For years, I’ve carried various iterations of the iPhone equipped with an Otterbox Defender case. I loved the Defender. It provided a solid level of protection, not too much bulk, and a belt clip. For my life, it was perfect.
As my phones have grown and my life has evolved, the balance has changed. Last fall I “upgraded” to an iPhone 5s. While that may or may not have been the right move, I’m still hunting for the right case for it.
I ordered a Defender with the phone. It was on backorder. As no one wants to risk damaging a new phone, I bought an available Lifeproof case. Lots of my friends use and like them, and the protection against water seemed like a good idea. It bugs me. The waterproof design requires a screw-in plug for the headphone jack which is easily lost, and a special adapter to use the headphones. As I use the headphones daily, this was a non-starter. My early version of the case also didn’t allow use of the fingerprint sensor, although I understand that has now been fixed.
The Defender duly arrived. It’s not bad, but on the larger 5s it just seems big and clunky. The fingerprint sensor is served by a hole in the screen protector, which also allows dirt under the skin. I’ve gotten used to not using the belt clip, so I don’t use the case much either.
I bought a cheap plastic eBay case from Taiwan with a Leica on it. It looks neat, but provides little or no real protection. I still find myself using it a lot as it is small and sleek.
I recently found a good deal for an Otterbox Armor case on Woot.com. This seemed like a good idea. It provides the water resistance of the Lifeproof case, the damage protection of the Defender, and doesn’t use the stupid plug. Now I know why they were on clearance, though. In use It muffles my voice so as to make the phone virtually useless. The plugs on the case body work fine with my headphones but won’t accept any charging cables other than the original Apple one. As I have extra Monoprice cables in my cars and my work bag, this is a problem.
I tried a Mophy Juicpack on my old iPhone 4. It was a great idea which broke the first time it was knocked off a table. I had a Duracell Powermat for my old Galaxy which I loved, but I plan to get rid of this phone just as soon as I can. There’s no sense spending a lot of money on yet another fancy case.
As I type this the phone sits naked on the table next to me. I’ve just seen a Lifehacker tutorial on how to Plasti-Dip your Android phone. (I have a can of Plasti-Dip downstairs.) It looks like I could do something similar with a bit of masking. Hmm. . .