Hands-on with the Otterbox Armor series for iPhone and Galaxy S III (video)

Daniel Bader

January 10, 2013 8:35 am


Otterbox teased its Armor series way back in June, but the new water-, crush- and dust-proof offering finally debuted at this year’s CES.

Available in late February, the company showed off models for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III, and said that more products in the category are coming.

Unlike its Defender series, which is enormously bulky and not worth the gruelling effort it takes to insert and remove, Armor uses a latch system that better protects the phone inside while allowing for each placement.  The port covers are incredibly secure, and the o-ring seal keeps out water, dust and debris, and protects the phone in any orientation from two tonnes of pressure. In other words, it’s incredibly difficult to damage a phone while inside an Armor case.


Initially coming to the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 in Februrary, the company is boasting a Galaxy S III version for March with all of the same benefits. All Armor models include a screen cover that allows for 1:1 movement, which we confirmed when running it through out rigorous tests. We dropped it in water, stomped on it, played catch with it and throughout it all were unsuccessful in causing a lick of damage to the phone.

The Armor does indeed add a significant footprint to your phone, but it’s still easily pocketable. It also slides in and out more easily than the Defender because backing is flat, and Otterbox has thankfully done away with the belt clip as a result.

While it won’t be for everyone, we can see the Armor series replacing the aging Defender in Otterbox’s lineup. All models will be available in multiple colours, and come in at $99.95 USD. We can’t wait to get our review samples, and will do a full teardown of the case when we get one.

The company also showed off its latest cases for the Nokia Lumia 920 and LG Optimus G. They are part of the Commuter family and, as always, provide great protection with minimal bulk. We asked a representative about cases for the Nexus 4 but were met with “no plans at this time,” which was disappointing.

  • nik

    Hey otterbox! if I wanted my s3 to look like a brick i wouldnt buy this phone…this has to be worst accessory for the phone

    • Twosee

      RIP RIM!!!!! :D :D

    • skullan

      If you don’t feel you want a water-, crush- and dust-proof case from Otterbox, then go find another vendor that will do it.

      They will all likely look the same.

  • Scientist

    So, are these designed for war zone? Like the defender, aka bomb shelter wasn’t enough.

  • Crank

    It’s bad enough that our phones cost so much that we need cases.

    But Otterbox makes the tackiest cases. They’re either vanity-bait, with gigantic holes not for protection, but to show off the logo of your device. The sort of thing the lower classes go gaga over. Witness their love of massive (or any!) logos on their clothing.

    Or they’re designed for construction sites, in which case, who is going to need it except the foreman?

    The rank and file shouldn’t even be allowed to have smartphones on site.

    Otterman : If you’re a lower class man or woman of no discerning taste, have we got the case for you!

    • Brad F, Brad F(anboy), jack

      Case should be renamed to Odderbox for being weirder and bigger than the rest.

    • some guy

      @Crank
      So only construction workers need heavy duty protection for his/her phone?

      I think you are forgetting that there is a large market of smaller contracting businesses where workers need to stay in contact with their cell phones. Landscapers are outside in the elements and would require the same protection for their phones.
      Camping, outdoor sports like (mountain)biking, hiking, boating, or just people who don’t give 2 s**ts about their phone and want to make it last.

      BTW Crank, based on that excellent write-up there, I’m guessing you aren’t very high on the ol’ social ladder yourself. ^_^

      Have a great day!

  • Mike Neufeld

    This is absolutely amazing!!! TY Otterbox. Finally something for us guys on the construction sites. The defender series while strong and touch always aloud dust to enter through the open ports making the screen all dirty and embedded onto the display. I always had to take the Defender off every night to clean it. This looks much better, design wise and in function.

  • Mike Neufeld

    @ Crank – I guess you have never picked up aa power tool or worked on a commercial and or residential site.

    • some guy

      @Mike According to Crank, that doesn’t matter.

      Obviously if you are picking up a power tool, you are part of the “rank and file” portion of the “lower class” and should not have your phone with you.
      /sarcasm

  • Crank

    Mike : Did you even read my post all the way through?

  • PureTO

    And ppl make fun of the old phone from the 80’s. lol Look at the size of it! You’ll need to carry and extra pair of pants around so you can have a pocket for it!

  • B.R

    Lol it is extremely funny to see all these posts bashing Otterbox. Working in the mobile industry I can safely say that Otterbox is the number one case that my company sells, flys off the shelf. People have their own opinions, but Otterbox is by far the best case you can get for a phone. If your worried about bulk than get the Impact series or Reflex, a lot smaller/thinner and less bulk.

