Both the Otterbox Defender and the Lifeproof case for iPhone 4/4S are pretty solid cases. I was a big supporter of the Otterbox Defender series cases for a long time, until one day my one year old tried to dip my phone into the cat’s bowl of water. While the Defender series gives you a very high level of protection, it still wasn’t enough for someone like me, and it may not be enough for you.
I loved that the Otterbox had solid drop protection, its two layers (plastic shell with silicone inner layer) gives you ultimate protection if the phone slips out of your hands. The silicone layer also provides great protection for the headphone and charging jacks. It acts almost like a plug. The one thing I noticed about this though, is that where the silicone meets the plastic, it’s prone to tearing as mine did. Also, if you didn’t have the plastic case and the silicone lined up just right, the charging cover wouldn’t want to close right. However, while they were working right and not tearing, they protected you against lint and debris getting into it. The case also had a screen protector built in, which was durable, more durable against scratches than the Lifeproof. With all of this, it’s pretty resistant to light rain and splashes of water but it isn’t close to waterproof. This case also comes with a belt clip, which may not be a make it or break it feature but I sure liked it.
After my Otterbox ripped, I picked up the Lifeproof case. This case is water, shock, dust, and snow proof. It comes in two pieces that snap together with an O-ring to provide it a watertight seal. The charging port folds open and shut. The headphone jack has a plug that screws in as well.. I love that this is waterproof. I can let my daughters play with it without fear of my phone being damaged. The built in screen protectors have a couple of scratches on it but has held up well all things considered. There are some downsides to this case of course. Since the charging cover is hard plastic and folds down, you need to get a special adapter from the manufacturer. One other thing I dislike is the headphone port. The plug that comes on it is easy to lose, because of its small size. Also, not many headphones or auxilary cords will fit in through the hole. Granted, Lifeproof supplies you with one adapter that will keep your case waterproof as it screws into the jack. This also comes with something to slide your headphone jack into when you are using the adapter as well. I have dropped my phone on asphalt with this case and it got very few dings and the phone is fine, so that’s a plus as well. This case doesn’t come with a belt clip, though you can buy one separately if you wish to. There is a variety of their accessories you can pick up for this case as well; including a life jacket so it won’t sink to the bottom of the lake should you drop it in the water.
Overall the cases are great, I would recommend them both. I guess a lot of it depends on what you are looking for in a case, your lifestyle and how much you’re willing to spend on either one. They each come with a one year of manufacturer’s warranty and have great customer service. They have models available for the iPhone 5, iPad and iPad mini, and other Android devices as well. You can check out prices, color options, and accessories at their respective websites: