Tested: OtterBox’s new recycled iPhone 13 MagSafe cases deliver a unique, grippy design

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Breaking into the scene of recycled iPhone 13 cases, OtterBox just launched its new Core cover lineup to start the year. Comprised of 50% renewed materials, the regrind build delivers a slim, yet grippy design. Though whether the environmentally-friendly focus is worth its $60 price tag is what we’re investigating in our latest Tested with 9to5Toys review.

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Hands-on with the new OtterBox recycled iPhone 13 MagSafe cases

Arriving as OtterBox’s latest cases, the new Core lineup was just launched at the end of last month with a bold new take for the brand at $59.95 price points. Doubling down the effort to be environmentally friendly, these new OtterBox iPhone 13 cases are comprised of 50% recycled materials.

Available in two different styles, OtterBox is employing what it calls a first-of-its-kind regrind material that pairs a synthetic rubber with silicone in order to provide some extra protection to your handset. Fittingly for the two colorway names of Carnival Night and Funfetti, both designs lean into the recycled build with colorful specks of plastic embedded in the soft cover.

Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:

  • Specially designed for iPhone and Apple MagSafe technology
  • Repurposing waste as resilient protection — first-of-its-kind regrind material
  • Made with 50% recycled material
  • Soft touch, flexible texture for great grip
  • Ultra-slim profile follows iPhone’s precision lines
  • Raised edges protect camera and screen
  • One-piece case slips on and off in a flash

9to5Toys’ Take:

Just after launch a few weeks ago, OtterBox was kind enough to send over one of its new iPhone 13 cases to see what the Core lineup is all about. I’ve been daily driving the cover for the past week and have come to enjoy quite a bit about the case, while arriving at some nitpick-y conclusions, too.

Right off the bat, it’s worth mentioning the new regrind material, which really is the star of the show. OtterBox hasn’t employed any unique form-factors like we’ve seen with other recycled iPhone 13 cases, and in fact, is playing it safe with a sleek and streamlined build. What the Core cases are made out of is a different story, with the 50% reused materials.

That blend of renewed plastic takes the form of a very grippy material that hugs your phone. It’s an almost spongy texture that is quite soft and feels really good in hand, almost. As you’ll likely see from the photos, OtterBox has molded the cases out of either white or black materials (I’m rocking the Carnival Night style) which is filled with little confetti-like bits of colorful plastic. Some of those recycled bits of silicone stick out ever so slightly from the case, giving it a weird feeling. None of these protrusions are by any means sharp, they’re almost just like little, soft sandpaper grit applied to the surface.

As for other features, OtterBox has baked MagSafe support into its new Core cases too. The magnetic holding power is quite good and the grippy texture means that it won’t slide off any mounts or vertical docks, which is certainly a plus. There’s also a raised lip around the back of the camera to protect the iPhone 13 module which is made out of the same recycled materials that OtterBox uses elsewhere.

So after a week of use, how am I liking the cover? It’s not bad at all and certainly a unique take on what a case made out of renewed materials can do. But I think I am going to ultimately stick to CASETiFY’s recycled case instead, just out of personal preference for the design.

The final verdict here with the new OtterBox recycled cases is that there’s a lot to like, but this isn’t going to be for every iPhone 13 owner. I find a lot of value in the $60 price tag, and if the features I described checked all the boxes for you, then it’s going to be worth the cash. I just don’t find myself loving the material, though it has grown on me since taking it out of the box. Just not enough to ditch the just-released CASETiFY cover that I reviewed earlier in the month.

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