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Otterbox Preserver Phone Case Review For Iphone 5s

10th Mar 2014

Otterbox Preserver for Iphone 5s

When you spend good money on a phone it's as well to take certain precautions to protect your investment. Insurance is all very well, but you may as well also put your phone inside some sort of protective covering, at least that's my take on it given the lifestyle I live and the abuse my phones take. The last phone I had was back and forth to the warranty and insurance offices on about 4 occasions during its nearly 2 year lifespan, largely a a result of the copious amounts of dust that would accumulate inside the thing. The phone spent the best part of its life either in my pocket or on my desk or bedside table. It wasn't a sealed unit, and as a result, dust could get in. Don't ask me how as it snapped together pretty tightly, but it did. The good folk at the warranty dept also claimed that the water markers inside indicated that it had been wet too. It hadn't. My only explanation was that condensation had somehow entered the device in the same way that the dust had, perhaps whilst camping? 

Suffice to say I was not about to change my lifestyle to suit a gadget, so with my latest phone I've done the very opposite thing, and changed my phone to suite my lifestyle! 

The Otterbox Preserver is not cheap. It retails at around £70, though can be found for less if you shop around. But £70 ain't a lot of money compared to multiple days without a phone (I'm talking time away from business here as that's primarily what I use the thing for) and the associated frustration of having to constantly reboot it and not be able to rely on it. It's effectively a two-piece case that the phone sits snugly inside of. The two pieces click together and create a water-tight and dust-tight union. The front has a very thin transparent cover on it that allows regular use of the touch screen. It;s a difficult thing to measure, but I'd say that it's 99% as good as the native screen, so a tiny compromise, but not one worth worrying about. Above the main button on the front of the pone is a circular piece of even thinner plastic which allows you to not only press the button more easily, but also lets the phone scan your fingerprint and allow access. Though this works, it is let down a little by the surrounding plastic casing which means that it's difficult for me to get my thumb and forefingers pressed against the circle easily meaning that about 50% of the time it's quicker to simply swipe the screen and enter the pin-code than it is to use the scanner. That's frustrating, especially given that they could have solved this by allowing a little more space.

The volume buttons are easily controlled with two rubber nubs that respond 100% correctly. The mute switch is a little tougher. Having had the case for a few weeks and used this switch a reasonable amount it works pretty well, but to begin with it was frustratingly difficult to operate. The on-off switch on the top works just fine with a rubber button.

If you want to plug in the charger or a headphone / speaker jack there are two panels on the bottom of the phone which click open and closed with a watertight seal. Whilst these are open it goes without saying that water and dust can get inside the case. 
If I had one gripe with the case it would be with the sound reproduction. There are a series of holes (watertight of course) around where the speaker is on the phone, which means that there is no problem at all in hearing the sound - whether it is somebody on the phone, or you are playing some music, but the quality of the sound is definitely somewhat distorted. By and large this isn't a problem, but it seems that the case somehow actually amplifies the sound and in doing so distorts it a little. I tend to use it turned down from full volume as a result. 

I have no complaints about the cameras - both work just fine shooting through their respective  transparent covers.

Lastly I should really mention the waterproofness and shockproofness of the phone. Nobody in their right mind would actually take the phone underwater in the case to take photos as you can bet your bottom dollar that if you did, and the thing let water in, Otterbox would not be too willing to cough up for a new phone as it would be impossible to prove that it was the case that was at fault and not you accidentally leaving it partially open. Neither would anybody willingly drop it from a height onto a hard floor, just in case the claims were inaccurate. With that in mind I can't say that the thing is totally waterproof and shockproof, but I can certainly say that it is very well made, all the seals are tight enough to inspire confidence, and the case has the feel of something that will do its job. 

It certainly makes the phone a little bulkier than you might like, but that's a compromise I am willing to make. All in all it;s a pretty good investment I think.