Adventure-Proof Your iPhone with Otterbox's New Waterproof, Shockproof Preserver Series

Adventure-Proof Your iPhone with Otterbox's New Waterproof, Shockproof Preserver

If you haven't already heard, earlier this year one of the world’s leading case manufacturers, Otterbox, bought out their friendly rival in the case development and production business, Lifeproof. Ever since Otterbox made this acquisition I've been eagerly awaiting the release of the first hybrid Otterbox/Lifeproof case. Well, my wait is finally over, as Otterbox has just unveiled the Preserver iPhone case for the iPhones 5/5S/5C ($89.95). With the introduction of the Preserver, Otterbox has in my opinion, created one of the best protective iPhone cases in the ever more crowded field of waterproof and rugged protection cases. If you liked the Otterbox Armor and the Lifeproof frē, or if you are in search of one of the most reliable heavy-duty iPhone cases on the market, you will simply love the new Otterbox Preserver. Read on for all the details of this stellar new protective iPhone case....

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The merging of two of my favorite case designers was big news. Otterbox already had a massive foothold in the retail market, as well as having an exceptionally rugged and durable waterproof case option for the iPhone in the Armor. Lifeproof had completely revolutionized the case market with their rugged, yet stylish and very minimalistic iPhone cases. So the joining of these two case titans was, for me, a momentous occasion. I knew from the second they made the announcement, that it would result in a new wonder case that would be greater than the sum of its company’s respective parts.

Indeed, the Preserver shines in every way. Combining the best elements of the Otterbox Armor and the Lifeproof frē, the Preserver is both highly rugged, and yet lightweight with a low profile design.

The Fine Details

The Preserver’s two-piece design is heavily padded on the inside giving it a very high level of shock absorption. It snaps together securely and with relative ease, and all of the ports and buttons are easily accessible. The headphone port is particularly convenient since it is large enough to allow for the use of a variety of headphone plugs. The case’s ports are sealed with a very flexible, very durable rubber flap with a built in O-ring to ensure waterproofness.

The audio quality is exceptional; especially considering the reputation waterproof cases have for not having the crispest or clearest sound transmission when using the mic or speaker.

Adventure-Proof Your iPhone with Otterbox's New Waterproof, Shockproof Preserver

Adventure-Proof Your iPhone with Otterbox's New Waterproof, Shockproof Preserver

The exterior of the case is heavily textured in a subtle and not overly tire-like fashion. It has a grippy, hard rubber bumper and a rigid, shatterproof back panel. The screen protector is one of the Preserver's weak points, since it scratches easily compared to glass and punctures easily compared to glass, but that's the situation with just about every waterproof case on the market that allows you to use the touchscreen with the iPhone encased. It must be a challenge to design an effective waterproof iPhone case with a more durable, tempered glass touchscreen protector, one that still allows precise touchscreen responsiveness (aka: latency). Sure, Incipio has a unique waterproof case that features a glass screen protector, but it suffers from imprecise touchscreen responsiveness, as well as relatively poor sound quality. When someone does invent a way to produce a slim waterproof case like the Preserver with a thin, yet super strong glass touchscreen protectorone that mimics the iPhone’s own touchscreen when it comes to responsiveness, that will be a good day. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we see something like this from Otterbox/Lifeproof before too long, what with companies like Corning developing thinner and stronger sheets of glass all the time.

Touch ID support

While the Preserver for iPhone 5S hasn't been officially released yet, I expect it to become available for purchase any day now. When it does come out, it will be likely the first waterproof, extreme-duty for the 5s that allows for the full use of Apple’s new Touch ID feature.

From the look of photos I've seen of the Preserver 5s its touchscreen protector will sport a slightly curved, transparent dome over the home button allowing for the iPhone to scan your fingerprint.


  • Touch ID support for iPhone 5s, the only waterproof case for the iPhone 5s that allows this.
  • Extremely slim, unobtrusive design.
  • The iPhone’s rear camera is shielded by a high quality, optical quality glass lens, allowing you to capture the most accurate photos with the least distortion from having a protective case on.
  • Available in basic colors, as well as neon brights. Not only do the color choices allow you to pick the perfect color to match your style, bright colors in particular are great because they make your iPhone more visible, which is especially useful in outdoor adventure scenarios, or messy bedrooms.
  • One of the best options for a waterproof iPhone case on the market. Also, the first waterproof and rugged case accessories for the iPhones 5s and 5c to be introduced.
  • Waterproof and drop-proof to 7 feet.

Adventure-Proof Your iPhone with Otterbox's New Waterproof, Shockproof Preserver


  • Thin membrane over the speaker seems like just the kind of thing I might accidentally puncture, fumbling around in the dark one night attempting to get the Lightning charger plugged in. It's all good as long as the charging port is covered, but take care when it’s not and the membrane is exposed!

The Verdict

Overall, I would have to say, the Preserver edges out the competition to sit atop the pack of the most elite waterproof iPhone cases. I've tested most of the rugged, heavy-duty cases available and I say this from experience, the Preserver is a superior case, well worth the money. Barring any catastrophe, it should hold up extremely well over time. Even in the event of the unforeseen catastrophe, the Preserver is designed to sacrifice itself before letting any harm come to your valuable iPhone. Based on its performance, design, and exceptional level of protection, I give the preserver 5 out of 5 stars!



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As Senior Gear Editor at iPhone Life, Dig reports on the latest and greatest accessories built for the iOS ecosystem. From rugged gear and Bluetooth speakers, to headphones, unique iDevice cases, and iOS remote controlled vehicles, Dig's articles cover a wide range of great gear for the iPhone and iPad. A core gamer for over three decades, Dig also writes iPhone Life's Game Centered column, which focuses on the best iOS games and game related news. Additionally, Dig's company, iDoc Tech Support, offers web design and administration services as well as iPhone and iPad repairs. When not at his work desk, Dig loves spending time with family and enjoying the wonders of nature. You can follow him on Twitter @idoctech