iPhone 4S: OtterBox Impact Case is Minimalist

| Quick Look Review

The OtterBox Impact case for the iPhone 4/4S is a simple, black, elastic silicone case that stretches over the iPhone. It provides basic protection with a soft, comfortable grippy feel. It comes with a screen protector as well.

Unlike the Otterbox Commuter and the Incipio Delta reviewed previously, this case is a single layer of black silicone. As a result, the case is much more affordable. OtterBox claims that it has a “innovative inner coring that dissipates impact force away from your device.”

Otterbox Impact 1

Closeup: it’s already dirty from my rather clean desk. Or so I thought.

Using the Case

There are some positives and negatives with this case. In it’s favor is the aperture for the Apple logo and distinctive, functional openings for the headset and the ear phone/front facing camera. It works fine with an iPhone 4S or 4.

Otterbox Impact 2

L-R: case, screen protector kit

On the negative side, the home button is covered, and that provides for a rather mushy feel there. I didn’t like that. Worst off all, the naked silicone picks an enormous amount of lint or dust from your desk. (Mine must be really dirty — I have cats.) So the case looks fuzzy and speckled right away. Scotch tape is required to keep it sparkling clean. On the other hand, you get that great grippy feel.

Packaging and Documentation

The packaging is the same as the OtterBox Commuter with the exception that there’s no need for a diagram inside the box on how to insert the iPhone. It’s obvious. And the instructions for the screen protector are inside the kit. As I said in the Commuter review, this kind of packaging makes it easy to pull out and inspect the case without destroying the package.

Otterbox Impact 3

Package is easy to open for inspection.

It’s a Wrap

This case will provide modest, affordable protection. It looks pretty good when it’s clean and awful after it’s picked up some debris. I don’t know if there’s any solution to that except to lean towards cases with harder material, and that’s precisely the advantage of the best dual layer cases.

Finally, I didn’t like the home button being covered. That’s a new experience for me, I haven’t seen that before in a case, and the feel wasn’t all that great.

You get basic, affordable protection, but if you love clean, stylish and smooth, I’d suggest looking at a different kind (or color) of case because of the negatives I’ve mentioned.

Product: Impact for iPhone 4/4S

Company: OtterBox

List Price: US$19.95



Affordable, basic protection. Aperture for Apple logo, well designed.


Home button covered resulting in mushy feel, picks up lint/dirt too easily.

Popular TMO Stories



(Mine must be really dirty ? I have cats.) So the case looks fuzzy and speckled right away. Scotch tape is required to keep it sparkling clean.

Not fair to blame the Cats. (They’re people too you know)

The easiest way to “de-fur” those types of cases is running water.
Just remove from the iDevice (Very important that) and rinse. Has always worked for me…. YMMV


clean your freaking house you losers.  that’s completely gross that it took a few seconds to find that much filth on your desk.  i’m scared to know what’s on your floors.


Better to have a few hairs round than to be born in a barn. Well, it takes all kinds I guess. I figure the reason for boors is that they must have been important for the survival of our species back in cave man times.

I prefer soft to hard cases and this looks ideal, nix the home button problem. Yup, they should have had a cutout, maybe oval shaped instead. There’s always Ye Old X-Acto knife for the dexterous.

John Martellaro

mhikl - you might want to look at the review of the Speck PixelSkin that I published on Nov 7th.

Gin Miley

Will you do a review on the Griffin Protector for iPhone 4 and 4s?

John Martellaro

Gin: We had to draw the line somewhere, so we’re generally done with the iPhone 4/4S case reviews.  For a summary of what we did, see:


Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account