Otterbox Defender vs Commuter Comparison for Note 2 *with pics*Tips

Last Updated:

  1. g2manhou

    g2manhou Active Member

    I bought the Commuter online and got it last week. I stopped by the Sprint store and thought I'd give the Defender a shot. Here's my comparison and a couple of pics.

    First off, the Defender is definitely more bulky than the Commuter.


    Both add protection to the USB and headphone jack ports.



    The Defender, as it's always been, is a hard shell with a rubber/silicone glove on the outside. The Commuter is the opposite, a sillicone glove with a hard shell on the outside.

    The Defender comes with a belt clip, the Commuter does not.

    The Defender comes with a built-in screen protector on the hard shell.

    The Commuter comes with a regular screen protector you can buy a pack of from anywhere.

    Biggest complaints from either one?

    The Defender is definitely bulky, and that can be a huge turnoff for many of you, especially when not only is it tight inside your pocket with the sheer size of it, but the rubbery outside layer will pull your pocket inside out. But if you've ever had a Defender case on anything, you knew that already.

    Another complain about the Defender--and this just plain sucks--is the built-in screen protector doesn't necessarily hug the screen, but hovers over the phone's screen throughout the majority of it. The best thing I can compare it to is if you've ever been to an office where the copier has a touchscreen there's always a clear film that goes over the LCD, so you have to make an effort and actually push and not just touch the screen to make a selection.

    Sorry for the bad picture quality, but you can somewhat make out what I'm talking about here. The built-in screen protector has a cut-out for the home button, and you can see how the screen protector is lifted:


    Here it is with me pushing the screen protector down with the S Pen:


    You do have to make a slight effort to touch apps/icons or whatever compared to when you have no screen protector on or even the kind that sticks on the the screen. It's more noticeable towards the middle of the screen.

    As far as protection goes, the Commuter feels like it protects just as good as the Defender, even if it's not as bulky or doesn't have a built-in screen protector. It feels just as sturdy as the Defender, and if I could compare the Commuter to anything else, I'd compare it to a Ballistic case. The raised lip would protect the phone without a built-in screen protector. You could set it down face down with no problems at all.

    I've yet to drop my phone with or without a case, and I'm not going to do it for testing purposes either. I work in a very, very dusty industrial setting (steel boots and all) and I honestly feel just as safe with the Commuter case as I do with the Defender.

    But if you want to see a similar comparison as far as protection goes, check this out. The Galaxy S3 is built pretty much the same as the Note 2, if not, even more fragile. Here's a drop test someone did with the S3 using both the Defender and the Commuter:
    (Fast forward to 2:03)
    Otter Box Galaxy S3 Drop Test - Defender vs Commuter - YouTube

    Here are pics of the Note 2 in the Commuter as requested earlier:



    Using Spigen screen protector. Didn't wipe it down, but when it's clean it is very, very clear and responsive. Highly recommend it.



    Personally, I'm taking the Defender case back to the store and staying with the Commuter. But if you're paranoid and want to not only have the protection but *feel* it, by all means, the Defender case is for you. Or even if you want a belt clip.

    P.S. The volume buttons are much harder to press on the Defender than they are on the Commuter. Power button is easy on both though.

    Also, if you plan on using it with a vehicle mount, both cases work with the iOttie, but with the defender you really have to squeeze it in. It doesn't latch on completely and you may run the risk of it falling out if you hit a pothole, but good thing it's in a defender anyway.

    jesteranime, reeko43, mntom and 15 others like this.
  2. damewolf13

    damewolf13 live~laugh~love VIP Member

    I agree with you, in that much bulk (Defender case) would be too much for me.
    I would prefer the Commuter case hands down.
  3. NeuDroid

    NeuDroid Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the pictures! If only that commuter case had a built in kickstand I'd jump all over it.
    damewolf13 likes this.

    MISS DIVA Well-Known Member

    Excellent review and photos -

    Does the silicone on the Commuter case , fit tightly to the phone before you put the plastic outer shell on?

    MISS DIVA Well-Known Member

    Holy crap, I just watched the youtube video you posted

    The man acutually throws his phone in the air and from a window !!!!!

    Now thats what I call a review - he has great legs which was an added bonus to watching his video:D:D:D
  6. Zatx

    Zatx Well-Known Member

    Anyone have a link to where the commuter can be bought other than otterbox website?
  7. womb raider

    womb raider Well-Known Member

    They have them on the Amazon UK site, might be worth trying on
  8. PiscesCloud

    PiscesCloud Well-Known Member

    I bought the Commuter version from MobileFun for my son yesterday – I only wish I had seen this excellent comparison beforehand. Choosing a case for someone else is particularly difficult because one does not know how much extra bulk they would trade for extra protection. Being uncertain about that I was attracted to MobileFun because their ’no quibble’ returns policy has been extended ie:-

    “At Mobile Fun we have every confidence that you will be delighted with your purchase, but what happens if you buy a Christmas present early and for whatever reason it turns out on Christmas Day that you need to return it?

