IF YOU haven't heard of the name Otterbox before, the company is actually well known for producing hard travel cases for all kinds of sensitive electronic equipment - from professional videocamera equipment to PCs and laptops.
For a while now, though, Otterbox has also been producing ruggedised cases for almost any name-brand smartphone out there, from iOS to Android to BlackBerry devices.
The Defender is a popular model in the Otterbox line and the company has just introduced a design that fits the iPhone 5.
This casing is designed to give "triple" protection, in that there is a soft inner foam layer that the iPhone sits on, a hard impact resistant middle layer, and finally, a soft silicone outer layer.
As such, the casing is pretty bulky - with the whole thing properly installed, your formerly slim iPhone 5 will go from Bruce Banner-like proportions to the full blown Hulk, with the same corresponding increase in toughness, I'll wager.
Installing the casing itself is not as straightforward as it seems unless you're familiar with the Defender series.
To install the iPhone, you have to first peel off the silicone outer layer, and that requires some doing - a quick look at the supplied instruction booklet shows you just how to do this, but even so, it's not that easy since the fit is quite tight.
Once that's removed, however, it's much easier to unlock the second layer and then install the iPhone inside.
Oh yes, the Defender also comes with a separate belt clip holster which doubles up as a kickstand for propping up your iPhone in landscape mode.
Again, it wasn't immediately clear how to enagage the kickstand - and after another quick glance at the user guide, I realised that all you need to do is open the belt clip as far as it will go till it locks into position.
ONCE your iPhone 5 is safely installed in the casing, you will see that it's well protected from all sides - the screen has its own built-in work-through plastic protector, and the sides around the screen are raised high enough so that there's little chance of the screen making contact with the ground.
The mute switch on the side of the iPhone has a silicone door covering it, as do the earphone and Lightning ports at the bottom of the phone.
However, it has to be said that the Defender DOES NOT protect your iPhone from water intrusion - the casing has holes cut into it for the speakers (both bottom and the top) and for the camera lens at the back.
I would have preferred if Otterbox had produced a casing that was splashproof, with at least a transparent port for the camera lens at the back instead of the hole that is there now.
I dropped my iPhone with the Defender installed from about three feet and then four feet, and the device survived unscathed, as expected.
I've seen videos online where some people have thrown it up in the air and let it fall on the road, and though I didn't dare to try this on my still new iPhone 5, I have little doubt that the casing can handle more major drops than what I put it through.
One problem I did have with the casing is that the built-in screen protector reduces touch sensitivity somewhat, although it wasn't as bad as on some similar casings I've tried.
And the high plastic sides around the phone screen made it a little difficult when you need to use your finger to tap on items or buttons near the edges of the screen, such as when trying to tap on the "Q" or "P" letters using the software keyboard.
IF YOU lead an active lifestyle or have butterfingers, the Defender is the case for you - the kind of protection it gives is probably more than what most people will ever need, but that's a good thing.
It is unfortunate that Otterbox didn't make the casing splashproof; as it is, if you were caught out in a downpour, the case would not be adequate enough to protect the iPhone 5 from the drenching.
Nevertheless, for everyday protection from bumps and drops, and even major ones, the Defender does its job well.