Review: OtterBox Symmetry Series for iPhone 5/5s
Symmetry Series ($40-$45) is OtterBox's latest case for iPhone 5/5s, featuring a one-piece, co-molded plastic and rubber design. It's one of the slimmest cases in the company's lineup of heavy-duty protectors, and clearly a strike at Speck's CandyShell series. Coming in solid colors for $40, or with a graphic design for a $5 premium, the case snaps around the iPhone's body, providing solid protection given the style. This includes Sleep/Wake and volume button coverage, plus a significant lip around the display.
Like other co-molded cases, Symmetry Series is rubber on the inside and plastic on the outside. Although it’s not difficult to install, we did find the phone catching on the case’s bottom edge every time we put it on. It takes just a few seconds of tugging to get everything properly in place, and even if you don’t adjust it, the case still works the same way; it’s just a visual issue. Although we’ve never had serious drop concerns while using CandyShell cases, Symmetry Series makes us feel even more confident with its level of protection. The two cases are roughly the same size, but this one really feels like a member of the OtterBox family. It doesn’t offer any extra coverage against water or dust, but the case’s slightly textured plastic back feels sturdy, and the raised rubber lip adds to our level of confidence. Button protection is right where it should be, with the right level of tactility.
Accessory compatibility is only a slight issue with this case. It won’t work with most Lightning docks, but that’s more Apple’s fault than OtterBox’s, because of the former’s strict licensing regulations. Small to medium Lightning plugs will fit, but larger Lightning plugs, such as Amazon’s AmazonBasics cable, are too large. However, the combined headphone port and microphone hole does leave enough room for wide and even angled plugs. A third opening reveals the speaker.
While the price is a bit higher than it should be, Symmetry Series is a very good everyday case for iPhone users, and is worthy of a strong general recommendation. It holds its own against CandyShell in protection and aesthetics, with the added benefit of a textured plastic that won’t show scratches as readily as Speck’s case does. OtterBox is likely to be very successful with this case regardless, but if it can get the price down a few dollars, we’d be very happy with it.