    Well don't worry, you can organise your Christmas shopping with Mobile Fun a bit earlier this year with the secure knowledge that we are offering an Extended Returns Policy.

    We’ve specially extended our returns period for the Christmas season. Items purchased from and dispatched during the period from November 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 inclusive may be returned at any time before midnight on January 31, 2013. Our returns policy will revert to the standard 30-day period for items purchased after December 31, 2012.”
  9. g2manhou

    g2manhou Active Member

    It fits snug, but not to the point where you would carry it that way without the hard shell.
    MISS DIVA likes this.
  10. keyan333

    keyan333 Well-Known Member

    Hi please can you put more pictures of the commuter up
    And If you have a gray note 2 can you post pictures of it on please?

    Also is it easy to take on and off? Can it be taken off and put back on in let's say 15 seconds
  11. g2manhou

    g2manhou Active Member

    Sure thing, can do that this afternoon or evening. Someone posted pictures of theirs earlier in the week on these forums. Not sure if he had the gray note 2 though.
  12. h1r0ll3r

    h1r0ll3r Well-Known Member

    Excellent review. I think I'll still wait for the Defender as I've had one for pretty much every phone I've owned in the past several years. The first thing I always do with the Defender is punch out the built-in screen protector. You would think after a couple years they'd get it right but, alas, this is not the case. Once removed then the Defender is "perfect" for me. Though, after seeing this review, I am half tempted to give the Commuter a try.
  13. ren857

    ren857 Well-Known Member

    I'm still getting the Defender. Hahaha

    The phone is big anyway. I really wanted to use that screen protector though so I hope it's not too bad.
  14. ne0lyfeism

    ne0lyfeism Well-Known Member

    The review by the OP plus the pics validate my opinion that Otterbox cases are just plain ugly and bulky. I'll be sticking with my Mercury case.
  15. g2manhou

    g2manhou Active Member

    It's a pretty weak screen protector. Haven't had it more than 24 hours and already a scratch. I've read that removing the screen protector won't void the warranty. Don't know how true that is.
  16. TTNuge

    TTNuge Member

    Thanks for the review. I currently own the Commuter as well as the Seido Active. The Defender is on order and I expect it within the next day or two. For me a belt clip is a must which is why I am not using my Commuter case even though I like it. The Seido Active seems decent, I like the built in kick stand, the belt clip works well, it's just not an Otterbox so the trust level isn't there.

    I also really like the rubber cover around the Defender series as it should keep my phone from sliding off my desk. I actually cracked the screen on my Note2 four days after getting it when I turned around in my chair while wearing earphones, the phone slid off the desk and hit right on one of the legs of my office chair. It was unprotected at the time as there were very few case options available then. But still, with the rubber case of the Defender I know I would have felt some resistance and it wouldn't have slid so easily. The Commuter slides too easily for me, the Active is a bit better but still not where I'd like it to be.

    I will also be punching out the built in screen protector on my Defender and sticking with my SGP Ultra Oleophobic screen protector. I came from an iPhone 4 where I put a Zagg on it and a Defender case the day I bought it and sold it just last month without a scratch or mark on the phone, was in brand new condition and got a great price for it. Hopefully this combo will keep my replaced Note 2 in the same condition for the next 2 years.
  17. keyan333

    keyan333 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, looking forward to them! :)
  18. dave1812

    dave1812 Well-Known Member

    You just saved me $60.
  19. roy5000x2

    roy5000x2 Well-Known Member

    Reaffirms my choice of wanting to get a commuter case.

    Now I just need to find a vendor that sells them in the States! I'm not going to trust Amazon sellers that just created their accounts....
  20. donas

    donas Well-Known Member

    I got the Defender's going back tomorrow. The power button won't depress at all in the case, can't turn on or off while in the Defender.
  21. g2manhou

    g2manhou Active Member

    How was the screen protector on yours? Was it raised or did it hug the screen?
  22. fdnj48

    fdnj48 Well-Known Member

    I used the Commuter on my S3 and I loved it but I'm weary about getting one for the N2 cuz of how big it already is. Would you say this case pushed it over the top to being too big?
  23. donas

    donas Well-Known Member

    It is very slightly raised off of the screen, just enough there is a little "click" sound when touching the screen..I guess it's just the plastic smacking the screen.

    I have had Defender cases on numerous phones, so I am very familiar with how they should function. This one was released a little early in my opinion.
  24. g2manhou

    g2manhou Active Member

    Agreed. I've played with some friends' iPhones, and none of their Defender cases were ever like this.
  25. g2manhou

    g2manhou Active Member

    The Commuter does add bulk, just like the Commuter added to the S3, but it's not as bulky as the Defender. The Defender is not THAT much bulkier, but the huge advantage of the Commuter is that the outside is the hard shell, whereas the Defender the outside is the rubbery glove. So the Commuter is much, much easier to slip in and out of your pocket.

    If you can fit your Note 2 naked in your pocket, then you can fit it with the Commuter, unless you're wearing skinny jeans or something really tight.

Share This Page