OtterBox Defender Samsung Galaxy S3 case review

Maximizing protection, and size for something already oversized.

If you have ever felt mad, and wanted to throw your phone into a wall you would have been able to using the OtterBox Defender. The combination of three-layered protection, and ultra light Samsung Galaxy S3 can take an incredible amount of punishment without damaging the phone. What might damage it is the force, but not the impact. Still that has to be a true fastball pitch into the wall.

OtterBox has been the leader of the maximum protection segment of cases for years, and the Defender is the most iconic design in their stable. I have used the Defender ever since the iPhone 3G, and it is actually the only case I have felt 100 percent confident in handing my device to my children with. The new Defender for the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a lot of design in common with the one found for the iPhone 3G, and that is a good thing in my opinion. The iPhone 4 one was far too blocky following the lines of the phone. Having the curves back is great.

Made from three pieces the Defender is a rugged tank of a case. The first layer includes the screen protection that is thick but still allow the screen and haptic buttons to be fully functional. It has cutouts for the camera, and home button. The next layer that snaps together with the screen protector is a hard back cover. It is quite easy to assemble with just a couple of clicks. Finally an outer layer is placed around the two inner hard layers. The outer layer is a thick durable silicone rubber material that gives excellent grip. Once it is set into special grooves around the edges it is really sturdy.

Removing the Defender takes a bit more effort, and has to be done with care not to break any of the click points. You might have to remove it at least once a month to clean away dust that creeps in through the cutouts in the screen protector.

Inside the case I think the Samsung Galaxy S3 feels puny, and this is my main issue with the case. It makes it even harder to reach across the screen with one hand, and it makes it feel like I am handling a small tablet instead of an oversized smartphone.

The holster can also double as a media stand. The phone has to be worn screen in to be safely fastened. This is kind of a bummer that has been a part of the Defender series lately. I would rather have the option of it screen out to see who is calling, or messaging.

There is no denying that the OtterBox Defender is the ultimate protection for the Samsung Galaxy S3. At the same time it diminishes the greatness of the phone, and makes it harder to handle. For those looking for great protection in places where it is a must the Defender will definitely work well. For everyday protection the smaller Commuter should be enough.

Final Rating


Defender Series for Samsung Galaxy S3 at $49.95

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  • MistaC87

    The case is rather bulky, but it is a risk I am willing to take for such a precious device, and the bulkiness of the case does not bother me one tiny bit. It helps alleviate the paranoia I have of my phone breaking by succumbing to a brutal fall.

  • Alison Vickers

    i like the protection but the click points broke the first time I tried to remove it to add a my SD card. This should be designed better especially with how much they cost. Now I have to buy a new one and I havent even had the thing 2 months :(

  • Sam Wyatt

    I bought the case today, and the only quarrel is the belt holder. I am doing the rounds in an anime convention soon and I need direct contact with others. This means I need it, but screen out. Other than that, it is one of the only accessories I’m ever going to use.

  • Mandy

    Nice case, but I would recommend the Pong Research Samsung Galaxy case over this.The World Health Organization has declared that cell phone radiation is a possible carcinogen. Ten studies connect cell phone radiation to diminished sperm count and sperm damage. Others raise health concerns such as altered brain metabolism, sleep disturbance and behavioral changes in children.That’s why I did research and found a case that can reduce radiation exposure.I found cases from Pong Research, I read that this technology reduces exposure to radiation while optimizing the mobile reception. I was skeptical about it, anyway, I decided to try it, because Pong is the only technology proven in FCC-certified laboratories to reduce the exposure to mobile device radiation by up to 95% below the FCC limit without compromising the device’s ability to communicate.