If Otterbox were to make an Ironman case, it could be based on its Armor Series available for the Samsung Galaxy S3, iPhone 5 and iPhone 4/4S.
Let's get the negatives out the way. Cases that promise this level of protection do not come cheaply. Nor are they petite. Those considering a rugged accessory of this caliber however are likely prepared to accept those idiosyncrasies. Maybe even embrace them.
Twin beefy metal latches secure the two pieces of reinforced plastic that comprise the case. The inside is lined with a silicon cushion for shock absorption.
It looks impressive, but what is it like to live with?
Inside the case, the device is completely encapsulated, but the headphone and changing ports are accessible via watertight rubber flaps. The buttons are also covered and do require some extra effort.
The display stills looks great beneath screen protector and touchscreen functionality remains in tact.
While larger than some other cases that promise similar protection, installation and removal with the Armor Series is much easier than others I've seen. The latches require firm pressure, but even so your phone can be in and out of the case in seconds.
How strong is it, really?
Otterbox claims its Armor Series can withstand up to a depth of 6.6 feet of water for 30 minutes, a drop of 10 feet onto concrete, and two tons of crushing pressure.
I have to be honest. I was nervous about testing this one. The good folks at AT&T sent me the $99 Otterbox Armor Series Case to evaluate, but not a phone. Sure I could have crammed a sponge or maybe a damaged device in there. No, I decided to use my very own phone, but I procrastinated - a long time. Sorry AT&T.
I stalled by pondering clever ways to torture the case. Drop tests are tired. So I finally settled on a straightforward method. I ran over my smartphone with my old Volvo 740 which weighs a little over 3,000 pounds - be it spread over four wheels - twice.
While inching the car forward I winced at the popping and cracking sounds beneath, but the case protected the phone as Otterbox claimed. There wasn't a scratch on the device. The case took some deep gouges from being compressed into the asphalt, but otherwise came out very well. It is still snaps together well and is still watertight.
Should you get it? The Armor Series is overkill for most folks, but if you need a rugged case, this Otterbox is an easy recommendation. While bulkier than the competition, it is much easier to get your phone in and out.