I just purchased the otterbox defender case and it is different in a few ways from previous versions I've had or experiences so here are my thoughts on the case as compared to the defender I had on my DX:
In case you aren't familiar with this line of cases, they are an inner plastic shell with integrated screen protector. The outer rubber layer wraps around the hard plastic layer to form a solid, bulky case. This clips into a sturdy plastic case w/ beefy belt clip that can be index rotated from portrait to landscape orientation while on your belt.
I feel this case will offer superior shock and scractch protection when compared to a slim or slip-on TPU style case. The attached screen protector should certainly offer more sand and splash protection than a slip on case w/ stick on screen protector. The belt clip is very rugged and seems like it will hold up well. The entire thing seems pretty solid once you get your phone in the case.
This case does not seem to add the bulk to the phone like on other phones. This is likely just my perception, but I just don't feel like it has the same added bulk. It is NOT a slim case, but simply streamlined and smooth.
Quality of the Rubber Shell
This new rubber they use is tremendously better than what was used few years ago. It is not sticky or silicone like. In smoothness, hardness, stickines, etc. it's about halfway between a silicone case and an TPU case. In short, it will come out of your pocket easier and collect less sand, lint, or dust than older defenders. The rubber seems to fit the inner hard shell much better than it did on my DX case. It is much improved.
The usb and headphone jack covers are very robust, almost annoyingly hard to open and close. This is good if you are wanting this type of protection. The camera, speaker, and mics are obviously not covered so there is NO protection for these. But most cases do not cover these becasue their function would be inhibited.
I hate it. It might be a dealbreaker for me. The protector does not sit flush on the screen. So when you use it, there is an annoying tap sound as the screen protector flexes and touches the screen. Maybe I have a bad unit. I can't imagine this is how it's supposed to be now, especially since my DX case worked so much better.
I do not plan to use this as my main case. This is for better protection when I go on boats, to the beach, to the pool, or when I work in the outdoors. Given that, the added bulk is not a hinderence for me and the robust belt clip is welcome for my use. I will have to use for a few days to determine if the screen protector fit is prohibitive. I would NOT use this as my daily driver case. The screen protector is too annoying and reduces clarity of the screen. I do like the fit/finish of this case much better than my old otterbox defender for the DX. I think it's a very good value for the $25-$35 they are going for on the web right now. Brick and mortar stores have them in stock (including VZW) so go check out that screen fit before you order one off the web.
I'll try to add some pics later tonight.