One of the most appealing aspects of the iPhone, along with its range of features and iTunes compatibility, is its attractive form and ‘trend setting’ design (inspiring a range of inferior clones after launch). The downside of this is that you’ll want to keep the device looking as it did when you bought it, and the more shiny and attractive the product, the more easily damaged it can get. Therefore, a whole range of iPhone covers have come onto the market – some as attractive as the phone itself, some not – and these come in a range of forms, from simple slip covers (meaning you have to take the phone out for each use), to those with a keyring or chain to attach to your clothes.
The Otter Box falls somewhere between these types, and has clearly been designed to offer a safe, durable cover for the iPhone, whilst having form in mind. The ‘Otter Box’ name comes from the texture of the case, which is a rubbery, high grip type surface, that gives the unit a sleek appearance, whilst offering maximum protection. The design of the item is in separate parts.
There is a front solid plastic piece, which protects the sides of the unit, and has a plastic cover for the touch screen, and also a back piece which clips onto this, protecting the rear of the iPhone. On top of this, the rubberised cover slips over, unifying the case. Some other covers have a smooth or polished surface, similar to the iPhone itself, which somewhat diminishes the point of having a cover, as these can quickly become worn and scruffy looking. Although the Otter Box is not designed to be waterproof, its wrap around design will certainly make an iPhone less vulnerable to damage from a few splashes of water than the bare phone would be, and also prevents dust intrusion – especially at the socket points, which can all be covered up individually. One of the benefits of the Otter Box over other designs is the fact that it includes a cover for the screen, meaning the main face of your iPhone isn’t exposed either. The plastic cover does make the touch screen slightly less responsive initially, but is by no means restrictive. Pressing the physical buttons, such as the home button and volume buttons, through the case is likewise not a problem.
Additionally, many other iPhone covers are designed quite poorly for the device they’re supposed to be specialised to, but the Otter Box doesn’t suffer this problem, partly due to the mix of the hard inner case and the soft outer layer. The earpiece is lined up perfectly with a gap in the casing, so calls sound the same as on the ‘bare’ phone. Likewise, the camera lens has a gap in just the right place, causing no ‘smudging’ of shots, as with some other designs. As well as this, the headphone connector on the top and the charger socket on the bottom of the phone are accessible without removing the cover, but are still protected by a rubberised ‘flap’ that tucks securely into place when you don’t need access. One of the nicest touches on the design of the Otter Box is the fact that there is a gap allowed in the rear of the unit where the ‘Apple’ logo is. Third party manufacturers are normally prohibited from displaying the Apple logo on their products, and most covers will hide the Apple logo, often having their own prominently shown instead, meaning it could really be any similar phone under the cover. With the Otter Box, it’s easy to tell that the phone under there is the best smart phone on the market, and it even makes the logo more prominent than when the phone is bare.
The other part of the Otter Box is a final outer layer which can be used when carrying your iPhone around. The phone, bound up in the hard plastic parts and rubberised ‘skin’ slides neatly into this. Putting the phone inside this provides an extra degree of protection, yet still is accessible for the headphone connector on top, and it clicks easily and securely into place. Added to that, there is a sturdy spring clip on the back of the case, making it an easy way of connecting to clothes when outside, and allowing you to make full and easy use of hands free calling, and of course the phone’s music player – which is probably one of the main reasons you chose an iPhone. Overall, the Otter Box is a very high quality solution to a very real problem for iPhone owners, and is one of the most ergonomically sound designs on the market.