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Review: Otterbox Defender for BlackBerry Bold 9700

frontviewReview: Otterbox Defender for BlackBerry Bold 9700

At the end of 2009, we had announced the launch of Otterbox’s Defender case for the BlackBerry Bold 9700.

For those of you not familiar with the Defender series, the series specializes in offering premium protection for your BlackBerry or iPhone while offering the user full access to all the features of their phone.  The Defender series cases offer three layers of protection against bumps, drops and shocks. Luckily, Otterbox was happy enough to provide me with a sample so that I could explain to all of you about their product!

The first, innermost layer, is a hard plastic shell which wraps around the phone.  This layer includes has embedded in it a hard plastic cover protecting the users screen and camera.  This layer also offers a 2mm bevelling along the edges of the screen and camera so that if the device is to be dropped, impact would not occur against the screen or camera. There is also a built in plastic screen protector attached to the plastic shell which ensures that your screen will remain in great condition!


The second, outermost layer, is a silicone skin which completely covers the hard plastic shell.  It is this layer which I would like to mention one caveat which irked me a bit.  The silicone is a dust magnet.  Even when placed in the third layer, the holster, my sweat or jacket covers the device in lint.  I have found no way to avoid this.  The only way to clean the case, is simply wipe it down with a damp cloth.  One positive of the silicone however is the gripped backing.  This allows the users to safely hold the device without having to worry about losing grip.

The third, and external layer, is their heavy duty holster.  This belt clip on the holster made me have some nostalgic memories of my old BlackBerry 72xx series holsters.  It has a very high quality, heavy duty plastic clip in which I personally have 100% confidence will NEVER fail on anyone.  In addition to the clip, the holster itself is very thick further instilling trust into the quality of the product.  There is one caveat however.  One’s ability to remove the phone from the holster is very easy.  In fact, I don’t go a week at work where someone doesn’t dislodge the phone from the casing, without my knowledge, just to show me how easily one’s device can be disconnected and stolen; however, Otterbox’s primary concern is protection from drops, bumps, and shocks and that they do very well!

To test the quality of the casing, I did the unthinkable…yes, you thought correctly…I dropped my phone, in it’s casing, onto several surfaces from about 5 feet above ground to test the quality of the casing.  Not only was there no damage to the phone itself, there are NO visible markings or damages to the casing in question.  I have owned Seidio & CaseMate products and never, until I used the Defender, have I felt that my phone was more secure than when I began using the Defender!


All in all, with the exception of the case being a dust magnet, and the cases apparent lack of security in regards to theft, I am very happy with the product that Otterbox has created and I am confident, that in the future, they will develop new technologies that will remedy the caveats that I have mentioned!

9 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. My wife has a Defender for her Storm2. It has kept her device practically pristine in spite of our 2 year old!

    I am very happy with the Commuter I have for my Tour.

  2. I love OtterBox!!! But I hate this new holster design!!! This is the first BlackBerry (out of four) that I will NOT be buying a Defender for. As you mention in your short review, it is ridiculously easy to knock, or have it picked, out of this holster. With the old design I never, ever, had it fall out. It was still easy to remove, but only when I wanted.

  3. I recently purchased this case with holster belt clip. I’ve used Otter cases in the past and loved them. As usual the Otter case offers great protection (probably the best case available). Unfortunately, I can’t use the ‘defender’ because it keeps popping out of my belt holster (3 times in the last 2 days)! This never happened with my last Otter case (they’ve changed the holster contacts making it much less secure). What’s the use of protecting the blackberry if you’re just going to lose it with a little jostling? I am now back to my Seido case (for 9700) which offers much less protection but at least it stays securely on my belt.

  4. You didn’t say anything about the keypad protection.

  5. ^There is none…besides the recessed casing like what is used around the screen.

  6. I have bought the OtterBox Commuter Case for my BlackBerry Bold 9700. The case is good and I like the idea of its construction. Only the silicon case layer is in my opinion at the side of the display to loose, it feels a little bit like a chewing gum and it doesnt hold the form. So there is no cover for the phone at the sides of the display.

  7. I just returned my Defender for my 9700 as like others I have near lost my device a couple times due to it popping out. This is my 2nd replacement holster from Otterbox. This holster design is no good! Protection for the device is great though.

  8. I had the Otterbox for my 8800 World and it was great. Never any issues with damage, I used to throw my Blackberry of the floor to demostrate the durability of the Otterbox case. With the 9700 the protection is still fantastic, mine fell down three flights of concrete stairs bouncing four feet in the air between bounces coming to a rest with no damage but the reason it fell was the “STUPID” holster. On my 8800 the BlackBerry slid into the holster, on the 9700, its pivot – click. It is easy to knock your BlackBerry out of the Holster, easy to put it in the holster incorrectly so it pops out almost imediately, and easy for your BlackBerry to fall out for no apparent reason. I commute on public transit and I will be spending my morning getting to the Transit Lost and Found to pick up my BlackBerry. Luckly it was turned in.

  9. I just purchased both the defender series and also the bold 9700. I have had it for three weeks. I work in and around alot of oil, I thought I was covered but just last night I bumped my phone withou knowing it. When I realized my phone was lost from its holster it was to late. Soaking in oil. My Phone is ruined. My service provided will do nothing. I called otterbox and the said they could do nothing but replace the otterbox. What good is it if I have no PHONE for it. Don’t buy unless you are okay with losing or damaging your phone.

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