounces to be exact, and in turn, you won't be able to use the iPhone dock (typical of most iPhone cases). This is a small trade off considering how much protection the case offers.
I tend to take extra precautions with my iPhone, and even so, I already have a pair of tiny scratches on the screen's surface. If I had this case when I first purchased my iPhone, I am sure it would still be in pristine condition.
As of writing, the OtterBox for iPhone Defender Series retails for $49.95 and is available in black and black/yellow color schemes.
OCIA.net has awarded the OtterBox for iPhone Defender Series our Seal of Approval.