Otter + Pop Defender Series iPhone XR case review

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REVIEW – With every new generation of the iPhone, the phones seem to get thinner and harder to hold.  I always add a case to my phone, and that adds the protection and extra grip I need.  My husband also uses a case for protection, but he wanted something else that could further improve the grip-ability of his new iPhone XR.

I had previously seen PopSockets, little cone-shaped grips that adhere to the back of your phone with suction, that pop open to give you something to hold onto to while you use your phone and collapse flat when you have your phone in your pocket or bag.  Those attachable grips interested Butch, but learning about PopSocket’s newest venture with OtterBox really caught his attention.

What is it?

The Otter + Pop Defender Series combines a strong, protective OtterBox case with the security of the PopSocket PopGrip (also called the PopTop, which we’ll use in this review).  The grip “screws” into the case, so you never have to worry that the PopTop grip will accidentally detach from the phone.  And the PopTop is changeable and available in a variety of designs, so you can create just the perfect look for your iPhone (or Samsung Galaxy).

Hardware specs

Otter + Pop Defender Series cases are available in Black, Winter Shade (teal blue), and Fall Blossom (berry red).  The included PopTop matches the color of the case in the standard configuration, but you can choose to customize your case with an additional, decorative PopTop for only $8.00 extra.

I requested the black case, and I received an extra PopTop with a black/white marble design.

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The above image shows the back of the Otter + Pop Defender case with the color-matched PopTop installed.

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The Otter + Pop case has a hard, protective polycarbonate inner shell that is surrounded with a synthetic rubber outer case.  The rubber outer shell snaps into the polycarbonate shell for security and protection.

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You’ll need to separate the inner and outer pieces to insert your phone.  Notice that the polycarbonate shell is lined to protect the back of your phone.

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Here’s the back of the polycarbonate shell with the original PopTop still attached.

Design and features

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The Otter + Pop case does not have an integrated screen cover.  It does allow room for the glass screen protector that Butch already had installed on his iPhone XR.

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The synthetic rubber outer shell covers the power and volume buttons completely.  You operate these buttons by pressing through the rubber shell.  The XR’s mute switch is accessible through a rubber flap that snaps securely closed when you don’t need to access the mute switch.

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The iPhone’s back camera and the speakers are left uncovered.

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Here’s the decorative PopTop I received.  The marble design adds a little pizzazz the black OtterBox case.  There’s also a “full moon” PopTop that I think would be appreciated by amateur astronomers, like my husband.

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The back of the PopTop reveals the screw-in assembly that secures the PopTop to the back of the OtterBox.  The concentric circles are a rubbery material that is shown here compressed flat for storage but will extend out to form the grip.

The iPhone XR can be wirelessly charged, and OtterBox says the Defender Series cases are compatible with Qi wireless chargers, but they warn that you may need to remove the PopTop before charging.  I didn’t get to test this out, because we don’t use wireless charging for our iPhone XRs.


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Here’s the PopTop extended out from the back of the Defender case.

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When extended, you can use it as a horizontal stand for the iPhone.  It’s surprisingly stable, considering how big and heavy the cased iPhone XR is.

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When you’re talking on the phone or interacting with the screen, slip a couple of fingers under and around the PopTop to improve your grip on the phone.  Butch especially likes the security of this grip because he paces around a lot while he talks on the phone.

What I like

  • OtterBox cases are known for their protection for your expensive devices.
  • PopSocket’s PopTop adds further protection because it improves your grip on your expensive phone.
  • You can customize your Otter + Pop Defender series case by changing out the PopTop.

What I’d change

  • Nothing

Final thoughts

Butch loved the increased security with the sturdy, protective Defender case.  He liked using the PopTop grip, and he said it really did feel like he had a better hold on his iPhone XR when using the PopTop.  He said the Otter + Pop Defender Series case did add significant weight and bulk to his phone, as you would expect.  He found that the bigger size and the somewhat “grippy” texture of the rubber outer shell made it more difficult to quickly get the phone in and out of his pockets.

Price: $69.95 for the Otter + Pop Defender Series case for iPhone XR, or $77.95 for the customizable version.
Where to buy: OtterBox, Target, and Verizon
Source: The sample of this product was provided by OtterBox

2 thoughts on “Otter + Pop Defender Series iPhone XR case review”

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  2. Can you still wirelessly charge your phone with that case on? I wonder because the pop socket adds a lot of extra layers in that section of the phone.

    1. I mentioned in the review that I don’t own a wireless charging base, so I couldn’t test it. However, OtterBox says the case allows wireless charging, but you may need to remove the PopTop first.

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