Do you really need a bunker to protect your tank?
The Nokia Lumia 920 was my personal favourite smartphone of 2012, but the market share is still small for Windows Phone 8. Therefore I was extra happy to see the two major series of cases from OtterBox being released for it. Both these cases have had time to mature ever since the early days of the iPhone. The first run is available in one colour only: black, and a light grey. For the Defender this is called knight, and for the Commuter it is called pavement. The lack of colour selection is disappointing given the range of cool range of colours of the Lumia 920. If sales are solid I really hope to see yellow, red and cyan versions.
The Defender is the classic case for anyone looking for maximum protection for their device. I have used it in different versions for the iPhone 3G/3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 2, iPad 3, Samsung Galaxy S3 and currently on my iPad Mini. Made using three layers of protection with a screen protector built in it can take quite a pummeling. For the Lumia 920 the Defender takes much of the core design from the iPad version using their best version of the latch system yet. It is really easy to put the case on, and get it to sit firmly in place.
If you use a screen film on your device it will create smearing, or watermarking on the screen. This is not harmful, but really annoying in every way. If you intend on using a Defender case you better be prepared to get rid of the screen film. If you have applied an expensive Copter for example the Defender case might not be a good choice at all.
The grip is better using the Defender albeit the already bulky Lumia 920 becomes quite fat. It makes it feel like a device somewhere between the smartphone, and iPad Mini. Furthermore the large borders around the screen can interfere slightly when typing, or playing games.
The handy holster is great, and almost mandatory as most won’t be able to have the Lumia 920 in a jeans pocket due to size. The fact that you can place the phone either screen in, or screen out is an improvement compared to earlier iPhone 4/4S models.
All ports, and connectors are covered by silicone plugs that are easy to remove when you want to use headphones, or charge/sync. The silicone covering the buttons is also responsive. It takes a bit more force than usual to press them compared to the naked buttons. This is actually quite good in my opinion, as it limits accidental camera, or volume controls.
The Defender series is getting better for each version, and the Lumia 920 is perhaps the best smartphone version of the case yet. There are still some issues that come with a built-in screen protector. The fact that the phone becomes both chunky, and heavy is also detrimental to the experience.
The Commuter has evolved even more than the Defender over the past years. And it surpasses big brother due to having a better balance between size and protection. Made from two pieces it still provides some of the best protection available. The inner grey rubberized silicone is strong, and provides excellent grip. The outer hard exoskeleton in black gives the case a cool vibe.
There are plugs for charge, and headphone socket that are easy to remove and sit tightly when you want them to. Overall the quality of the design is much better than the Commuter for the iPhone 5 that had some issues with the silicone plug at the bottom.
The best aspect of the Commuter is the excellent grip it provides, as all corners have the rubberized silicone exposed. I have no fear of dropping the Lumia 920 even when riding my bike across snow, and ice.
The only negative to me is the fact that even the Commuter turns the Lumia 920 quite chunky. Had it not already been thick the problem would have been miniscule. For the Samsung Galaxy S3 for example the Commuter made the phone feel like a real phone instead of a toy.
The Commuter series from OtterBox is a great case that protects, and adds grip to the Nokia Lumia 920. The Nokia Lumia 920 might be built like a tank not really needing this level of protection, but I think the grip is the true selling point here. Too often the naked Lumia 920 has slipped off a pillow, or out of my pocket. Now it stays where I place it, brilliant.