I’ve had my HTC EVO 3D for a bit over a week now and have had more than enough time to inadvertently expose it to the harsh conditions of the world. The device’s build quality seems great, but you’ll quickly notice how fragile the coating is atop the aluminum chassis. One quick ding or drop can scar it for life. It happened to me and all I dropped on it was a fork from a few mere inches away, the result of which you can see in the image directly below.
Highly upset about it, I opted to buy the Otterbox Defender case to protect it from further damage. The Otterbox Defender series is one of great quality. Although they bulk devices up a good chunk, it’s built to last and protects every inch of your device save for the obvious needs to uncover the speaker grill, external speaker, microphones and the front-facing camera. The HTC EVO 3D’s version is no different.
It keeps the dual-cameras recessed, making sure you never scratch the camera glass as long as it’s encased by the Defender. All buttons and external ports are closed, with the microphones and speaker grill being the only exposed areas aside those mentioned above. Flaps cover the microUSB/MHL port, the 3.5mm headphone jack and the camera’s 2D/3D toggle switch.
One of the most important parts of the phone, the display, is fully protected by a plastic covering, acting as a screen protector that can potentially last you for years. I can barely tell the difference as responsiveness and clarity are just as good as without the shield. My finger runs over it smoothly unlike some screen protectors and it’s extremely easy to clean. The only negative is how recessed the case makes the display.
It becomes kind of hard to type on the edges of the screen or to use the “search” and “home” buttons that sit on the right and left edges of the phone, respectively. I find this sort of recession overkill considering the protective covering over the face of the device, but I’m sure they designed it this way for a reason.
The buttons over the camera shutter button, volume rockers and power button are easy to press. It may take a bit more force to handle that two-stage shutter button properly, but you can still clearly feel the difference between focus level and shutter level.
Assembly, Disassembly, Build Quality and Style
There are four parts to the case – the screen protector mentioned above, two pieces of the “hi-impact” polycarbonate shell that goes over the phone and the very high-quality silicon that covers that shell. The hard shell is easy to assemble and hard to disassemble. This may be frustrating for your rooters who need to do frequent battery pulls, but it’s good news if you drop your phone a lot – it won’t be breaking off that easily.
The shell over it not only adds style, but a grippy surface to ensure you don’t drop it in the first place. Otterbox also claims it absorbs impact. It’s not perfect, however. The silicon cover can sometimes be hard to reapply, and even with normal use some corners or sides of it can separate from the polycarbonate case. It usually doesn’t play nice when trying to get it back into place, either. I expected more from Otterbox in this area, but have only had this problem twice to date.
The case makes the phone extremely bulky. As the phone itself is already quite thick, you’ll often feel like you’re holding a brick and your friends might often mistake your phone for one. It really comes down to style vs maximum protection, in which case you may want to take a look at the Otterbox Commuter case and compare the two.
I’ve dropped the phone once on purpose using the Defender case from about 5 feet high and, sure enough, it defended the EVO 3D. I’m not in the business of dropping my phone a lot, but I feel confident that if something horrible were to happen it would be in a lot better shape than if I didn’t have the case. That’s not to say I’d expect it to survive being run over by a car, but it probably could.
It looks good in doing its job, as well, if you don’t mind your phone looking like a piece of one of the great pyramids. For $50, I highly recommend buying this case to protect the investment made on the phone itself, especially if you’re a clumsy person like myself. It may be overkill for some folks, in which case the Otterbox Commuter or some other case my be a better, and better looking, fit. It comes with a one year inclusive warranty, too, so if the silicon material gets stretched out over time or if the polycarbonate shell somehow gets cracked, you’re covered. Somehow, I don’t see that happening before the one-year warranty is up.