Once you ve invested in an iPhone, practically the very next thought upon unboxing the device is  How am I going to protect it?  Introducing the OtterBox Defender Series for the iPhone 3G.

3-Layer Protection

The OtterBox iPhone 3G case provides three distinct layers of shielding. The first is a clear protective film that covers the touchscreen to prevent scratches. The second piece is a high-impact resistant polycarb shell that encloses the phone and protects it against scratches and drops. The final layer is a tough silicone skin that wraps around the shell and provides cushioning against bumps and shocks. The back of the case features a cutout over the Apple logo enabling you to proudly display the authenticity of your phone. There s also a cutout positioned perfectly over the camera lens so as not to interfere with any photo-ops. Both areas are protected with a clear plastic film. The ear bud jack, charging port and the ringer switch are accessible through cutouts and are covered with customized silicone flaps. The flaps fit snuggly in the openings and seal out dust and moisture. The earphone, speakers and mic are also protected with mesh fabric that doesn t impede sound quality. The remaining buttons are covered with the silicone skin so not a single millimeter of your iPhone is uncovered or unprotected. All this defensive goodness is available in four different color combinations: black on black, black on yellow, white on white and pink on pink.

Accessorized

The OtterBox Defender case comes with a handy holster that has a ratcheting belt clip to attach it to a waistband or backpack strap. The ratchet feature allows you to rotate the holster to a position you prefer. Another neat element we discovered as we used the case was that by rotating the clip 180 degrees and then opening the clip until it snaps into place it allows you to prop the phone up for convenient hands-free use. Turn the case to the side and view the touchscreen in landscape mode making it easy to watch movies and music videos without holding the phone.

Downsides

Due to the shell s protective ridge around the display, access to the corners of the touchscreen is very difficult even if you ve got small hands. It got to be a ridiculous gyration trying to tap the back button in the email program or the smaller information buttons in several apps because they were so close to the edge of the shell.

The touchscreen was somewhat less sensitive but that was easily adjusted to after using the case for a day or two.

Last, but not least, can you say  bulky?" The case s main (and most important) function is to protect the iPhone which it does extremely well but at the expense of the sleek design. Clipping the phone to a waistband felt like you had a hefty planner book hooked to your hip. If you inserted the phone into the holster with the screen facing out, you run the real risk of the phone falling out during the most simple of actions like bending over to pick up something. If you put the phone in the holster with the screen facing inward it takes an act of congress to remove it.

Summary

Overall the OtterBox Defender Series iPhone 3G case is well-designed and accomplishes its purpose of protecting your valuable iPhone in practically all types of environments. It s probably too bulky for a day-to-day case but when you plan to be involved in more intense activities, it s the perfect protective solution. It s important to note that this case is designed specifically for the 8 and 16 GB iPhone 3G only. It will not work with the first generation iPhone nor will it protect the iPod touch. It s also not waterproof so be cautious around any body of water (from toilet to ocean).

To learn more about the iPhone 3G itself, check out our smartphone reviews.

 

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