OtterBox for iPhone 7 plus review: Still the go to for extreme protection

Hardware Reviews / iOS / Mobile / Reviews / Tech
Otterbox

OtterBox cases have earned international recognition for their cases for good reason.

OtterBox has been making cases for the iPhone and iPad since at least the iPhone 3G, and they’ve been a staple for those requiring heavy-duty protection. The company has defined a category in the space it occupies. When someone sees a bulky and protective case the first thing they ask is, “is that an OtterBox?” OtterBox sent us 5 of their latest cases for the iPhone 7 Plus, but they do make them for other models as well. Come along with us as we take a look at the OtterBox Symmetry, OtterBox Statement, OtterBox Strada Folio, OtterBox Commuter and OtterBox Defender series, and find out why OtterBox is a Techaeris Top Pick for 2016.

OtterBox Symmetry

Otterbox

Design

The Symmetry is probably one of the slimmest cases from OtterBox, yet it offers much more protection than a simple TPU slim case. The hard back shell is combined with a nice soft TPU inner shell which has an impact pattern on the inside. The ridges cut into the inside back will help dissipate shock away from the phone when dropped. The buttons are nice and tactile and provide decent feedback while the cutouts are ample enough for third party accessories. Overall a nice simple design that’s also fairly slim for OtterBox.

Installation

Easily slip the phone in with the volume rocker side first and snap into place. There’s really nothing to installation.

Protection

While this is a slim case, I’d say it offers up much more protection than other slim cases. The lip on the front is exaggerated and provides great front glass protection when laid flat. The inner TPU has great shock protection, and the entire case is just solid. This is a great day-to-day case for people who aren’t moving around very much on public transportation and tend not to be fumbling with their device too much.

Price/Value

Not your typical slim case, this offers much more protection and is priced at $49.95USD. You will have to decide if it’s worth the price tag for you.

OtterBox Statement

Otterbox Statement

Design

The company took a very different direction in design with the Statement. The back is 3/4 clear with the bottom 1/4 being made of leather. It’s a unique look for certain and probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The clear portion of the case tends to throw off a rainbow effect in light making it hard to see the design of the iPhone underneath. That’s a very normal thing, most all clear cases do this, it’s just the effect of the light refracting off the clear plastic.

The plastic does scuff and scratch, so over time it will start to look worn. Better the case than your iPhone, though. Fingerprints are also easily picked up and much more noticeable on this material. The leather portion feels nice to the touch and all the materials are high-quality. The buttons also have great tactile feedback, even more so than the Symmetry. The front of the case is also raised, offering great front panel protection. The Statement is also slim and just about the same size as the Symmetry. Overall, this is a different look and it may or may not suit you.

Installation

Pretty much the same as the Symmetry, slip in the volume rocker side first and then snap in the rest of the phone. This one is a bit stiffer than the Symmetry as the back plastic is much more rigid. Installing it isn’t hard, but you should take care, removing it also takes some care and time.

Protection

Slim like the Symmetry and just as protective. This one does not have the shock absorbing pattern inside but offers up great day-to-day protection for those who aren’t traveling around very much. The front lip on this is great as well. I really love the front panel protection being offered here.

Price/Value

Once again, not exactly cheap at $49.95USD, but it is a nicely designed case with great protection.

OtterBox Strada Folio

Otterbox

Design

Folio cases have never been my thing. I really like having access to my screen without having to flip a cover. That being said, the Strada Folio is one of the few folio cases that I actually like a lot. Made from the same solid plastic and TPU as the Symmetry with added leather front and back, it’s a classy case indeed. Yes, this is real leather, just like the Statement. The front cover secures down with a magnet which keeps it from flopping around.

The inside of the case is also lined with leather which is nice to have resting against the back of the iPhone. The inside of the front cover has a slot that can house 2-3 cards or cash which is what makes folio style cases nice. The great thing here is, the raised lip on the front of the case also protects the screen from your cards and cash. Many folio cases leave the cards and cash resting on your iPhone screen, this does not. The buttons are also very tactile just like the other cases and the cutouts are great. Overall, it’s a classy design, and, if you like folios, this is a top pick.

Installation

Slide in volume rocker side first and snap into place. No worries here,  it’s just as easy as the Symmetry.

Protection

The Strada Folio offers up great protection like the Symmetry but goes a bit further due to the front cover. This is basically all-around protection and I am most certain this can take a good spill and protect your phone really well.

Price/Value

All of this will come at a price, $59.95USD, which includes real leather and phenomenal protection.

OtterBox Commuter

Otterbox

Design

The Commuter is the more traditional OtterBox design which is made up of two separate pieces. The inner TPU rubber and the outer hard shell. Both materials feel familiar if you’ve used these cases before. Nothing has really changed about the design and you can mix and match colors to make your own style case. The TPU here is much more tactile than the other cases we reviewed above. Overall this is traditional OtterBox design but still very appealing.

Installation

This one can get tricky, and you should take care when installing your phone. The inner TPU is very supple and the cutout around the camera module is thin and easily gets caught up and twisted. First, you need to remove the inner TPU and install the iPhone into it first. Next, you should slide the top portion of the phone into the hard shell, making sure that really thin part is set in place. Then, pull the dust cover, which covers the Lightning port, very carefully through the bottom hole of the hard shell (be careful). Then carefully snap the phone into the hard shell from top to bottom, taking care that the TPU wraps into the grooves of the hard shell. This isn’t a simple installation, and you should take a bit of care with it and not get frustrated.

The instructions included give you a different method, but I found the TPU would get twisted at the top using that method, you can certainly try both my method and theirs.

Protection

Great protection for those who are on the move all day during work hours, probably why they call it the Commuter.

Price/Value

Another $49.95USD price point, but this one does offer up a bit more protection and dust cover for the Lightning port.

OtterBox Defender

Otterbox

Design

Here comes the big boy, the Defender. This guy is the rugged go-to if you’re looking for max protection. It’s also bulky and when you add the included holster you’re talking really bulky. The whole thing is made from high-quality materials and the buttons are very tactile despite how much coverage this thing gets. This is classic OtterBox design and the most rugged protection you can get.

Installation

Surprisingly the Defender is simple to install. Just take the outer TPU off then separate the inner hard shell. Lay your iPhone inside the inner shell and snap the two pieces over it. Then wrap the outer TPU back around the hard shell making sure you get the gaskets into the grooves. Real easy.

Protection

This is the big guy. This is going to not only offer that front lip protection but also screen protection for the front. The home button even gets protection. All of this is designed to keep mud, dirt and other debris away from your phone. There is also an inner liner on the back of the hard shell designed as shock absorption. This is rugged protection and is the case often used by firefighters, construction workers, police officers and military.

Price/Value

At nearly $70USD, all of this protection is pricey, but there are OtterBox users who swear by the brand and this thing is certainly a beast.

Wrap Up

OtterBox has been making cases for a long time, and they’ve built a well-known brand by making great cases. These aren’t the cheapest cases on the market but they are among the world’s leading cases. While the prices are high and not for everyone, OtterBox cases earn a Top Pick 2016 because of their continued commitment and build quality.

OtterBox cases for iPhone 7 Plus
4.8 Out of 5
Nailed it
Some of the best protection you can buy, great looking designs, easy installs.
Needs Work
Pricey and some are bulky.
Bottom Line
OtterBox has long been known for their protection and the company still meets that mark of excellence.
Design4.75
Installation4.75
Protection5.00
Price/Value4.50
*We were sent samples of these OtterBox cases for the purposes of this review.
Comments
To Top