New iPhone. Cover, skin, or case?

Hardware and Accessories
I have been using an Otter Box, one of the Defender series I think, at any rate, one that covers the entire phone including hard plastic screen protector built in and a latex or whatever soft surround that protects the top, bottom and sides of the case, for quite some time. The only thing I haven't liked is the bulk of the thing. So, I am looking for advice on which of a couple of paths I should take. First, I could go with the current equivalent of my current case. It is strong protection, but as I said, it makes the phone a bit unweildy. I like Otter Box and had planned on staying with them, but I would happily take suggestions of other similar cases that might protect as well or better, as long as they are not even bulkier than the current case on my iPhone 4. The 5s is smaller, so I am hoping there might be some models that keep the bulk and extra weight down. Second, I could go with something more like the Otter Box Commuter or an equivalent if anybody can suggest such. These seem to protect the phone along the rim, but have enough of a lip along the edges on the front and back to keep the screen and the camera lens in the back recessed. It also allows for an adhesive screen protector to be used. Third, I could just go with a decent latex, or whatever material they use, skin. Something that can also be used with an adhesive screen protector. I know each has their advantages and drawbacks, what I would like to hear about is some real user experiences and some input others might have on how durable the 5s really is sans extra protection. I don't want to set myself up for a broken phone the first time the phone falls more than two or three feet, but I also would like to stop feeling like I am carrying a plastic brick around unless it really is important to have that much protection. Thanks, Chris



Submitted by Michael Hansen on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team
Hi Blindcat, It really comes down to what your personal preference is. I have had iPhones for going on four years, and I have used Otter Box Defender cases for almost three years. I really love the security that the Defender Series offers, and the iPhone 5S case is really a sturdy product with none of the flaws that plagued the silicon outer skin on the iPhone 4/4S defenders. Yes, the OtterBox Defender Series is a bulky case. As the iPhone 5S is a little thinner than the iPhone 4, the thickness of the OtterBox Defender case is also less. However, for me at least, the protection it provides is worth the extra bulk. If I drop my iPhone, there's no need to worry about it getting scratched or anything like that.

Submitted by Seanoevil on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hi, For the past 15months I have had an Ottar Box Defender on my iPhone 5. I have really enjoyed the excellent protection, but am not keen on the extra bulk or the styling. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how You look at it, it's starting to fall apart and I am in need of a replacement. I am currently considering the Elements Rogue. Blak Ops iPhone Case Pro's: Excellent Styling. Carbon Fibre and Metal Construction and generous protection. Cons: Inferior protection to the Ottar Box and expensive. Not wishing to hijack this thread, I would also appreciate hearing AppleVisiers recommendations for iPhone cases specifically if any of You have tried the Elements series. Cheers, Sea No Evil.

Submitted by Serena on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

hi. I've had a few iPhone's now, for a about 4 years. and do you know what? all your time spent on protecting them with hugely thick, bulky, and ugly designed ottar box or similar cases, is a waist. not being funny, but unless you have a defective unit, you could probably drop the bare iPhone, and not find any scratching. they are tough little things. I do have mine in a case, it's a simple and cheap PC rubber case, that fits around the hole phone, excepting the front, where I have a screen protector. the protector I use, is a matt finish, due to my not liking glossy protectors and how they feel under my hands. I have dropped my iPhone plenty of times, even spilled a little beer on it once, and so far, not one scratch, dent, ding, or mark. still works just fine. so don't go wasting your time trying to super protect the thing. they look cool as they are. coat it in an ottar box, and you might as well have a portable battery powered radio in your pocket. lol. I have looked at the ottar box, and to me, they are hugely over priced, not as functional as I see a lot of people on here claim them to be, and as previously said in this post, bulky, and so on. if you want dust / water / shock resistance / proofing, there are many types of cases you can go with, many of which are cheaper or similar price points to ottar box, and do a hell of a lot better job. but unless you are working in a construction sight, or are working on a boat at sea or something, I don't really think you will need it. oh, and as an interesting side note, on dropping your phones and wanting protection for doing so. us blind people tend to drop our phones a hell of a lot less then most sighted people. they are for ever dropping theirs! and yet they don't tend to have much problems. hell, I know of several people who never have any case at all on their phones, have dropped them, and they are just fine. if dropped from high enough, or on to the right kind of surface, sure, it might mark it up a bit. but that's if it's bare. if you have a simple case, but effective one, that will be protective enough to stop scratching. as a guide to picking a good case, look for the type that snap around the phone, with full sides, corners, and also, top and bottom covers. a lot of cases for the iPhone now days have the back and sides covered, but the top and bottom are left open for ease of use with docking ports and such things. if you do not use such accessories, get a case with top and bottom covers. if you do, then get one that leaves these open, so that you can more easily dock your device. cases with the top and bottom covers, will have cut outs on the bottom / top for the ports and speakers, and buttons, and an opening, on the side, for your volume controls and mute switch. if you touch your phone in a case with a full top and bottom cover, it will basically look like there is a border all around your phone. where as if it's one of the other types, with no top or bottom, it will have borders on the sides, but not on the top or bottom. hope this helps some, to advise you as to what to shop around for. it is, of course, entirely up to you what kind of case you go for. but it seems a bit silly, to have a super thin, fantastic looking, and light device, turned in to a heavy, bulky, cumbersome battery powered brick. and speaking of battery powered bricks, if you don't mind a bit of extra bulk to your phone, why not simply buy one of those battery cases for your iPhone? they can, depending on price and design, extend your iPhone's battery more then tripple fold! now doesn't that seem like a better use of that bulk, rather then a box that doesn't do much?

