I caught hell from a few co-workers and friends last winter when they found out I was testing an OtterBox Commuter Case for my cell phone and planned to run a story about it in Snow Goer. “What business does a phone case have being featured in a snowmobile magazine?” they said. My reasoning was twofold: other snowmobilers need to protect their mobile devices, and my job is to test stuff and tell people if it worked; and I had recently smashed my previous phone while riding a snowmobile. I ordered an Arctic Cat green case for my new iPhone.
The Commuter ($34.95) has three layers of protection: an inner rubber membrane to absorb shock, an exterior plastic case to guard against impacts and a self-adhering screen protector. Fit of the case is perfect. The hard plastic outer layer (the green part) pinches securely over the inner rubber membrane, providing a sturdy, form-fitting barrier against damage. Little rubber flaps over the charging port and headphone jack do a remarkable job sealing out dust. A hole for the camera is perfectly centered on the eye.
I’ve dropped my phone, knocked it off counters and workbenches and let it rattle around in dusty storage boxes on side-by-side ATVs, but my phone and case show no wear. I’ve seen other rubber phone cases that might do well to protect the device, but they fit poorly and they get tangled up in pockets. The plastic exterior of the slim Commuter Series helps it easily slide in and out of a pocket while only slightly increasing the bulk factor.
The back of the case has a hole that exposes the Apple logo, and it’s a comfortable place to tuck my index finger into when I hold the phone up to my ear (it’s the minor details like this one that make a product go from “good” to “great!”). The Commuter Series is also available for BlackBerry, Droid and many other devices. If you have a phone and there’s a good chance you’ll wreck it if it goes unprotected, consider a Commuter from Otterbox.
Color Options: 1.7/2
— Andy Swanson