    Armor series is a great idea, it’s the case a ton of people have been waiting for. Props Otterbox.

  • phreezerburn

    Hilarious to see an iPhone, whose aesthetics are hurled about as though looks trumped all else regarding the smartphone, wrapped in a Pelican case with a viewing port. Novel use I guess… novel use.

  • Crank

    I have no doubt that the Otterbox sells, B.R.

    I feel bad for people carrying around gigantosaur phones with their enormous cases. They clearly struggle to actually get anything done on those devices. It just isn’t happening.

  • Gabriel

    I guess people will never understand that these products are designed for a specific need.. You may not like it, but for someone working in an industry such as construction or mechanic will love this… Some people working in these kinds of industry will be glad to sacrifice design in order to keep their phone 3 years…

  • Dave

    I think this new armour series is great! I’m an officer in Canada who works with the province of Ontario and I’ve been waiting for something like this. I work through all kinds of weather conditions and having a case that covers it all is perfect. I’m ok with a little more bulk to my phone if it means that its safe enough to have with me at all times.

  • Joe

    Maybe the Defender isn’t suited for the dainty iPhone user, but my S3’s Defender was worth every penny.

  • Mike Neufeld

    @crank my bad. Its too early. I should re read in the future!

  • Israel

    Is Otter box going to make one for the Galaxy note 2?

  • Henaway

    Soooooooooo … these big @$$ cases fly off the shelves. Absolute proof that THINNER AND LIGHTER DON’T MATTER! Build me a big, bulky, dust and water resistant phone with a big @$$ battery and a solid outer cases that doesn’t NEED one of these monstrosities. OR, tout how ultra thin and feather light your phones are, but be sure not to do so much as put it in your pocket, because it’s too fragile to live outside a big @$$ bulky case.

  • Dennis F. Heffernan

    I’ve never had any problem using my phone while inside a Defender. I kept my Atrix in one almost from the moment I got it and I’ve got one on order for my new Note 2. I made my mother get one for her phones (an Infuse I gave her to replace a stolen iPhone 3GS and her new iPhone 4s) because she has a serious case of the dropsies and has murdered at least two cell phones.

    I couldn’t care less about the added bulk. These devices are too expensive and too fragile to go without serious protection.

    The Armor series looks good but I would miss the belt clip.

  • Omega Jimes

    I always used to put my playbook in it’s otterbox for the work week, then take it out on weekends when it was mine to play with.

  • Jeremy

    Okay really. This is a new year and you make the biggest and possibly the ugliest cases worse? How about super thin otterbox cases that are equally strong? This is obviously possible..

  • Michael Merrell

    These cases are designed for certain people. Recently my wife got a new iPhone 5 because our 2-year old daughter threw her old phone and busted the speaker on it.

    The cost and bulkiness of this case is worth the protection that it offers the phone inside.

  • Sid

    damn that case is a tank. but glad to see Otterbox is embracing water proof tech for their cases. This be perfect for those that work in the construction business or any very rugged terrain. for those that are complaining about the size of the otterbox case, there are LifeProof cases (for iPhones) out there that offer a slimmer look, and more appeal to your eyes, also the price is slightly cheaper then the price listed above… I own a lifeproof case, but i just may buy the otterbox armor case as well as a back up.

  • Brad F, Brad F(anboy), jack

    Awesome case! Now, how do I put that in my pocket? Skinny jeans mind you because I’m an iPhone using hipster.

  • Jamie

    this is the case ive been waiting for for my GS3 i spend a lot of time outdoors hiking and kayaking and i carry a waterproof bag with me whenever i do to put my phone in if it rains which comes with the downside of being unusable while in the bag with this ill have it waterproof and usable and as a bonus if i take a slip while hiking and fall on my side my phone wont be crushed! cant wait for this to come out
    and too all the people talking about how crappy it looks its not made for aesthetics its made for protection and it appears like you can pop it in and out in under a minute so throw one in your cars glovebox if you have to go out in the rain for a while throw your phone in it and it will be fine!

  • gjeff12

    It would be cool if they made a waterproof version of the commuter. Accidental swims and toilet drops.

  • Eric

    If you don’t want the added bulk just get a phone designed for such elements.. Samsung has the Rugby line.

  • Zachary

    He should have put it in the cooler there.

  • Azzo

    Urban Armour Gear makes great construction cases. I’ve only seen two types made for the GSIII and Iphone 5. Find them on Ebay.

  • John

    It looks like four cases. One over another… In another word it looks fugly.

  • John

    i love how the weather never loaded…