REVIEW: Otterbox Armour vs lifeproof case for iPhone 5

I’ve had my otterbox armour for about a month now, and it is a pretty impressive case to say the least.

I used to have a iPhone 4s with a mophie juice pack, but recently upgraded to the iPhone 5.  I started off with a basic silicone/rubber case ($15) KNOWING that I would eventually get a pretty intense case.  I ordered the lifeproof case off ebay for also, $15.  It boasted all the same features as the otterbox armour; some even better.

When the lifeproof case came, i was thrilled to see how slim it was (refer back to how I used to use a Mophie Juice Pack).  It did, however, seem very flimsy and I wasn’t sure how well it would protect my phone (especially if we’re shooting in extreme conditions… like a hurricane or something).  I tested out the waterproof quality, cause that’s what I was most concerned about.  Placed a kimwipe in the case and submerged it for about 12 hours about one inch deep.  The kimwipe was damp, but not soaked or even really wet.  I was pretty happy with this result so I began to use this case.  I soon decided to get a new case soley because of three reasons:

  1. The case’s screen was not flush with the iPhone’s screen, so the touch screen on the edges were not effective…
  2. To plug into the audio jack, you’d have to unscrew the audio jack port every single time.
  3. The case is snapped together by pressing the two sides together, there’s no locking latch, if you dropped it, it seems like (but may not) just flop open.

I then decided to look into something more extreme – the Otfter Box Armor.  I purchased it off ebay for $52, this retails for about $99cad.  So I got it at a good price.  When it came, it was HUGE.  But again, I’m used to having a large phone with the Mophie case.  Once again I did the underwater test, 7 hours and the kimwipe was damp.  Good enough for me.  I placed my phone inside and it was a perfect fit.  Snug and the touch screen worked great.  The latches snap together to make a very tight fit.

I did find however that everytime I chat on the phone, I’ll have to pull the two ports at the bottom off, otherwise the receiving end of my call will hear a very muffled me.  This isn’t a huge issue for me cause it’s easy to do that, I just have to often apologize because I may forget to.


Touchscreen not effective
Unscrew to get to headphone jack
(not tested) Muffled when speaking?
Silent button does not register with case
flimsy build quality – nothing to secure the “o” ring will be sealed tight.

Super strong case
Easy to access ports

Very bulky
muffled unless you pull the ports open at bottom
RIght side port seems fragile (thin piece of plastic?)
Silence button is reversed with case.

Pay the extra cost for the Otter Box if you don’t mind the bulk.  If you spend $200 on a pelican to protect your $3000 camera, why not spend $50-$100 on a case to protect your $800 phone at ALL TIMES, even when it’s in use!?

UPDATE! – Feb 2014
I‘ve has the otter box for less than a year and rust has formed on the hinges of the case! It’s not really a big issue because otter box has replaced that part of the case for free. However, the screen is now not flush with the face of the phone, and this causes some issues with the touch pad. I still use my old rusty hinges for that reason.


My screen has a small scratch on it now, on the face of the otter box case. Not a big deal, but I thought I’d mention it.
Also, I find that the screen protector sticks to the screen leaving an oily looking display, as seen below – it’s not actually oily when touched, and I clean my phone and case pretty frequently.




I'm Cinematographer in Toronto, Canada - just trying to learn as much as I can and share it all. Also the owner of Spectacle Media Inc.
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2 Responses to REVIEW: Otterbox Armour vs lifeproof case for iPhone 5

  1. Elliott says:

    That protector shine looks like it’s not on completely flat, and there are air bubbles underneath.

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