Robust and ready for some beating, the Otterbox Armor Series for the iPhone 5 is one the first few cases that Otterbox launched after they acquired Lifeproof. As the case company claimed, Armor Series is water, dust, drop and crush proof. We took it out for a spin, beat our phone to death…. not actually (with the case on) and looked at how reliable the case is in this review.
Big and Uncomfortably Heavy
The case is made up of 2 parts – silicon bed and front case with built in screen protector.
The case is dang heavy! Hell, it’s like you’re carrying 2 iPhones with this case on. It is unapologetically big too! But you’ve got to understand that this case is meant to be used if you’re off to outdoor-filled activities or if you’ve got little kids who keep on frolicking your phone. You’ll look like a dork if you put this case on your iPhone 5, and bring it to a business or formal occasion.
While the iPhone 5s can perfectly fit in this case, it will practically render the TouchID useless because its home button is tightly sealed. The screen is protected too, but expect a drastic decrease of its screen’s responsiveness. It’s a reasonable trade off as Otterbox wanted this case to be both drop proof and water proof. There’s no other way but to cover its screen with another material.
Case + “Bisagra” = Toughest Case Ever Built
This case literally has a ‘bisagra’, or ‘hinge’ in spanish. This is responsible for latching the 2 parts of the uncomfortably heavy case. It’s a solid proof that the case was seriously made to keep the iPhone intact and rested inside the case when you drop it up to 10 ft or drop something weighing 2 tons on the phone.
Here’s a slo-mo drop of the case…. with my iPhone in it.
[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDVdRKYd5XM[/youtube]
It works as advertised as the toughest case that Otterbox had ever made. But there is something significantly disappointing with the case I got – it is not water proof. The case is supposed to withstand being submerged on 6.6ft water and keep the iPhone dry inside for 30 minutes. This is technically impressive, but the one I received and tested failed to attest this pertinent feature.
As seen on the photo below, a significant amount of water got inside the case and soaked the tissue paper I placed. Thankfully, I didn’t test its waterproof feature with my phone inside the case.
My tip if you’re getting this case: try to replicate what I did before deliberately throwing your phone to the pool or dropping it to your bowl. Be sure that you’ve got everything sealed and covered. If it fails on your first or second attempt, bring your proof of purchase and return the case to the Otterbox-authorize reseller store. I am sure that they will be happy to accommodate you and replace your case with a new one.
The Armor Series for iPhone 5 would have been an excellent outdoor case for the iPhone 5 or 5s. Its advertised features are impressive but are marred by its uber-hefty build and non-guaranteed waterproof feature. The case is meant to give extra security or insurance to your expensive device, not the other way around. Constantly worrying about possible water leaks defeats the case’s purpose of pampering other people’s carefree and active lifestyle. Such non-guarantees, and not to mention its expensive price tag (PhP4,900) almost made me decide to give it a failing grade. The case is imperfect but it still proved to be useful in most aspects – drop and crush proof guarantee, and noteworthy customer service. In the end, in my opinion, the case – although imperfect – is acceptable and a worthy option.
Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of gadgetpilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.