The first thing that I noticed about the OtterBox Preserver case for the Samsung Galaxy S 4 is that the size difference between it and the defender case is negligible. Which is great if you’re upgrading, however the cons in moving up are; the back is plastic rather than the grippy rubber of it’s little brother, the back isn’t curved, so it may feel a bit awkward at first, and it doesn’t come with the incredibly stylish belt clip.

In comparison to other waterproof cases, the plugs for the headphone and charging port covers are really nice and easy to open and close, but not to the point of them popping open on their own. However, I did notice that the foam covering the inside of the charging port cover sticks up a little too high, when inserting the device into the case you’ll want to put the bottom in first or you risk ripping that foam off.

When you’re securing the back onto the case, you’ll notice a lot of resistance, there’s a nice gasket going around the inner edge of the back plate. All of the holes are covered by reassuring plastic covers attached by what appears to be more rubber gaskets. The speaker covers are mesh on both inside and outside, presumably with some sort of black magic trapped in between to prevent moisture from getting through.

Opening the case will be frustrating at first, it will make you want a tiny little crowbar you might even be worried that you’re going to damage the case, but once one of the clasps releases, it’s fairly easy to liberate the phone without worrying about accidentally throwing it across the room.

The volume and power buttons are just as stiff as you’d expect from the OtterBox brand, although the home button isn’t quite as hard to depress.

The one thing I was worried about with the size and fortitude of the case was maintaining the functionality of the IR blaster, but it actually seems to work better and more consistently than with any of the other cases I’ve used. As far as the functionality you might expect to be hindered, for the most part, the device behaves the way you’d expect. Speaker and mic during phone calls are acceptable although the earpiece buzzes on low tones. The camera doesn’t seem to be impeded at all, they did the right thing separating the sensor and flash windows. The only one of the port or sensor covers that doesn’t quite live up to expectations is the proximity sensor, it seems to always think your face is next to the device. Literally the moment you tap “call” or “answer” the screen shuts off leaving you to fiddle with your home key to startle the device awake if you need to utilize the display while on a call.

All-in-all, if you’re in need of a waterproof case, and you don’t mind the size of the OtterBox Defender series, At an MSRP of $89.99 this is a totally viable option. It doesn’t offer the color customization options you’ve come to expect from the defender series as the case is only 2 pieces, but to have complete protection is a give and take.

The good:

  • The size is comparable to their Defender series
  • Strong build quality
  • Very small amount of functionality lost
  • The price, Sub $100 to protect your $600 phone

The Bad

  • The proximity sensor issue might be a deal-breaker for some
  • Slight sound distortion from earpiece speaker
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  1. Thank you for your review! You have given alot of information that truely will help in my desicion to purchace this otter box! Thank you!
    (happy customer)

  2. I like this perserver series from Otterbox. Got a Sumsung with this. For my iPhone, better to go with an external battery charger (using RavPower 14000mAh).

  3. Tried the speakerphone with the case?
    You might find alot of echo and feedback issues. (*#0283# to test)
    For me the case rendered the speakerphone useless.

    • Open the bottom your case ( where you insert your charger) I have found this to eliminate that problem. Good luck

  4. the mesh screens keep falling off. I’ve told Otter Box, sent it back and received the replacement guaranteed by their warrantee only to have the same issue within days. I’m on my seventh replacement now. the product quality is poor, Otter box doesn’t seem to care about improving it, and they have stopped standing behind their warrantee.
    don’t waste your time or money with this case.

  5. Thks for this review, but it’s funny that you did not test the waterproof capability for this case that is supposed to preserve the S4 down to 2m … and which is its major interest.

  6. The case is not fit for purpose as it distorts the mouthpiece to the point no one can hear me properly. NO I do not want to leave the bottom of the case half open…that misses the point.

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