Otterbox recently launched a case for Nokia E71, which got us interested. After the CES 2010 ended, we received the "Otterbox Defender case for Nokia E71". Defender comes packed in a transparent plastic shield showing what is in the box.

Otterbox recently re-did their packaging and made it more retail friendly, yet it didn't ventured into the complicated locking mechanism
Otterbox recently re-did their packaging and made it more retail friendly, yet it didn’t ventured into the complicated seals

It is quite easy to open, as Otterbox didn’t pulled any ridiculous transport protection such as the now usual plastic welding on the product packaging itself. We don’t like plastic welding since you can easily cut yourself on very sharp residue.

After we opened the box, we took the Defender out. First feeling of the case is that the texture of the case is very smooth. It reminds us of ground leather – naturally, it still is rubber which serves to absorb shocks and to protect phone during the falls. Otterbox claims it will protect the device even if it falls from a higher level. Removing the rubber covers it remains plastic housing that is made of solid plastic.

Otterbox Defender for Nokia E71 is consisted out of five parts: front and rear plastic cover, keyboard protection, rubber housing and a belt grip
Otterbox Defender for Nokia E71 is consisted out of five parts: front and rear plastic cover, keyboard protection, rubber housing and a belt grip

Plastic housing separates into two parts which are put upon during the assembly on the front and back of the mobile phone. Separation of the two plastic parts we come to the plastic / rubber covers that are placed over the keyboard to protect it from damage, peeling, and dust.

Rear side of the Defender case features a nice embossed Otterbox logoWe did not experience any major problems with assembling the Defender. First, we put the keyboard cover that must be stretched good and wrinkle free, so when you put the plastic case on – you do not leave any humps over the keyboard. Unfortunately, that happened to us – we had to repeat the process by removing the rubber protecting sleeve, then separating the plastic case, and repeating the process.

After successfully repeated tightening of the keyboard protection wrap and putting the cover over the keyboard, we placed the two parts of the plastic casing on a front and back of the phone and pressed them until we heard the click sound. As expected, the plastic part that goes across the front of the phone has a built-in thin plastic film placed adjacent to the cell phone screen.

As a small note, we would recommend that before you close the phone, it is best to clean the screen from any remaining dirt and dust – if you don’t do so, they may remain trapped under the thin plastic foil. After all, the mobile phone was secured inside the thick plastic housing and the time came to put over the rubber, which protects from bumps and falls. Rubber has holes in necessary places i.e. the possibility to have normal access to all slots in the phone – headphones, battery charging, memory card.

Rubber has also protrusions that cover the buttons placed on the side of cell phone, so that they can be used without any problems. On the back of the rubber Otterbox placed an opening for the camera. In addition to a smooth texture on the back side of the rubber covers is the imprinted "Otterbox" logo which very well fits into the whole structure. We have to say that at a second look, the design of the enclosure tends to grown on you and it isn’t as ugly as a fake leather case for the mobile phone. Now, this is not all – Otterbox Defender also ships with a plastic holder for the case itself, featuring a firm plastic hook for belt or trousers – if you want, you can unhook the case from the trousers and yet, while the phone is inside that holder, it is protected from all sides.

Side by side, Nokia E71 and E71 protected by Otterbox Defender case
Side by side, plain vanilla Nokia E71 and E71 protected by the Otterbox Defender case

Judging only by appearance, housing is robust and the mobile phone feels securely locked. The Defender isn’t small, even though this version is smaller appearance and size than the versions for larger phones such as BlackBerry Bold. The model is as big as a small women’s purse, but if you want better protection for your expensive phone, Otterbox Defender offers one of the best protection on the market. Especially if you are clumsy like me and constantly dropping mobile on the floor or the nature of your job is such that this case seems like the right kind of protection from dirt, dust, damage, strokes and falls.

Just after I wrote this my mobile slipped from my hand and fell on the laminate floor from about three feet and survived without a scratch. In any case [pun intended], Otterbox again did a solid job. The only thing left on our wish list for Otterbox is – water resistance.