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Otterbox Defender for Nokia Lumia 920 Review

Rating: 9.0.

Mobile phones really are so ingrained into our daily life now that existing without one seems almost implausible. Buying a mobile phone or entering into a contract is an expensive business. If you are as ham fisted as me then it is always worthwhile contemplating insurance with the network provider, which is in my case Vodafone. How do you go about protecting that investment without spending a fortune however?

Quite a few members of the Kitguru team were happy Blackberry users until recently. Several of us (including myself) have ditched them for the new Nokia Lumia 920 and in my humble opinion it is the best smartphone I have owned. This article isn’t a review of the Lumia 920 however, but more a quick ‘hands on’ look at a way to protect it during daily life.

I will admit, I do tend to loathe protective cases because while they all add bulk and weight, many of them don’t actually offer that much protection. If you scan Ebay today there are zillions of cheap silicon cases available for a couple of quid. They offer basic protection, but the screen is also a concern.

Now, there is a possibility you are one of the very few people who can fit a protective screen to a smartphone without leaving behind a raft of air bubbles. I have tried to adhere protective covers on my iPhone, my HTC and my Blackberry over the last 5 years and I always end up throwing them in the bin in disgust. Over time, without a protective cover the screen does attract little imperfections, so we are left in a catch 22 situation.

Either use the smartphone with tiny, yet noticeable air bubbles on the screen or don’t bother at all and try and ignore the minor marks that will occur over time.

The OtterBox Defender is supplied in a semi transparent case. We already had the Otterbox Defender out of the case at this stage – you can see my old, nasty, cheap silicone case in the box.

The Otterbox Defender is actually comprised of three parts. The two parts in the image above are the sections of the main polycarbonate protective shell which protects the smartphone against impact and drops.

The observant among you may notice – the protective screen is built into the top section of the chassis! It is extremely well put together, perfectly clear and doesn’t need to bond directly to the smartphone screen either. More on this later.

The Nokia Lumia 920 rests upon the lower part of the protective shell which has a felt cover to protect the back of the phone against scuffing. A nice touch.

There is a hole cut into the back of the shell which ensures the excellent Lumia 920 camera can still function.

The shell is perfectly sculpted to the body of the Lumia 920.

When the protective shell is put together the next stage is to cover it all with the protective black, silicone cover, which is much more impressive than the low grade one I bought from ebay last month for £3.99.

The silicon ‘skin’ has all the buttons in the same places as the Lumia 920 and there are even covers for the ports which can be peeled back, when needed. This will offer additional protection against dust and dirt.

The black cover almost snaps into place, the engineering tolerances are that tight. While it is difficult to see in the images above, the silicone section of the case has to be pushed tight into the polycarbonate shell to lock in place. There is absolutely no movement once this is sealed properly.

You can see from the image above that there is a little section cut into the clear membrane cover over the screen, so you can hear the person on the other end of the call. The membrane screen just touches the smartphone screen and I felt no difference between using this protective screen and the actual screen of the Lumia 920. Top marks.

The silicon skin cover looks great from the back, with the company branding visible at the bottom.

The last part of the Otterbox Defender is the belt clip. This is designed so you can pull the phone out from one side without a lot of effort. The other two clips hold the phone firmly in place, so there is only one side you can disconnect the phone from the belt clip.

The belt clip can also be used as a media viewing stand as the central section rotates on the axis.

I have used the Otterbox Defender now for several days on the move and while it does add a little girth to the Lumia 920 in a pocket, I feel much happier knowing the expensive handset is protected against both drops and potential screen damage.

The clear membrane screen is actually one of the best design concepts I have seen as it has been engineered to exacting tolerance levels – it is also perfectly clear. When the Lumia 920 is installed in the polycarbonate shell the membrane screen just presses against the smartphone screen without adhering. It can easily be pulled out of the shell and reused infinite times.

While I was writing this review I actually did drop the phone as it was resting on the side of the desk. It fell 3 foot onto a carpeted surface, but it didn’t leave a mark and the phone was undamaged. Obviously this isn’t an intensive stress test but I do feel this cover will protect the Lumia 920 against general every day risks, including dust and dirt.

Availability of the Otterbox Defender for the Lumia 920 is very limited in the United Kingdom, however Expansys are selling it via ebay for around the £40 mark. I think it is worth every penny.

Pros:

  • Tough as nails.
  • Great screen protector system.
  • Covered ports to protect against dirt.
  • engineering standards are exceptional.
  • makes the phone more ‘grippy’.

Cons:

  • Adds a little bulk to the phone.
  • Priced at the higher end of the market.
  • not waterproof.

Kitguru says: Do you value your Nokia Lumia 920? This is the cover to get.

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Rating: 9.0.

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