Judging by the response to Monday's FirstLook of the OtterBox iPad cases, it appears that readers are really interested in the Defender and the Commuter. We can understand why. They look like something Batman would use to protect his iPad...and they could be right. "Suiting up" the iPad with the Commuter case is simple and we won't need to show it in this installation write-up. Instead, we will focus the remainder of this discussion on the Defender case.
When we tried to slide the iPad into the Defender case, we got halfway in and was met with quite a bit of resistance. If we really wanted to we probably could have jammed it in there (or, maybe not), but we would have had to break the case to get it back out. The reason? The tolerance of these Defender cases is very tight. Having the InvisibleShield on both sides of the iPad made it too thick to fit into the case. The only solution was to remove the film on the back of the iPad. It was not a big deal as we had been thinking of doing that anyway; the colors from the Vaja back cover had left a pattern on the film which we were unable to remove/smooth out. We expect that the heat from the iPad caused the coloring to leach out from the leather. We will follow up with Vaja to see if they have any comments. In any case, we'll definitely put another InvisibleShield back on the back once we are done with the case reviews.
Taking the InvisibleShield off the back was very simple. We just grabbed a corner and peeled. The film came off clean and left no residue of any kind. With the film removed, we had no problem slipping the iPad into the bottom frame of the Defender case. Note that while the back of the case only covered half of the iPad, the front covers the entire frame. There are no seams in the front. The smaller second piece of the frame has tongues which dovetail into the main piece. The fit is VERY precise both on the back and the sides.
We had mentioned a few times that the OtterBox cases offers a three-layer (four if you include the screen film) protection: hard screen cover, hard frame, rubber shock absorbing skin. The rubber skin in the Defender goes over the hard frame to seal out dirt, improve grip, and to provide shock absorption.
The flexible rubber skin has tabs along the edges which mate with the slots. Once all of the tabs have been pushed in, the fit is glove-tight. Just from the experience of putting the iPad into the Defender, we are very impressed with OtterBox's implementation and are eager to see how this case is to use on a daily basis.
Now that the iPad has been successfully installed in the OtterBox Defender, we'll abuse it for a couple of weeks and get you our FirstUse impressions as soon as possible. For those who want to make sure their iPad will survive a Hudson River landing, just double it up with a water-tight case. Some may think this is overkill, but seriously... can there REALLY be too much protection when it comes to your iPad? [Permalink] - OtterBox iPad Defender: Installation