OtterBox Preserver Series Waterproof Case for Samsung Galaxy S4 Review @
By: Michael Phrakaysone


Smartphone's are the obsession of this generation.  It's a technological marvel among many things in this world that keeps us all connected.  It's become so prevalent in our daily lives that some can argue we can't live without it. The Smartphone is a marvelous invention and has indeed changed the course of history. 

Smartphone's have obvious advantages, though it also has disadvantages that have and will continue to affect how our society communicates with one another.  Nonetheless, because we are so consumed by this device and even sleep with our Smartphone by our side, it's only natural that accessory makers are everywhere to be found making various products such as protective cases to protect our beloved Smartphone.

In our last protective case review, we tested the Defender Series case for the HTC 8X Windows Phone and came away very impressed because it did everything it said it would do very well. Today we are going to look at another OtterBox offering, the OtterBox Preserver Series case for the Samsung Galaxy S4. This Preserver Series case aims to be the ultimate protection for your Smartphone as it's waterproof up to 2 m or 6.6 feet deep for up to 30 minutes, along with many other protection features OtterBox is known for. Without further ado let's see what this $89.95 MSRP protective case can do.

About OtterBox

Founded in 1998 with a line of dry boxes, OtterBox® has evolved into the No. 1-selling case for Smartphone's in the U.S. and a global leader in mobile device protection.  Its diverse lineup of protective solutions for handheld technology protect, connect and enable a mobile world. OtterBox has been a six-time honoree on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. and was named one of “America’s Most Promising Companies” by Forbes Magazine. The company is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colo., with offices in San Diego; Boston; Cork, Ireland; and Hong Kong.

OtterBox Preserver Series for Galaxy S4 Product Overview

  • Whip out that awesome Android phone of yours in any element when it’s protected with the seriously waterproof GALAXY S4 Preserver Series case
  • Embrace every opportunity for wet, messy fun with this GALAXY S4 waterproof case that also protects against dust
  • This GALAXY S4 waterproof case also offers military-rated drop protection (MIL STD 810G-516.6)
  • Highly protective and slim, you can slip this case into your pocket and get it right out again to capture your buddy getting drenched by a super soaker
  • Enjoy trusted OtterBox protection and every moment of spontaneous fun with this waterproof GALAXY S4 case

OtterBox Preserver Series for Galaxy S4 Product Features


  • Samsung GALAXY S4


  • Waterproof: fully submergible up to 6.6 ft. (2 m) for 30 minutes (IP-X8)
  • Drop proof: military-rated drop protection (MIL STD 810G-516.6)
  • Dust proof: blocks entry of dust and debris particles (IP-6X)
  • Uninhibited use of all device features and functions through the case
  • Includes an adjustable lanyard for convenient carrying and tethering


  • Solid polycarbonate shell: deflects impact away from the device
  • Overmolded synthetic rubber: absorbs impact and provides good grip
  • Internal foam: cushions device and holds it in place inside the case

Environmental Protection:

The Preserver Series case for Samsung GALAXY S4 provides added protection against water, drops, bumps and shock.

First Impressions

I really enjoy how the OtterBox Preserver Series case for the Galaxy S4 by is packaged, and I've got to commend OtterBox on a wonderful packaging design,  they make simplicity very exciting.  That signature striking yellow is used throughout  the package design and the front is a dedicated window that showcases the real product.  Got to love that cute Otter on the logo.  The Preserver Series case adds a beautiful water design on the front to let customers know it's waterproof.  They've basically used a modified plastic clamshell design that has the top and bottom curved inward to seal the box.  A metal hanger sits on top so that the package can be displayed on store shelving easily. 

The plastic clamshell explains that the Preserver Series case is meant for Active Protection for demanding conditions including water, heavy use, and random accidents.  This case protects against drops, debris protection against dust, scratch protection, and offers waterproof capabilities up to 6.6 feet or 2 m for up to 30 minutes.  

OtterBox Preserver Series Case includes nifty features such as a polycarbonate lid, polycarbonate back, watertight port plug, watertight earpiece mesh covering, watertight port plug, watertight gasket, internal memory foam backing, transparent hard coated scratch resistant screen protector, and much more.

The package has an OtterBox hologram to provide some level of authentication, and at the bottom informs us that its Designed in Fort Collins, Colorado USA and assembled in Mexico.  No mention of China, which is a surprise, and likely a good thing.

Taking the Preserver Series case out of the box, it comes protected in another plastic shell with an OtterBox instructional pamphlet, something you usually don't need to look at, however, this waterproof case is different as you'll need to test it before submerging into the water.  A lanyard is included at the bottom of the package. 

This Preserver Series case for S4 comes presented in four different colors, this review sample being white.  The other colors include carbon, glacier, permafrost, and primrose, so you can choose the color that suits you personally and have style.

