I have been a bit slack with the review on this latest Defender case for the new 9700. I have had the case for a few months and have been using it daily. I work in the construction industry so this case suits my needs perfectly. There are however, a few weak points in this new version.
The first thing I noticed is it is near on impossible to keep the case clean. It attracts every bit of dust and lint from a square mile surrounding you. It doesn’t matter how many times you clean it, your BlackBerry will look like it has been sitting at the bottom of a dustbin for weeks. I have noticed it is much worse in cold climate (I was in NY over the Christmas break so got to experience what the cold was like) but not quite as bad now I have returned home. I put this down to maybe a new formula for the silicon layer that OtterBox is now using. I have the same issue with a Defender case I have on a Storm 2 but surprisingly the Defender case I have on my Apple iPhone 3Gs does not seem to attract any dirt what so ever.
Secondly is the re-design of the holster. The device now clicks in from the front instead on sliding down into the holster for a more positive lock. The side clips are quite weak and hence, I have dropped my BlackBerry a number of times as it tends to just fall out very easily. (At least I wasn’t on a motorbike as my brother-in-law was when his one week old 9700 decided it would rather walk than ride in his OtterBox… RIP BBB as the car behind him run clean over in… He was a very unhappy policeman for quite some time ).
On the positive side, all the great features that have made OtterBox who they are today are there. All buttons are accessible and ports usable. There is a hard plastic cover over the camera and flash that does not create any flashback into the lens as previous models did. The screen has a hard plastic cover as well and can tend to get some dirty between the screen and the cover which is quite irritating but a good clean every couple of weeks takes care of that. The moulded plastic cover over the keyboard fits perfectly. A magnet has been included once again in the holster so will act like it’s in a factory holster if you have set up your device that way.
Another let down is the lack of colour choices available. It’s the old Henry Ford adage of, ‘ Any colour you want as long as it’s black.’ There is quite a few different colour choices available for the Apple iPhone case so why not for BlackBerry ? OtterBox ran a poll some time ago for colour choices so hopefully we will see something soon. Come on guys, a camo or drab olive defender case would suit the market that these cases are aimed at.
As well as OtterBox’s trademark “3 Layers of Protection” the following features are included on this case:
- Foam sound-isolating ring over microphone
- Sound is transmitted through case
- Acoustic vent on headset speaker
- Added bump, drop, and shock protection
- Sleek, slim fit to BlackBerry device
- Full use of camera, trackpad, and flash
- Silicone plugs provide access to all ports
- Includes holster style swivel belt clip
I have scored this one quite low when compared to some of my previous reviews for OtterBox. It is still one of the best cases on the market for a rough and rugged lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I will continue to keep using the Defender case until I upgrade devices or until Otterbox does a re-design. I would just like to see them change the silicon compound so as to not attract so much dirt and dust, switch back to the old style holster as it was a lot sturdier than the new design and maybe throw some colour into the mould machine…
If you work in a non-forgiving environment and own a BlackBerry then you can’t go past the OtterBox for its plain and simple usability and ruggedness. It will protect from scratches, dust and drops with ease. At just $49.95, you just can’t really go past OtterBox…