The OtterBox Defender Series is one of the more heavy-duty cases in our round-up. Unfortunately, despite the Defender Series' three layers of protection, the case is fairly frustrating to use.
Right off the bat, I found the case's relatively chintzy pieces to be difficult to open and then snap back into place—I almost ripped the skin off my fingertips trying to pry the thing open. To be fair, if you don't foresee yourself removing your iPhone from its case very often, this shouldn't be an issue you encounter very often.
Once settled, the case's built-in plastic screen protector put a distracting layer between my thumbs and the iPhone 8 Plus's screen. On Amazon, users are split between those who don't mind the plastic screen protector and those, like me, who can't stand it. I understand the screen protector's existence in theory, but I don't think the minimal protection it offers is worth altering the look and feel of the iPhone's display.
The OtterBox Defender's overall design is tough to interact with, too. The buttons are far too firm, especially when the time comes to long-press the power button. The iPhone's ringer switch is placed behind a plastic plug, and once you wrestle it open, the hole underneath is too small for your finger to easily switch the ringer on or off.
One thing the Defender Series has going for it, however, is its durability—I'm having a hard time imagining any casual drop or tumble that this case would fail to protect against. It's a big, bulky, monster of a case that might not even fit in your pocket. If you're so inclined, OtterBox includes a belt harness so you can clip it to your hip.
I'd recommend this case for folks who spend a good deal of time doing the type of activity that ordinarily requires some sort of hard hat or helmet. If you just want a moderate amount of protection, the OtterBox Defender Series is probably too much bulk. If you hike, work in construction, or just generally spend your days being outdoorsy, it'll suit you well (provided you can get over the case's design flaws).
We tested the iPhone 8 Plus version of the OtterBox Defender Series, but there's also an iPhone 8 version as well as an iPhone X version.