Review: OtterBox for 8300 Curve & 8100 Pearl

editors-choice-small.jpgReview: OtterBox Case For BlackBerry Curve & Pearl
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★½ 9.5/10 [starreview]
Editors Choice Award Winner!
Link: www.OtterBox.com (awesome site with many interesting features)
Price: $49.95 each (USD)
Model Number: Defender Series; 1934-20 (8100 Series Pearl); Defender 1935-20 (8300 Series Curve)

This is a review I have been dying to do for some time now. (Just ask my chief editor and the guys at Otterbox marketing division…”When?””When?””When?”). Well the time has come and I wanted to get this one out ASAP so those people out there who are considering putting one on their wish list to post to Santa can do so armed with a bit more information. The new OtterBox cases have lived up to the quality and standard of the original 8800 case that previously won our Editors Choice Award.

I have used Otterboxes in the past for previous devices and have been very impressed by the quality, design and durability of their products. OtterBox kindly sent me 2 of their new cases: 1 for the Curve and 1 for the Pearl. Over the next week or so I used and abused these products. (I work a fair bit on construction sites so dust and shock resistance is a real problem for any sensitive devices I use). For the full review and how each case, faired just hit the JUMP.. 20060718adf8243116_262_lo.jpg

This article will be of great benefit for anyone who has ever destroyed their BlackBerry by dropping it, exposing it to dust, playing too hard on the weekend or all of the above. About the only thing it will not protect it from is the dreaded ‘Toilet Drop’. (I have wasted far to many phones this way over the years)

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First Impressions:
They both came with comprehensive installation instructions, cleaning cloth, screen install card and the standard advertising pack.

Installation is not as hard as some reviews will have you believe. You just have to make sure to clean the device properly before you attempt to fit the membrane cover over the screen and keypad. The rest is easy and fairly straight forward. Just make sure the dust filters line up with the holes they are meant to be protecting, clip the 2 sides of the hard case together, slip on the silicon cover and you’re done.

In The Field:

To put these through a real life test I thought I would just go about my daily routine of work (I’m not a writer in real life, in case you hadn’t guessed). My weekly routine normally includes; working on construction sites,small amount of office work, servicing automation equipment in industrial and commercial situations (including coolrooms and freezers) and then there is the typical weekend of 4×4 ing and sport (Baseball). All of that combined with 24/7/365 after hours callout that I’m also on (gives me a legitimate excuse to carry my BlackBerry on me at all times) should give these 2 cases a pretty good workout.

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My first concern was that OtterBox might not have designed the case as BlackBerry had intended and placed a magnet in a specific spot in the case to switch the unit off when holstered. (I did the ‘wave over’ thing with my Curve before I assembled it all and couldn’t get the screen to switch off). All my fears were squashed when it did exactly what BlackBerry had designed it to do when I first put it in the holster. Another thing I have read in other review is how bulky these cases are. This is one thing that I did not consider to be an issue as the size increase is only minimal. Apart from carrying 2 BlackBerrys around with me all week, I had absolutely no hassles from either case and they protected one (or 2) of my most prized possessions to the fullest. The positive click upon re-holstering gives you that sense of security that your BB is going to be in the same place you left it when you need it next.

I used to have to make sure I had reasonably clean hands before sending an email or making a phone call before, but with the full keypad protection offered by the included membrane, this is something I don’t have to worry about anymore. The only part of the BB exposed to the outside environment is the trackball itself (and that is only when it is out of the holster). All of the buttons are still usable whilst in the OtterBox and there is an attached silicon rubber plug that fits in snuggly over the earphone/charger/sync port so you do not need to remove the device from the case to charge or sync.

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Every item on your Pearl or Curve is usable while it is in the OtterBox case and the only thing I found to be a problem was a ‘Battery Pull’ reset. (As BB owners we all have to do these once in a while).(I’m sure I have seen an application some where that allows you to do a reset from the screen…I will check it out and let you all know…). The sound remains uninterrupted by the case as the speaker (and microphone) just have a dust filter over the top. The status LED is still visible although only partially whilst in the holster.

One point I would like to make very clear… These cases Do Not make your Curve 0r Pearl waterproof, so I don’t want any reply’s that read “My BlackBerry is no longer working after I decided to go for a swim (or shower, surf, car-wash etc) after reading your review. I thought you said they are indestructible. When should I expect you to send me a new BlackBerry? The 9000 series looks great. Do you think I can have one of those?” The answer to all the above questions is No…(I don’t even have the rumored 9000s yet) They are Not Indestructible!!! Other things you can not do to your BlackBerry whilst it is in the OtterBox included, but not limited to; shooting it with a high powered weapon (like the one pictured above), dropping it from a very tall building (actually no building over 1.5m tall is recommended), throwing it out of a perfectly good (or crappy) aircraft at 30,000 ft, using it as a ball when you have mis-placed your baseball, etc, etc, etc.

Seriously though, you have a pretty serious bit if electronic hardware in your pocket. If it suffers any kind of real shock or water ingestion it will most probably fail on you (If not right away, then sometime in the near future). Even though you wrap it up in cotton wool (or in this case, an OtterBox), it is still susceptible to severe shock and water damage. We are guilty of posting a link to the Blackberry guys and their testing video on YouTube a couple of months back. As most of you who watched it, this was done in jest and by people who have a never ending supply of BlackBerry’s and OtterBox’s. Unless OtterBox and BlackBerry would like to enter into a deal with me to extreme test their products then I, like the rest of you, will be using mine as a normal day to day case. If any problems do occur in the future, I will post a reply here or edit this article.

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Pros:

  • Quality, workmanship and design of the product
  • Price (compared to a replacement Curve or Pearl)
  • Protection offered
  • Good looks (if you are after that tough military style)
  • The name alone says it all.

Cons:

  • Not 100% waterproof
  • Not enough retails shops worldwide

Conclusion:

Well the OtterBox was well and truly worth the wait. It lived up to every expectation and then some. The only reason I did not give this product a perfect score is that I couldn’t go to my local store and pick one up. There is a reason why this brand is chosen by some of the worlds most elite military institutions and that is the reliability and attention to detail to detail in the design level (These guys think of everything)

Note:

Delivery time is around a week (within the U.S) so if you order now you are bound to get it delivered before Christmas.

(Don’t leave it too late as we all know what Christmas time can be like!)

4 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Did the Otterbox case have a swiveling belt clip so that the Blackberry can be worn vertically or horizontally?

    Thanks,

    Glenn

  2. The case actually has what they call a ratchet clip. It has about 8 or 10 different positions that it will “lock” into. It requires extra force to move the clip from each locking position so it has quite a bit of flexability.
    Hope that helps!

  3. Glenn,
    Sorry Mate. Yes it does. As Ronen stated it does come with the ratchet clip. Works really well and has enough room to clip over the most sturdy belts around.ie: I wear an ‘Uncle Mikes’ military/police belt at work and the belt clip fits perfectly regardless of the bulk…
    Kindest Regards
    Greg Myers

  4. About the “battery pull,” there’s a keyboard shortcut that does the same thing. Press ALT+RIGHT SHIFT KEY+DEL. =D

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