While at the CTIA Wireless convention, I was able to get my hands on a product I’ve talked about a few times in the past.
It’s the OtterBox Defender case for the BlackBerry 8800 series. It’s billed as the the most protective case in the business, offering three levels of protection.
I’ve spent a week with the case now, and here’s my take: Clearly, it’s a bit bulky. That’s going to happen when you put a hardshell plastic case around a BlackBerry. This isn’t something I’d recommend shoving in your pocket — though I certainly have over the past few days. It’s this prejudice I have against wearing my BlackBerry — or any cell phone, for that matter — on my hip. I did at CTIA, though, because, well, everyone else was.
What it is
There are three pieces to the OtterBox case. First is a plastic film, which covers your screen and keyboard. There’s a hole cut out for the trackball, and the film is designed to fit perfectly around your keys. It’s not totally water proof, but it will stave off water damage for a bit.
Next is the hardshell plastic case. These two pieces simply snap over your BlackBerry. After that, there’s a rubber piece — a membrane, I believe the OtterBox folks were calling it — which wraps around the outside of the plastic.
While on my hip, the device was completely protected. The screen faces in, so it’s not exposed. If I happen to bump into something or someone, the only thing hit was the plastic or rubber on the back of the case. There were no problems getting it in and out of the case, and because the screen and keypad face my hip, there’s no need to lock the keyboard.
I have to say, it wasn’t all that bad in my pocket, either. Yeah, it creates a bit of a bulge — I wouldn’t go giving a presentation with it there. But even with jeans I don’t find much trouble pulling the case out of my pocket. This is actually where the case came in really handy. See, I’m a bit clumsy. I’ll pull my phone out of my pocket, fumble it, and it will hit the floor. But with the OtterBox case, there are no worries.
I’ve dropped it no fewer than three times this week, and each time I picked it up like it’s no big deal. At first, I didn’t like the way the plastic edges constricted keypad and trackball movement. It took me a day or so to get used to hitting the Q, A, and Alt buttons a bit differently, as well as the space bar. The access to the trackball becomes a bit more limited, too. However, none of these are deal breakers for me.
I’m actually loving the part of the membrane that covers my data and headphone ports. There had been a bit of dust building up in there, and I’m just too lazy to get a can of compressed air to clean it out every once in a while. Same for the speaker on the top of the BlackBerry. Even more dust was building up in there. But because of the case, less dust gets in there now.
To wrap up
Every time someone sees my case, I’m either asked, “What’s that?” or, “Did you get a new phone?” Everyone seems pretty impressed with it. One of my friends noted, though, that it “looks like you’re going to scan packages.” Yeah, I get it, it’s big. But it does supply excellent protection. The screen and keys cover is something I’ve been wanting for a while, and the folks at OtterBox have created a great one.
I told myself at first that I’d switch back to my old rubber case when I was going to put my BlackBerry in my pocket, but the awesomeness of the OtterBox has changed my mind.