Reviewing the Otterbox Defender for iPhone 6s Plus

I recently purchased a new iPhone 6s Plus ( along with a case to protect my investment. See I use things hard and typically go with a waterproof case.

See my review of the Otterbox Preserver for my old 5s

Unfortunately at the time of purchase my preferred waterproof case (the LifeProof Fre) was not available it simply had a notice that it’s coming soonish. Unfortunately my 5s was shutting off randomly and the battery would just die in an hour sometimes so I was in the market for a new phone faster than LifeProof was going to come out with a case.

To protect my 6s Plus I ended up going with an Otterbox Defender ( as the current ‘next best’ option. This is not a waterproof case. It’s not even really splash resistant in the IPX rating sense since parts of the phone are fully exposed through the case.

It does provide some protection against water on the screen or most of the back or much of the sides. Pulling the phone out in light or even heavy rain shouldn’t bother you just don’t leave it out for to long or water intrusion will happen.

The Otterbox Defender does also provide stellar drop protection due to it’s rubber casing surrounding a hard plastic shell. No I didn’t actually test dropping to breakage, but I’ve got a toddler and she’s had no issues with pulling it off the counter and tossing it like a toy. I’m happy to say she’s still alive as is my phone.

Issues with the Otterbox Defender

The biggest issue is that you can’t access the mute switch without peeling back the rubber casing. On a LifeProof Fre you typically can access this switch without peeling the case back. I say typically because I haven’t seen the Fre for the iPhone 6s Plus so this feature may not carry through.

My second complaint is really more user error than an actual issue with the case. See the power port has to be peeled open to charge the phone which of course is expected to protect it. Unfortunately more than once I’ve gone to bed thinking it’s charging only to find that I did not have the cable fully inserted in the phone and thus there was no charging happening.

I must thank the stellar battery life of the 6s Plus here as even a 20% charge easily gets me through my morning till I’m at my desk and can plug the phone in to charge again.

Years ago I had a Defender for my iPhone 4 and I was not happy with it at all. The rubber was very soft which meant that it kept stretching and would tear or simply be to large for the case it was supposed to surround.

This current edition of the case does not seem to suffer from the same soft rubber issue. The rubber casing is much firmer and has good grip. I’m not worried in any way about a few months from now needing to get a new one due to a floppy rubber case making the phone frustrating to use.

In fact it was so bad that I had 2 friends lined up to take my old Defender when I upgraded to a LifeProof case. They both wanted replacement rubber to extend the life of the case for more than 6 months.


The Defender also comes with a belt holster which is good since the 6s Plus is a big phone and sticks out of my pants pocket or jabs me when I bend down. The belt holster is easy to operate even while cycling clipped to a bag with gloves on and holds the phone firmly without making it to hard to remove when you want to use the phone.

Finally let’s talk about screen feel. The iPhone screen is pretty great and I’ve always been a bit hesitant about putting anything between my fingers and it. With the Otterbox Defender I do notice that I need to apply just a bit of pressure to the screen to reliably get response. The screen protector is just barely raised so the pressure really just lets the protector contact the actual phone screen.

With force touch on the 6s Plus I did find that at first I’d trigger the ‘peak’ and ‘pop’ features of apps as I got used to the case. After a week or so this became a non-issue and I was able to operate the phone reliably without putting to much pressure and triggering force touch.


Overall the Otterbox Defender is a decent case. It’s not as protective as I expect the offerings from LifeProof to be, but it’s still quite good at keeping my phone safe.

If you don’t need fully waterproof protection then this is a case worthy of your consideration.