OtterBox Defender Case for iPod Touch 1st Generation Review
By: Michael Phrakaysone


Apple is still selling boatloads of iPods of all variations and sizes.  But I would say the majority of these are coming from the iPod Touch and iPhone.  These latest devices from Apple have already set a trend and all other companies have tried to follow.  Integrating Wi-Fi, iTunes and an APP store in a PDA-like enclosure have really set the Touch and iPhone above the competition.

Today will mark the first of many reviews that will introduce a dedicated iPod Review Segment that will analyze the various iPod accessories that you’ll come across from every manufacture possible.  Hopefully it’ll be something that interests you and will help you consider your next iPod accessory to purchase.  I’ve had my iPod Touch 1st generation for a while now so it’ll be the one that I use to test accessories with.

Today I will start off by introducing you to a protective casing from OtterBox.  If you’re looking for the ultimate case to protect your iPod, look no further and see if this case is for your needs.  The OtterBox Defender Case for iPod Touch 1st Generation.  OtterBox also makes the Defender Case for the new iPod Touch 2nd generation, iPhone 3GS and various cell phone models.

About OtterBox

“Mastermind and CEO Curt Richardson, with his 25 years experience in tooling and molding wanted to build a company that was distinct and structured upon innovation and evolution. In 1996, OtterBox was born.

Our cases are dedicated to all the klutzy, spontaneous, chaotic, graceless individuals who have broken a device or valuable due to their active lifestyle. Like our customers, we've been there too! From the beginning, we have protected valuables through innovation. This "innovative spirit" has allowed evolution in our product lines to safeguard the hottest technologies such as iPod's, smartphones, PDA's, Tablet PC's, laptops and other devices. We take the idea of a protective case to the next level so customers can find the ideal solution for any work environment or adventure!

Ok, rewind a bit to the name origination, we know you're wondering. On a drive to Denver, Curt and his wife Nancy were brainstorming company names. The name needed to be exciting and something people wouldn't forget. They wanted "box" to be in the name, but also wanted to incorporate "water" because the original OtterBox case line is waterproof (oceanic tidbit: an Otter's fur has a waterproof quality). Because of their fun, playful disposition "Otter" was the perfect fit! Well, the name stuck and we have to admit our logo is pretty darn cute too!

OtterBox is located in one of the greatest cities in America and no, we're not completely biased, see Money Magazine's 2006 rating for Best Places to Live. Yes, Fort Collins, Colorado is ranked #1. With easy access to the mountains for biking, hiking, running, camping, skiing, snowboarding and other activities, many of us use our cases every day. We also serve as excellent "guinea pigs" for new product testing.

We're a fun, hard working, creative bunch that enjoy a good laugh and a good beer, especially come Friday. We have in-house sales, customer service, engineering, public relations, marketing, web design, graphics and even our own warehouse.

At OtterBox, it's not one person changing the world of cases, it's a team!”

Product Description

The OtterBox for iPod® Touch Defender Series™ has a slim-fit design with unmatched protection against bump, shock, drop and scratch. The PATENTED thin membrane covers your Touch Screen, while still allowing for full usability. This design allows you to sync and charge your device right through the case via convenient Silicone plugs. Please note: This case is NOT compatible with the new 2nd Generation iPod Touch.

Product Specifications

This OtterBox for iPod® Touch Defender Series™ was designed to accommodate the 8GB, 16GB and 32GB iPod Touch 1st Generation models ONLY. Please note: This case is NOT compatible with the new 2nd Generation iPod Touch.

  • First, a clear Polycarbonate sheet with high performance hard coating that offers chemical and abrasion protection
  • Second, a hi-impact Polycarbonate skeleton
  • Lastly, a Silicone skin to absorb bump and shock

Dimensions: 6.00" x 3.20" x .71"
Weight (case only): 3.2 oz.

Notes: Case NOT protected against water. Will provide some added protection against drop, bump and dust. NOT intended for protection against water intrusion.

First Impressions

The OtterBox Defender Case I am reviewing is a demo unit so it did not come with any retail packaging.  I think reviewing demo units can be a good thing because it’ll give you an idea of how the product stands to months of people playing with it. 

The OtterBox Defender Case for the iPod Touch 1st generation comes in one color – black.  The skeleton enclosure is black and the silicone skin is black.  I think at least a choice of colors for the silicone skin would have been a welcome addition.


