This case will stand up to it’s name, “Defender”. There is no part of the iPhone exposed with this case, even the screen is protected. Although not submersible like it’s counterpart, the Armor Series, this case is water resistant. I would feel comfortable using it during rain & snow conditions. The hard plastic case protects the iPhone from bumps & drops while the silicone case helps retain a safe grip. The silicone is also very strong. At first I was afraid I may tear it when taking it on and off, but after working with it, I realized it was much stronger. The plastic membrane protecting the screen is not hard plastic like other cases I’ve seen, so the glass of the iPhone is still vulnerable in my opinion. If dropped on it’s face against something protruding (although highly unlikely) or something dropped on it, the membrane would do no good. It is, however, very strong and well secured to the plastic of the case. This same membrane material is used on the back for the camera and Apple logo.
Audio through the speaker was noticeably quieter due to the Donaldson® acoustic vents, but only by about 10-15% in my opinion and through the earpiece I noticed no difference. I had no complaints from callers on microphone volume. All buttons worked great but I do use the silence switch and unfortunately it’s not accessible with this case. The flaps protecting the headphone jack and the dock stay put during normal use and aren’t annoying when something is plugged in.
The defender series also comes with a belt clip/holster. It looks great and adds even more protection. The iPhone faces towards you when in the holster and the kewl see through back displays the Apple logo.
Now for my only issue with this case… when we first received this case I tried it out right away and noticed the membrane was sticking to the glass front of the iPhone. I thought that cleaning both the membrane & glass would help so I cleaned them both thinking I would start off with spotless equipment. I eventually read some info on their website and found that natural oil from your skin helps to keep the screen from sticking to the glass. After touching the glass to my face and swiping it with my hand I almost had it, but try after try it was still sticking.
I eventually gave up after 3 different sessions of taking the case apart and putting it back together after trying the get the perfect balance of oil on the glass. I was really bummed because a friend of mine has this case for his Blackberry and loves it. I talked with him and he said his directions told him to wipe his screen with soap water and let it dry overnight and that would keep it from sticking. I figured I’d eventually try that but when taking photography of the case a few days later I noticed it wasn’t sticking anymore, not at all. I think I may have overdone the skin oil in the beginning.
Now that I have resolved the screen sticking the only problem I will have is the lack of access to the silence switch. I would guess most work environments that need a case like this don’t need to silence their phones. You can always turn the ringer down with the volume buttons.
Overall this is one of the best cases out there. This case comes in all Black or Black/Yellow and retails for $49.99 but can be found for less if you shop around.