October 11, 2009

Review: Otterbox Commuter Series Cases for iPhone 3G/3GS

Otterbox, the name that is now synonymous with “tough”, “protection” and “defense” just released two more cases for your iPhone 3G or 3G[s]. I first read about Otterbox’s legendary protection when reading an editor over at TUAW describing how he protected is first gen. iPhone with the Defender series case. When I learned about the new Commuter series for the iPhone 3G (3GS), I knew I had to get in a review to find out for myself.

The commuter series cases (Commuter & Commuter TL) offer ample protection as expected; Otterbox uses a unique design where the case is composed of two parts, a soft-silicon inner that is enclosed within a hard case. This is a design approach that I’ve never seen before. The silicon layer offers really good protection for the iPhone from shifting around and making small scratch marks while the outer hard layer can be used to shield against harder impacts. Both cases has covers to protect the power, headphone ports as well as the power and volume switches. While this case does add a bit of thickness to your iPhone, its still within a reasonable thickness to carry in your pocket. Both cases are very similar in design with minor differences that I will get to in the preceding paragraphs by model.

Otterbox Commuter Case (MSRP: $34.95)
Available in an all black finish (a color pack of swappable color plates is soon available), you can tell this case means business. It draws its major difference from the Commuter TL case in that the back side where the Apple Logo is located, it is fully open. Also, the hard protection layer actually wraps around the sides to provide extra rigidity. I’d argue that this case is more structurally sound and will provide extra protection over the TL.






Otterbox Commuter TL Case (MSRP: $29.95)
The Commuter TL case offers seven colors to choose from and differentiates itself by using a frosted colored hard layer that only wraps around from the top to bottom of your iPhone. Because it doesn’t wrap around its sides, I find the extra exposed rubber/silicon layer to be more commuter friendly to which the phone might offer more traction to stay in my side pants pocket while sitting on a plane or train. Before testing, I thought I would prefer the non-TL case better as it would offer stronger protection, but I actually found myself drawn more to liking the Commuter TL case more.






In any case, if you are searching for a sturdy iPhone 3G or 3GS case, Otterbox is definitely a brand that you should consider since you'll feel good knowing that these Commuter series cases will protect your phone under all conditions.

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