While I'm waiting for my iPhone 4S to come in, I'm agonizing over what kind of case to get. I've been quite well served by my Otterbox Defender for my old 3GS; the phone has bitten the dust once or twice but the phone doesn't have a single scratch to show for it.

I'm concerned, however, about the pictures of the case on Otterbox's website. It looks like the entire earpiece, perhaps along with the entire camera lens area, are exposed to the air. Someone asked about this on that page's Q&A section, and that's the only question so far that's been ignored.

I'm worried that dust and dirt are going to be able to get inside the case and stay trapped there, possibly damaging the device and hurting its later resale value more than if I just use a different, less protective case altogether. Of course, nothing hurts a device's resale value more than being dropped and broken.

So I ask you wonderful people: Do any of you have experience with this latest Otterbox Defender? Is the speaker or the camera lens actually exposed to the air, or is there some protection there that I can't tell from the pictures? Are there any other considerations I should make before making my decision?

2 Answers 2


I own the Otterbox Defender Case for the iPhone 4S. The speaker for the earpiece, the speakers on the bottom and the camera lens (but not flash) are exposed to air. The Defender offers some protection because the thickness of the case creates a cavity roughly 3mm deep around the exposed speakers. These cavities DO collect dust.

When I opened my case to answer this question I found only a very slight amount of dust infiltration within a very close vicinity of the openings "exposed to air". I do not believe this dust will in any way damage the phone or mar the finnish (because the slight dust inside was more like "fuzz" than "grit") but I have only had my case for a few weeks. I have a screen protector on the front of my phone and on the back too, with the Defender case on top of that.

The biggest annoyance for me with this case is that dust collects in the "protective" cavity for the camera lens and is not easy to clean on-the-go (you need something like a q-tip or rolled piece of tissue) which makes my HD camera take blurry pictures.

I would recomend Otterbox include a silicone cover for the camera lens like they have included for the charge port, headphone port and silent button -OR- re-design the shape of the cavity to collect less dust or allow the user to wipe the lens with a finger or cloth to clear dust.


Otterbox defender for galaxy s5 is worthless with the camera lens completely exposed to all job hazards of a construction site. Wasted money on otterbox. Instead ended up using $5.00 fake leather case i bought off a street vendor for the last few years...

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