OtterBox Reflex Case Lets iPhone 5/5s Colors Show Through

The OtterBox Reflex case for the iPhone 5/5s has a soft polycarbonate outer edge, has a transparent back (in three of the four color combos) and is partially clear on the sides to let the iPhone color show through, installs with a clamshell design for easy on/off and comes with a screen protector.

This case review is another in a series that's intended to review iPhone 5s cases that let the 5s color show through. The launch article was: "5 iPhone 5s Cases That Let the Colors Shine Through."

In the Assessments section, I've used a rating scale of: unacceptable, poor, moderate, high and excellent. I defined the term "showcase factor" to indicate how much of the native color of the iPhone shows through the back and sides.


The OtterBox Reflex installs by sliding two half pieces onto the iPhone. I particularly like this technique because it doesn't stretch the case, risk scratching the iPhone and doesn't risk fumbling the iPhone as you try to pry it out of a conventional snap on case.

The tension is just right so that the fit is snug: you can't push the case on quickly because of the friction. That means that it stays on without concern. The polycarbonate is soft, so it won't scratch the iPhone.

The two pieces slid eon snugly. Seam is not easy to see on sides.

This case comes in four two-tone colors: Clear Translucent/Slate Gray (the one reviewed here); Pop Purple/Violet Purple; Glow Green Translucent/Admiral Blue; and Slate Grey/Black. The Slate Grey/Black version does not have a transparent back like the other three.

There are two sections along the sides that are transparent, about a third of the length in all, that let the color show through. The back is almost fully transparent (for the three mentioned). One thing that detracts from the back is the extensive text, logo and the seam area where the two pieces snap together. This seriously detracts from the beauty of the iPhone. Also, while the polycarbonate edging around the camera lens and flash afford protection and anti-glare, it's also a bit unsightly in my opinion.

Extensive lettering, seam clip and thick lens perimeter detract from iPhone appearance.

All ports are accessible. As with most cases, the power/sleep button abd volume buttons are protected with push-through covers. Unlike some other cases, the sleep and volume buttons require a very firm push -- too firm -- that might hurt some people's fingers. The bottom is one continuous opening, and the structure there is exceptionally sturdy.

I thought the grey color complemented the white face of my gold iPhone 5s, but I didn't care for the design of the transparent areas on the sides. They just don't have an elegant look.

Package and Contents

The Reflex comes in a sturdy case that lets the customer size up the case and even open it non-destructively. But not a lot of money is spent on the case; it's ready to throw away.

Packaging is good, but not to be saved.

Included is a conventional stick-on screen protector, cleaning cloth and scraper.

Package contents.


If you're looking for good protection and a case that lets most of the iPhone 5s color show through, but you're not worried about looks or fashion, this is a good case. Protection level is high. Grip is moderate. Beauty is low. Showcase factor is moderate. Compared to the first five cases reviewed, it is most like the X-doria Defense. The retail price is the same, but, of course, the Reflex is easier to apply and remove.

Case Closed

The things I didn't like about this case, the not so elegant design, the cluttered lettering on the back and the difficulty in pressing the iPhone buttons outweighed the protection and ease of install. My recommendation remains with the iLuv Vyneer of all the cases I've handled so far.

Product: Reflex for iPhone 5/5s

Company: OtterBox

List Price: US$34.99



Good protection, easy on and off, screen protector kit included, feels durable, moderate grip, comes in four color combos.


Not an exceptionally elegant design, extensive printing on clear back detracts from iPhone look. Very firm push required for volume and sleep buttons.