Otterbox Defender versus ECL Eagle Case Comparison

Eagle Case LineMy recent purchase of a new Apple iPhone 6s Plus means I’m out $750.  Readers of this site know that I will not carry a phone without a good quality case.  I have been a proponent of Otterbox for many years but decided to look at something different.  Hence, my decision to take a closer look at the ECL Eagle Case for Apple iPhone 6S Plus.  The photo that accompanies this article is of an ECL Eagle Case without the belt clip.  Looks a lot like an Otterbox Defender for Apple iPhone 6s Plus.  Let’s take a closer look under the hood.

Everyone has heard of Otterbox.  They make great cases for smartphones.  I have used the Otterbox Defender line of cases for many years and they have saved me thousands of dollars in potential phone replacements (I drop my phone a lot).  In my opinion, it’s one of the best cases on the market.  But it comes at a premium price.

The Eagle Case is marketed by a company called ECL USA / Eagle Case Line.  Upon initial inspection, the case looks a lot like an Otterbox Defender.  A real lot.  The Eagle Case even has the same characteristic as the Otterbox in terms of difficulty removing the skin from the plastic case.  This is documented in a recent article explaining how to get the case off.

So why would you choose the Eagle Case versus the Otterbox?  Cost.  It’s much less than an Otterbox Defender.

The ECL Eagle Case has three components, just like an Otterbox Defender.  There is a plastic shell to encase the phone.  I discovered some subtle differences.  The Otterbox has a few additional snaps on the outside.  While the ECL Eagle Case snapped open and closed just fine, the Otterbox takes some additional work to open.  I suspect the Otterbox is more secure because of the additional snaps.  The phone just seemed to be a little more secure within the Otterbox, but not by a lot, if any.  Both boxes have a small amount of padding on the back.

The other difference, which is important, is the presence of a home button protector. Unlike Otterbox, the instructions that come with the ECL Eagle Case instructs the customer to remove the thin plastic cover over the home button, but I left it there.  The home button was still sensitive to my touch and the fingerprint recognition worked fine so I planned to keep it there as I use this case.  Over a weeks time, this protector started to wrinkle and became torn.  The Otterbox home button cover is more substantial and is still like new.

The second component is the flexible skin that goes over the plastic case.  As I already mentioned, it’s just as difficult to take off the skin as an Otterbox, so follow my advice in our Otterbox article regarding how to remove it.  The Otterbox Defender skin is more rubberized and a little softer.  It’s also more substantial and I feel safer with the Otterbox because of the more substantial material.  There are flaps over the parts that you will need access to like the headphone and power jack.  The volume buttons are easier to push on the Eagle Case versus the Otterbox and so is the power switch on the side.

The back of the Eagle Case is very similar to the Otterbox Defender as it has a big round lens that allows you to see the Apple logo on the back of the phone.  I could never understand why Otterbox did that but they have done it with every iPhone case I have owned.  The Eagle Case does the same thing.

Each case has a built-in screen protector that permits full interaction with the phone.  The thing I noticed about the Eagle case is there seems to be a small gap between the screen protector and the phone.  In other words, when I tap on the screen there’s a small fraction of an inch of air so you feel the screen protector touch the phone.  I don’t detect that within the Otterbox.  When I tap on the screen protector, there isn’t a gap between it and the phone display.  I have read this is hit or miss with Otterbox.  Earlier manufacturing runs of the Otterbox Defender had this issue but is was resolved in more recent production.  I must have an Otterbox from a more recent production run.  As a side note, I went to a large electronics store and they let me open a few Otterbox retail cases.  If the retail package doesn’t specifically mention iPhone 6s Plus, don’t buy it, that’s from the old run and has a gap that’s so annoying you will want a different case.  Be sure the retail package specifies that it is for iPhone 6 Plus / iPhone 6s Plus.

Both cases come with a belt clip cradle that I never use.  I can tell you that both cases snap in and out quite easily and the phone with case seats in the cradle with the lens facing your hip.  The belt clip swivels and snaps into a position.  You can use either as a kickstand by opening the clip all the way then snapping it under the stop at the top of the case in landscape.

I still have my Otterbox and I will be returning the Eagle Case, but perhaps not for the reasons you may think.  The Eagle Case is a fine case and a lot less money than the Otterbox.  They look somewhat alike and both are capable of protecting your iPhone.  The small gap between the Eagle Case screen protector and the iPhone 6s Plus becomes annoying although I’m sure I would get used to pressing a little harder, I just didn’t want to.  In addition, the Otterbox feels more substantial to me.  That can be seen as a good or bad thing, as substantial translates to slightly more bulk.  I just don’t want my brand new iPhone to break so don’t mind the additional bulk.