Just what is the Difference between Otterbox Defender and Commuter Cases? {Review}

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After you have finished reading about the difference between the Otterbox Defender and Commuter Cases, be sure to look at these Otterbox Case Reviews and Otterbox Case Comparisons.  They will help with all of your shopping needs for Otterbox cases.

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What started as a jab joke at CES quickly became a mission. During our four days at CES, my friend Becca (who has a slight cell phone case addiction) and I saw hundreds of phone cases.  Hundreds for her iPhone and every other phone known to man, but no one seemed to have a case for my current Android at the time, the HTC One Max. Thankfully Otterbox came through and had a few to offer so I quickly started comparing the Otterbox Defender and Commuter cases to find what would work best.

Otterbox Defender vs Commuter Cases - What is the Difference - Wondering just what is the difference between Otterbox Defender and Commuter Cases? Our comparison review shows you how they compare side by side.

The Otterbox Commuter and Defender cases each have their own pros and cons; here is a closer look at the differences between the Otterbox Defender and Commuter cases.

 

By the time we met with Otterbox I truly was coming to think that finding durable and strong Android cases was mission impossible, which is the LAST thing that should happen at CES.

Otterbox showed me not one, but two of the strongest cases for my phone: the Otterbox Defender and Otterbox Commuter cases.

Wondering just what is the difference between Otterbox Defender and Commuter Cases? Our comparison review shows you how they compare side by side.

Otterbox Commuter Case

Otterbox was nice enough to send me these cases to review so I first took a look at the Otterbox commuter.  I love the clean look of the case and the white and gray color combo is sleek.

otterbox commuter case port covers - Wondering just what is the difference between Otterbox Defender and Commuter Cases? Our comparison review shows you how they compare side by side.

The Otterbox Commuter Series is perfectly designed with two layers of protection for someone like myself where I want to protect my device in a fairly typical “daily life”.  It is nice to know that my phone is protected from drops, scrapes, and bumps that are simply going to happen – it’s just a matter of when.

The ports are also really easy to access on the Otterbox Commuter Series.   The covers keep out dust and debris but I also found them to really protect the ports from the random small objects that float around in my purse.

Wondering just what is the difference between Otterbox Defender and Commuter Cases? Our comparison review shows you how they compare side by side.

The Otterbox Commuter Series is smoother on the exterior than the Defender Series which does allow it to slide in my pocket and my handbag pockets with ease.  As I said the protection provided by the Commuter Series case is two-fold.  An adhesive screen protector comes with your case to prevent scratches and your device is protected by an inner silicone layer and then partially wrapped in a polycarbonate outer.

otterbox defender series case - Wondering just what is the difference between Otterbox Defender and Commuter Cases? Our comparison review shows you how they compare side by side.

Otterbox Defender Series

After almost two weeks with the Commuter case, it was time to test another Otterbox case – the Otterbox Defender on my phone.  The Defender Series is definitely more rugged than the Commuter Series and is geared toward heavier users that need more protection or would like the flexibility to add more protection as needed in their life.

difference between otterbox defender and commuter defender - Wondering just what is the difference between Otterbox Defender and Commuter Cases? Our comparison review shows you how they compare side by side.

The Defender Series comes with a built-in screen protector to guard against scrapes for heavy users.  (I performed a bit of surgery and removed it. 🙂  I love the screen on my Max and didn’t like the barrier.)  With three layers of protection, your phone is truly protected with the Defender Series.  

The layers of protection are different on the Defender Series compared to the Commuter Series.  The Commuter has a silicone inner layer whereas the Defender Series has a polycarbonate inner layer.  Again, perfect for those that need more protection for their phone.

How do the Otterbox Defender and Commuter Cases Compare?

The outer layer on the Defender case is silicone as compared to the polycarbonate outer on the Commuter Series.  Port protection on both cases is equal regardless of the layers being different.  Another key difference on the Defender Series is the belt-clip holster that offers convenience for those that need their phone accessible on the job and while enjoying life on the go.

Plus, it swivels. 🙂

If you watch a lot of movies on your phone, the clip also acts as a kickstand for hands-free media viewing.

