Last week, in discussing the total two-year cost of your BlackBerry, I mentioned a $5/month insurance plan. After all, you’re receiving the device at a discount. If it breaks and you want a new one you’ll have to pay the full retail price, which can be in the $300 to $500 range. While it’s no substitute for insurance, a case for your BlackBerry can provide an extra level of protection. Whether you drop the device a lot or store it in a place where it’s prone to bumps, a case can help you protect your investment and get the most out of your BlackBerry.
The default pouch
When you buy a new BlackBerry, you might notice that a nifty leather pouch comes along with the device. This conveniently clips to your belt and acts as a holster. That is, it’s magnetic, which triggers the “in holster” option in your profile. I know plenty of people, our own resident BlackBerry Geek, who prefer this method of storing and conveying their BlackBerry. It’s cheap and easy, so I can understand that sentiment. However, it doesn’t provide the best level of protection. First, the leather isn’t exactly the best form of protection. If you smash into something, the Berry will still sustain damage. Dropping the device while in the leather holster might soften the blow, but how many times do you have the device and holster in hand? The point is that the holster stays on your belt and you pull out the Berry. While the holster is nice for convenience, it doesn’t provide a superior level of protection for your BlackBerry. If you want protection and convenience, you might want to try…
OtterBox Defender Series
Yeah, we’re quite the OtterBox fans here at BBGeeks. While one friend told me my OtterBox-clad 8830 looked like a UPS scanning machine, it’s still the best case on the market in terms of protection. You could drop this thing down multiple flights of stairs and it’d be fine. I’m also pretty sure it could sustain a two-story drop (though I’m not willing to put that to a test). Of course, as the UPS scanning machine comment suggests, this thing can be quite unwieldy when attached to your belt. It’s significantly bulkier than the leather holster, but it provides a far greater level of protection. If you find yourself bumping into things frequently (and if you ride public transportation, I’m sure that’s the case), you might want to consider a switch to this case. The price isn’t too outrageous, either: $50 at the BBGeeks Store. That’s for the Curve model. They also have them for the Pearl, 88xx series, and the Bold. You can also look at a number of other hardshell cases, though many of them approach OtterBox’s price without providing the same level of protection. If you’re looking for something a bit less bulky, though, they might be worth a look.
Plenty of us, mostly guys, carry our BlackBerry devices in our pockets. Most of us don’t carry around anything resembling a purse, so the pocket is the next most logical storage space. Yes, the belt holster is an option, but I’m just not a fan. But when your device is in your pocket, it’s still subjected to being banged up when you run into things — or when things run into you. Plus, it could get nicked by anything else in your pocket — keys, for instance. The best solution I’ve found to this is a skin case. This is basically a celluloid mold that fits over the back of your BlackBerry. The back of the device is then protected from scratches. While it won’t survive a two-story drop, or even a trip down the stairs, minor drops are reduced to a dull thud, which is nicer to hear than the crashing of plastic against asphalt. Most advantageous is the thinness of the case. No one who carries a Berry in his pocket wants the thing to create an unsightly bulge (there’s room for a dirty joke there, I’m sure). The skin case makes the Berry only negligibly bigger than the device itself. That’s the biggest appeal for me. It’s certainly a viable alternative for those of us who don’t want to carry a BlackBerry on our belts.
Here’s an alternative for us pocket Berry users: a leather pouch. The idea is basically the same as the default BlackBerry case, except this seems more designed for pocket use than for the belt. Whereas the default leather case comes with the belt clip attached (and is difficult to remove), not all leather pouches do. This means that you can slip your BlackBerry into a leather pouch and then stow it in your pocket. Not only will the back be protected from scratches and nicks, but the screen and keyboard will as well. So now you can carry your keys in the same pocket as your Berry and not worry about the teeth putting a mark in your screen. The downside is the size. A leather pouch is a bit bulkier than a celluloid skin case, so it could lose appeal with those who stow their Berry in their pocket. And, as you might imagine, they’re a bit more expensive. Yet you get more protection for those extra dollars, so this could work out for some. It could even work for women who carry their Berry in their purses. It means no scratches if the Berry gets loose and starts sliding around in there.
These aren’t the only options for your BlackBerry, but they’re what I consider the most viable. They’re also the kind I’ve used in the past. There are plenty I’ve never had a chance to sample. For instance, has anyone used a metal case? I guess it would protect against scratches, but wouldn’t the case itself scratch? Plus, I wouldn’t feel too comfortable dropping the thing. I don’t think aluminum has the kind of shock-absorbing capabilities that would enable it to survive a drop down the stairs. There are also flip-lid cases, which I also haven’t used. They look good in theory. Instead of yanking your Berry out of its holster, you can just pull out the entire thing and flip open the protective exterior. So it provides the protection of a leather case with convenience closer to the skin cases. Not a bad deal. I might have to give one of those a shot. Anyone else have a different preference in cases? Let us know.