Review: OtterBox Reflex Series Case for iPhone 4
OtterBox is most well known for heavy-duty, nearly indestructible cases, particularly the Defender Series. But it has begun to offer simpler yet still protective options for users who want more traditional, compromised cases. The Reflex Series Cases for iPod touch 4G ($45) and iPhone 4 ($45) are examples: with stripped-down designs, they may have broader appeal than the more complex options we're otherwise used to from the company.
Both Reflex cases feature a two-piece, black polycarbonate and rubber design that splits apart right at the middle, using a small clip to stay together. Because the two devices have somewhat different shapes, the actual rubber coverage varies between them: on the iPhone 4, rubber runs along the perimeter of the case’s back, jutting out to cover the corners, volume buttons, Sleep/Wake button, and the area around the noise-canceling microphone and headphone port. The iPod touch model, on the other hand, has rubber extending all the way to the edges with the same kind of button protection. Neither device’s buttons are hindered by this coverage.
One of the most noticeable attributes of these cases is the large lip that extends over the edge of the device’s bezel. It’s much larger than those that we have seen on most models, and seems particularly pronounced on the iPod touch version due to its smaller size. The protection is appreciated, but it is worth noting that there’s a bit more bulk because of it, and we noted some screen film peeling on the iPod touch. Also noteworthy is an accessory issue: neither model fits in a Universal Dock when the bottom half is on, so you’ll need to remove it whenever docking is needed. Other than shape, the most notable difference is on the inside: the iPod touch version has a soft fabric lining, while the iPhone 4 version is pure plastic.
Aside from the OtterBox name, there’s not a lot about either model of the Reflex Series Case that stands out from the crowd. The integration of rubber and plastic adds to the level of protection, so it’s appreciated, but it’s not executed as well as the star in the category, Speck’s CandyShell Flip. We like Reflex’s button coverage and the lip; combined with the screen protector film that is included with both models, the device is well protected. So while they’re not the most exciting cases in the world, they do the job and look a lot cleaner than most OtterBox cases. The remaining issue is only the price: while this company’s super-protective cases can justify asking prices in the $45 range, simpler designs like this typically go for $30 to $35 from other companies. Given the quality of the design and materials for the price, Reflex merits a limited recommendation.