Wondering just what is the difference between Otterbox Defender and Commuter Cases? Our comparison review shows you how they compare side by side.

I have to admit – I went into using the Otterbox Defender thinking that I would not like it as much as the Commuter.    

And was completely surprised when I was torn as to which one I liked better.

After testing the Otterbox Defender and Commuter Series cases, here is where they rank:

  • I prefer the exterior texture of the Otterbox Defender because it is grippy and allows to carry it with a bit more confidence.
  • The dual tone of the Commuter Series and the slightly smaller size pull me in – I love them.
  • The power button is far easier to activate with the Otterbox Defender series case.  I can carry it one handed and push the button with any finger and my phone turns on and off.  With the Commuter Series, more often than not, I need to hold the phone with both hands to get the power button to work.  The button on the silicone layer is positioned too low on the case and thus does not line up well.

In the end, my vote is for the Otterbox Defender case solely because the Commuter makes the buttons harder to push. If it were based on form factor and design, the Commuter Series has my heart.Save

22 COMMENTS

  1. I loved the Otterbox cases. I had one for my HTC Evo 4G, but then had to do without once I got my Nexus 4. My wife’s Galaxy SII had a Ballistic case. I didn’t like it at all. Front was too thick, so it made it hard to touch the edge of the screen. Her new SIII is back to the Otterbox (blue/lightblue).

    One comparison you should do is how easily it slides into a pants or shirt pocket. Guys would be interested in that comparison.

  2. I just purchased an Otterbox Defender for my Galaxy Note 4. It is much bulkier than I expected. But I believe the only bad thing that will happen to my phone is losing it. I’m not to shore about the belt clip. Once clipped in it is difficult to get out due to my arthritis. The screen protected is so close to the screen you don’t know it is there.

  3. I purchased two of the Defender cases based upon your review. One for my Samsung Note 3 and one for my mother’s Samsung S4.

  4. I was wondering what the differences were between the Otterbox Commuter and Defender cases and found your review. I recently purchased a Galaxy 5 Note and part of the package was an Otterbox Commuter case. I am pretty happy with it. I don’t see the issue with the power button, it extends a millimeter or more out of the case and I have no problem with one-handed operation. Maybe Otterbox acted on your review.

  5. Hi Amy,

    I am trying to decide between the defender and the commuter for my iPhone 6 s plus. The only factors in really considering is bulkiness vs protection. Does the commuter have a raised case that goes over the screen so that if you drop it the screen won’t crack? Or is that just for the defender? Thank you and happy holidays !

  6. Thanks for your review Amy.
    I just bought a Samsung Galaxy S7. The lock function can be operated by fingerprint recognition on the home button. Will this feature still work with either the Defender or the Commuter?

    Ted

  7. I am looking for a case for my husbands new IPhone 6plus. He works construction so I am thinking of going with the Defender….do you agree?
    Thanks for comparing the two….makes it easier for people like me!!

    • Hi Wendy, For construction, yes I would definitely recommend the Defender! It can truly protect his phone if something happens! 🙂 You are very welcome – thanks for stopping in!

  8. i feel a liitle bit sorry about my question now. Before that sorry for my English i´m only a pupil. i don´t know which otter box is the best for me. Your reviwe is very good but my English is not so good:: 😀 I´m a girl i have a horse. my phone case shold be robust (?) stylish and functional. That´s for the cummuter… but you said (and you are not the only) that the buttons are hard to hit. Another question: is the screen also protected with an extra “case”?
    or is the defender maybe better for me? i often were tight pans and wan´t to carry my phone in my trousers pocket(?)
    hope you can help me an thanks in advance!

    • “Defender” has silicone rubber on the exterior (more grippy, sticky) versus the “Commuter” that has a polycarbonate exterior that will be easier to slide in and out of tight pockets.

  9. Does the film screen protector on the commuter offer just as much protection as the built in protector on the defender?
    Say if you drop it and it lands dead center on a rock where the raised edges offer no protection. I have dropped a phone in a rocky area before and cracked the screen. The only time the raised edges help if it’s dropped on a flat surface

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