What is impressive with the Defender case is the layer of protection it provides to your iPod.  You basically put your iPod into the enclosure and it’ll protect your device over time.  But this is no ordinary plastic enclosure.  It’s a polycarbonate enclosure.  And if you know anything about polycarbonate, it’s that polycarbonate is one of the safest materials out there.   Polycarbonate is the material of choice manufacturers use when making safety glasses and even the lens for your prescription eye-wear.  This is because polycarbonate offers high level of impact resistance, temperature resistance and is shatter-proof.  What this means for you is that you can have the peace of mind knowing your device is being secured in one of the safest materials.  Add the fact that that a silicone skin is wrapped around the polycarbonate enclosure means that it provides a level of shock-resistance.  Also factor in that you will not need to spend money on a screen protector as the Defender case already has a clear polycarbonate screen protector that will protect your iPod’s screen through anything thrown at it, or poked at it.  The only thing the Defender case cannot do is protect your device in the water; it is not water-proof.

The demo unit arrived with an OtterBox sticker that you can stick wherever you see fit, an OtterBox catalog for press usage and the unit itself.  The first time I saw the OtterBox Defender Case I thought that it looked tough and like a tank.  It will definitely make your iPod Touch bulkier than it already is.
The actual polycarbonate skeleton has everything closed except for the recharge connector, sleep button and headphone jack.  These two ports are then closed when you place the silicone skin on the skeleton. 

To open the Defender case you have to unlock five locking positions.  These locking positions also help absorb the shock when your iPod falls. Once open, you remove the thin films covering the screen protector and the small window on the back which will show off your Apple logo if it’s still there (mine is gone so I just use it as a mini mirror).  Once the iPod is inside the Defender case, lock it up and pull the silicone skin on top and it’s ready to go.

How does it work under usage?

The OtterBox Defender Case is one of the safest cases you can have for your iPod Touch.  It really does save the day.  During the few weeks that I’ve had the Defender case, I dropped my Touch two times total from my bathroom counter to the tile floor!  And the Defender case protected my iPod Touch from any cracks or damage.  Previous to me owning such a hard case, I dropped my iPod Touch the same exact way and I have proof that a tile floor is deadly.  I have a few broken chips that broke off my iPod Touch when I had no case and the OtterBox Defender case saved the day once again.  I love the fact the OtterBox Defender case has a hard plastic ridge around the entire screen that will protect it from drops.

As for usage, the OtterBox Defender case does not get in the way of iPod usability for the most part.  The touch screen still works the same way and is just as sensitive.  However those with screen protectors on their iPod will probably want to remove their existing ones and just use the one integrated with the Defender case because you need to press harder on the screen for execution to work. 

Another small issue is that hard plastic screen protector ridge I was talking about.  This protects the screen but under usage it does make for a tight fit when you want to use the keys that are on the edges of the screen.  You have to squeeze your fingers to hit that key.  It’s a small setback but you will adjust to this.

The great thing about the integrated polycarbonate screen protector film is that it does not stick to the iPod Touch’s screen.  I know that in the past I’ve used some cases that had regular plastic protectors and under usage they were horrible to deal with because the plastic would stick and bubble on the iPod’s screen, this one on the Defender Case does not do such a thing which is positive.

About the only other downside I’ve come across with the OtterBox Defender Case is that the fact that it cannot be used with the iPod docking station I currently own.  This is because the Defender case adds a small gap between the actual iPod connector.  You can only recharge by plugging the USB cable manually instead of placing it on a docking station which can be a drag for some people.  Personally I just remove it out the case but I don’t really think that gap is necessary. 

Lint and dust are attracted to the silicone skin but there’s nothing you can do about that.

Other than that, I really enjoy the OtterBox Defender Case.


I really feel that the OtterBox Defender Case for iPod Touch 1st Generation is such a great product that you should consider it for your 2nd generation iPod Touch, iPhone 3GS and other cellular phones you may have.  I don’t think a case can get any better than this.

Pros and Cons

  • + Built like a tank
  • + Layers of protection; polycarbonate skeleton and silicone case
  • + Screen protector does not stick on device
  • + Screen works with the same sensitivity
  • + Product does not wiggle in the case and is secure
  • - Does not fit on iPod docking station; need to manually insert recharge cable
  • - Screen protector ridge makes it a little hard to punch keys on the edge of the screen
  • - Variation in silicone skin colors would be welcome


Editors Choice


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