Otterbox’s latest case, the Otterbox MySymmetry is only semi-rugged, but it’s more of a play for the style crowd anyway.
The issue of creating a really heavy duty protective case that actually looks good is one that nobody’s really cracked as yet; for my money the closest thing you can get to a stylish actual-IP-rated case would be one of Lifeproof’s Nuud cases. Otterbox has its own range of heavy duty cases, but despite the common branding the Otterbox MySymmetry isn’t a heavy duty case, but more of a mid-range play.
The case itself is comprised of a thick rubber bumper with a clear plastic back into which you fit a variety of pre-designed inserts to create a different “look” for your phone depending on your mood or fashion tastes. Only the volume buttons are actually covered by the case, giving easy access to the mute switch, headphone jack and lightning port for everyday use.
Otterbox provided me with a custom insert based on my love of retro video games (and, from the look of it, the belief that I have a vaudeville-style villain’s moustache), but you could design your own with relatively little ease, or buy some of Otterbox’s predesigned backs, which Otterbox appears to sell online for $9.99 for a pack of three.
The idea of putting something against a clear back to create a new style isn’t exactly a unique idea, given that there are numerous other cases with clear backs that you could apply the idea to, but it does give the Otterbox MySymmetry case a nice degree of fashion personalisation.
As with any protective case, you’re giving up the thin and light nature of your phone in return for a degree of protection. The Otterbox MySymmetry is a relatively bulky case, measuring in at around 145x74x12mm when installed on an iPhone 6. Your phone won’t feel particularly thin any more, but that’s true of most protective cases.
Otterbox sells the Otterbox MySymmetry in a variety of colours, and you’d want to ensure that the colour matched your own preferences. My very first observation of the Otterbox MySymmetry when it was snapped onto an iPhone 6 was that it almost instantly gave it the visual look of the blue iPhone 5c. That’s not going to suit every taste.
In protection terms, the Otterbox MySymmetry is only a mid-range protector. There’s no sign of IP ratings or similar to ensure that your phone is protected against water or dust ingress. Instead, it’s effectively a thick rubber bumper and back to protect against drops. I don’t quite have the budget to potentially sacrifice a few dozen smartphones in order to gauge exactly how far you could push the Otterbox MySymmetry. At a more casual level, it’s survived a few genuinely accidental drops from my desk without harm to either the case or (more critically) the phone itself.
The Otterbox MySymmetry case is available for Apple iPhone 5, 5s, 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6 with an RRP of $39.95. That’s decent for a mid-range protective case, although obviously within those phone types you’ve got a lot of choice.