Deeper Look - Putting Everything Together

When you have everything lay out in front of you, there are only two main items, polycarbonate lid, and polycarbonate back.  A lanyard is included that you use to hook on to the eyelet on the Preserver case. Inside the polycarbonate backing is a watertight gasket, this gasket has some padding that raises the smart phone inside of the case so that it fits like a glove and protects the back of the phone. You can see in the gallery that the polycarbonate backing has a large rubber seal all around the case to protect from water entering the case.  In fact you see many rubber seals all across the case, every nook and cranny has one, from the USB port, headphone jack, all cutouts have seals.

As with other OtterBox products, I really like how the Polycarbonate lid also provides screen protection and essentially negates the need for a traditional screen protector.  It's a super thin and super clear screen protector film.

There's no rocket science involved, but OtterBox has a specific method to opening and closing the case.  You start off by pushing in or clicking the top portion, click the bottom portion, and then click in the middle portion. With the Preserver Series case it's a bit tricky to open as you'll need to use a Canadian loonie or a thick coin to pop the opening tab up, and then pry the rest of the openings open, so at least there's some practice involved.

Fitment with the S4 is truly snug, everything is aligned perfectly, and there's no movement inside the casing.  Snap it shut and you'll find that everything that needs to be exposed is rightfully so, nothing being blocked, the earpiece is exposed through a watertight earpiece mesh covering so that you can hear your calls, the rear camera and rear LED flash is properly exposed, and all the ports are securely watertight with rubber O rings covering each port cover to protect water or dust from accumulating. 

The home button, power button, and the volume rocker buttons on the Preserver Series case doesn't travel too much so the buttons are a little hard to, however, it's all very manageable.

The Preserver Series case on, the Galaxy S4 has a lot more heft to it.  A once bare S4 was very slim, but now is very bulky and big. You really notice that extra weight in your pocket or in your bare hands, but everything feels solid and very reassuring.

I know from experience that with some Smartphone cases I've come across in the past, certain ports, for example the headphone jack, had some troubles with earphones or headphones that had really fat 3.5mm plugs.  It wouldn't fit because the Smartphone case did not provide a big enough opening for the earphone jack.  Well with this OtterBox Preserver Series case for S4, the port cover allows ample room for even the fattest of headphone plugs.  

The micro USB port on the other hand, a port cover is a little small so I had some trouble one time with the particularly big USB charge cable, the charge cable actually got stuck and wouldn't budge. It happened to get jammed in the protective case. It required major force to remove the USB cable, so I would advise that you use a slim micro USB charge cable when using the Preserver Series case for Galaxy S4.

I like that with this specific case, there is an integrated screen cover as part as the protective case.  Maybe it's just me, but I can't for the life of me put those conventional screen protectors on properly, or get it on without getting air bubbles as I don't live in an dustproof environment.  With the OtterBox Preserver Series for S4, the inner Polycarbonate core has an integrated screen protector, it's a very clear and strong protective film insert.  I found that the screen protector doesn't get scratched easily as those conventional cheap plastic ones do.  I found that the screen protector does not affect the performance of the touch screen, and in the case of the S4, the touch screen was already super sensitive to begin with, so touch screen performance with the case on felt no different than with it off.

Unfortunately with this case I experienced a major problem, that being with the case on, the call quality of the S4 drop dramatically.  I've never had this happen before, let alone with other OtterBox products, therefore I initially had no clue that something was wrong. It was only when other people I was speaking to on the other line mentioned to me that I sounded very far away and they had trouble hearing me. They said the call quality was very bad, that there were echoes, and that my voice was repeating itself on delay during our conversation.  I had no clue there were issues because I could hear them perfectly fine.

I did not know what was going on, I thought maybe it was a network carrier issue, but the problems persisted and continued on after a couple days. A few days later I just happened to remove the protective case and during that time I found out from the same people who were experiencing problems, mentioned to me that my phone sounded so much better than before. I then realized it must've been from the protective case, probably some interference with the different metallic meshes that are being used, and or something else that the case is using that is interfering with the phone. That's a major issue and I thought I was the only one until I researched online that others were experiencing the scene very issues I was, it was very clear that this was not an isolated issue.

The problems continued with the Preserver Series case, I took it along with me on my cycling trip that happened to be on a rainy day, I specifically took this case because I thought it could handle the elements, but, apparently this less than intense weather was too much for the OtterBox Preserver Series case to handle. When I got back the watertight mesh coverings basically unraveled and fell off as you'll see in the gallery. The Preserver Series case is supposed to give ultimate protection, however, in real world usage the case failed to deliver. I did not even submerge it into water, yet it unraveled on its own in rainy weather.

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I suppose all good things must come to an end, and in the case of the OtterBox Preserver Series case for Samsung Galaxy S4, that statement unfortunately holds true.  Of all the great OtterBox products I've tested, this was easily the worst one.
I cannot recommend the OtterBox Preserver Series for the Samsung Galaxy S4, no matter the price, frankly just stay far away.