Submitted by Justin on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hi Dallas and others, I agree completely with your battery cases point. I have been using the mophie JuicePack plus and air on my iPhones and they work great for my needs. Recently, about half a year or so when I upgraded to the 5S, I got a JuicePack plus for that phone also. The only drawback to these cases? I wish there was more juice in it! Anyway, they do the job, and if you are willing to have a bit of extra bulkiness and length to your phone, then this is an excellent idea for you.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

First of all, I do agree with all the other reviewers that your choice of case is highly personal as you are the one handling it. For me, I do not like a lot of cases because they are too bulky, they feel cheap, the plastic of some cases sort of squeaks if squeezed in the hand, or the built-in volume and other buttons seem to slip around when on the iPhone. I have gone through three different cases now, with my current one being my absolute favorite. I use the Impact Gel iPhone Case from the company with the same name of "Impact Gel", for my iPhone 5. This case is very slim. It slips in a pocket easily without sticking anywhere as those with rubber on the outside do. It has a nice lip, made out of some sort of flexible material which tightly fits the phone, and goes around the front edge of the phone, rather like a picture frame does. It feels like it's a part of the phone and not just an added on case. The gel feature of this phone is really nice for protection, too. It is 2 mm thick. There is a YouTube demo of this case. Look for the title, Impact Gel Phone Drop Test from 7 stories up, to view the demo. If I remember correctly, they drop the phone from seven stories up and nothing happened to the guy's personal phone. Not sure if the 5S version has been released but it probably has by now. I actually found my case in WalMart of all places. I am very satisfied with this case. There is nothing better than hands-on for choosing something like this. While in WalMart, I did, um, sort of open the box and totally examine the thing before throwing down cold, hard cash. Best investment I've made so far, outside of my treasured iPhone, of course. With regard to a screen protector... I personally use the Zag brand. It is slated to be used by military personnel due to it's durability. I was told that, on the box, they show someone trying to press a nail through the protector. I figured that was enough for me. This is the only brand I have chosen three times now. Happy hunting for just that perfect combination.

Submitted by Siobhan on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hi Chris. I used a rubber case, and a screen protector for my 4. I got somethin wedged between the power button and the outside of the case, so it was impossible to lock the screen and do the necessary things. When I upgraded last year to the five, I didn't want to always be able to stick the phone in my pocket. Let's be honest, women's jeans designers don't let us have front pockets anymore. :) So I bought a case with a belt clip. It slides in with the screen facing the fake velvet like material.It's tough to pull out at first, now thouh I'm a good draw. It also has a kick stand of sorts, that you can put the phone on if you don't want to lie it flat. The power, volume, and other ports aren't covered for for me that's fine. I saw a friend's otter box case and the rubber was not a big selling point. It all comes downto what you want, so if you want to wear the phone on our belt, but then wear a suit and slide it into your pocket or purse, depending on what you do this works fine for me. My only small drawback, because I knock into things with the case on my hip, I've now broken the bottom corners of the case, the phone is fine. Also the vibrations transmitted from a text, email, etc are transmitted throughthe plastic so the first time it goes off, be warned. :)

Submitted by Lisa on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hello all, Of course I know what a case is. Could someone please tell me what the difference is between a skin or cover? Thank you.

Submitted by Tree on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I agree with Dallas O'Brien. The first few iOS devices I had were doomed to be entombed in thick military grade protection that they never needed. Thats why when I got my iPhone 5 I did a lot of research and discovered tech21 cases. The cases this compony makes are great because they are very think and sleek but are also pretty protective. I have been rocking mine for a year and a half now and despite my best efforts my phone is still in perfect shape. It is made out of this really cool patented material that is like space age and allows the phone to not look like a tank. The car I have I believe is called the impact frame, its a bumper style case which is what I prefer. I am not sure if they made this model for the iPhone five s but hears a link to the sight. by the way I might be wrong but I believe the case that Roxann Pollard is taking about is a tech21 case.

Submitted by Jakob Rosin on Thursday, April 17, 2014

In reply to by Tree

My personal favorite was the apple bumper case for the 5. What it is, is a strip around the edges of the phone, but they are high enough to not allow the screen or back panel to touch any surfaces. It doesn't give extreme protection, but I haven't dropped my phone at all, so I am not that worried about making it a tank. Sadly I think apple stopped manufacturing these type of cases.

Submitted by Usman on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I recommend the Apple leather case. though it is a little more expensive than most, I like the stylish exterior and it seems to also be very protective. I have a screen protecter on as well and all in all it is a pretty good set up.