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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tough on your phone? Put an Armor on it



Otterbox phone cases have been known for its toughness. Many users swear by the brand for protecting their smartphones from, well, life.

But if you're truly rough on your phone, Otterbox came out with a new line called Armor, which the manufacturer calls "the toughest case ever built."

As the name suggests, these cases can stand a lot of abuse. It can protect the phone from a drop of 10 feet onto concrete or 2 tons of crushing force. The case is sealed tight so no dirt or dust gets into the case (assuming you clean the phone really well before encasing it). You can also submerge it up to 6.6 feet for 30 minutes without damaging the phone. Sounds like a perfect case when you take your phone to the beach.

The exterior of the case is made of high strength-reinforced plastic with plastic pieces with rubber seals to protect plug-in areas.The interior has soft silicone lining to cushion the phone. Two zinc alloy clasps clamp the case firmly closed. These buckles, which won't rust or corrode, were a bit difficult to open. I had to dig in my nail to release the contraption. If you want to save your nails, you might need a small screwdriver to pop them loose, as they're pretty firm. The plastic screen protection is attached to the case so openings for the earpiece and cameras are enclosed. The speaker areas are covered with impermeable mesh that lets through sound, but nothing else.

The home button, volume, ringer on/off toggle and power buttons are all molded into the case. As expected, all of the buttons require a harder press to translate to the phone. But overall, that was not an inconvenience. The ringer on/off toggle switch, however, required a lot of "encouragement" to get it to respond. The screen protector didn't affect the phone's responses to touch: smooth and flawless.

All these features sound great, but they come with a price. To keep the sleek, well-designed iPhone in pristine condition, you'll have to add bulk. Lots of it. The case weighs 4.23 ounces, and is 5.14 inches in height by 2.94 inches in width and 0.82 inches in depth. That's a lot of case. It's more than two times thicker than an iPhone, which is .37 inches deep. The also aren't any choices of colors either: Dark gray with lime green interior and exterior pieces.

Otterbox Armor Series, $99.95, for iPhone 4/4S, 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3


[Last modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 10:22am]


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