Now before you say there are lots of cases and manufacturers — and there are — Otterbox occupies a special place. It is the number one selling case in the USA, and it claims to be the global leader in mobile device protection. It does not claim to have the sexiest, or most colourful, or hippest cases – protection equates to design first and good looks are second. Yet it, and its indestructible “Waterproof | Dirtproof | Snowproof | Dropproof” sibling LifeProof have more innovation and design awards than any other case maker.
Otterbox also caters to Apple, Google, Motorola, HTC, OnePlus and more – and its Defender, Commuter, Symmetry, Strada, and Alpha Glass protectors are available across these makes.
Otterbox also made it clear that its cases come with OtterBox Certified Drop+ Protection. To earn this certification, each design goes through a minimum of 238 hours of testing across at least 24 different tests, including camera, insertion removal and drop tests. You can find more information on the various tests here.
The 8 denotes it is suitable for continuous water immersion up to 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes.
It also has Gorilla Glass 5 that means surviving a 1.6-metre, shoulder-height drop onto hard, rough surfaces up to 80% of the time – that 80% means on average eight out of 10 drops were OK. That does not mean any scratches – just not broken.
Does a Samsung S8 need protection? For the most part, I would simply recommend a glass protector (a new glass costs well over $300 and there is a good chance the OLED screen may be damaged doubling the cost) and a bumper case like the Commuter.
OtterBox’s ultra-thin combination tempered glass and polyester backing screen protector fits with all of OtterBox’s cases, including the Defender Series. It has fortified, anti-shatter, anti-scratch glass that blocks unwanted viewing from all four side angles and comes with an application kit. Price US$44.95 (plus flat rate US$9.99 shipping to Australia).
I particularly like this as it is totally clear – there are no black edge/top shrouds that can interfere with sensors if applied even a fraction of a millimetre off angle. And if you stuff up the application you can gently lever it off, clean the glass and do it again. It was very responsive, not reducing the Samsung touch sensitivity.
Commuter is a bumper-style case with Drop+ protection and additional flaps over the 3.5mm audio and USB-C ports. It has a two layer design – polycarbonate outer shell and synthetic rubber inside.
Symmetry is a lighter version of Commuter – a colourful single skin bumper case still with Drop Protection+. Most colours have a highlight – prickly pear is pink with green highlights/
Strada is a premium leather, handcrafted folio with a vertical slot inside the flap for business or credit cards. The folding cover securely magnetically snaps shut. The leather is bonded to a polycarbonate shell. There is probably lesser need for the Alpha Glass with this design. This is a very nice, functional case but it adds 75g and takes the svelte S8+ to 15mm thick – you need deep pockets.
Defender is where Otterbox made its name in protection. It has a three-part shell (polycarbonate shell, synthetic rubber slipcover, polycarbonate holster) and Alpha Glass is recommended. Features include a belt clip/holster, port covers on 3.5mm audio and USB-C, and a redesigned camera cut-out to allow more room for the fingerprint scanner.
Great name, great quality and live up to the promise.
All cases work with a standard Qi charger pad. Don’t forget that cases add from 30 to 100g to the phone and can take the thickness up to 15mm. For my part I don’t mind – it is a small price to pay for protection, but try the case before you buy.