Review: OtterBox Defender for BlackBerry 9700

Review : OtterBox Defender for BlackBerry Bold 9700
Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

Cost: $49.95 + shipping
Link: www.otterbox.com

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

Conclusion:

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…

10 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Thanks for the review. I like the fact it has “real” protection for the screen, I thought about buying this but I’ll keep looking.

  2. Sorry for saying that but I’ve never ever spent $50 for a case.

  3. Good accurate review. I work an industrial setting and love my case. I was disappointed when I broke my holster but when I called to order a new one then shipped a replacement free of charge. Not even shipping. Can’t beat that. I am thrilled with mine.

  4. Good review Greg. It’s unfortunate to see what has become of OtterBox lately. They WERE the utmost in device protection. Seems to be the consensus on reviews of the latest generation of Defender cases that the belt clip is a SERIOUS weak spot. Every review I’ve read points out how easy your device is dislodged from your belt, and what good is a $50 case if the device falls off your belt and is destroyed or lost? My wife has one for her Storm2 and it’s definately so insecure in the belt clip she refuses to even try to use it for fear of it dislodging at an inopportune time.

    That’s NOT GOOD for the markets (public safety, construction, industrial, etc.)targetted for this extreme protection. I guess it is good that it does such a good job with the device protection as it’s going to be very necessary as long as they continue with the current clip design. Let’s hope Otterbox solves this and soon or their “brand name” is going to suffer. IMHO they should develop a “better clip” and offer it free of charge to anyone with a Defender that inquires. That would show their commitment to the product and go a long way towards rectifying the depreciation of the nearly impregnable reputation they had before this latest series of Defenders.

    • The “better clip” the Otterbox needs is simply the old one. I have the old Defender on my 8900 and I love it mostly because of the holster. I didn’t like the whole kit at first because I find it too bulky, but ended up using it because the holster is really, really good. I love how easy it is to draw my BlackBerry and put it back. And it sits very firmly. There is a certain correct way to draw the BlackBerry, or else it won’t come out. And the belt clip clutches so hard at my belt sometimes it’s really difficult to take it off when I get home. Sometimes I will take off the belt first so I can slide it off from under the Otterbox clip which adamantly refuses to let go!

  5. I am very happy with the case but the clip is s**t hope they will put out a new design soon cuz I almost lost my phone
    If it breaks than I can get a new one from insurance if I lose it I don’t get anything!!

  6. The tabs that hold the case broke off my clip. I wrote an email to otterbox and they shipped me a new clip, no questions asked and free shipping!!!

  7. I have done an update review on the holster since OtterBox have made some changes to the original design. http://www.berryreview.com/2010/05/19/update-otterbox-fix-on-the-holster-for-the-9700-defender/
    Kindest Regards,
    Greg Myers

    • I have the latest Defender for my BB and it’s great. I’m not in construction or any industrial type of field, but I have little boys that love to talk on mommy’s phone. You know where I’m going with this.

      When I first put the casing on my BBB 9700 I knew the protection was outstanding, but when I went to put the phone into the holster, my phone wouldn’t fit. I tried pushing it in facing front and back, but it wouldn’t “fit” and I wasn’t going to take any chances of my phone dropping out and loosing it so I set the holster aside and eventually recycled it because it wasn’t doing me any good and I figured there wasn’t anything I could do. Then the day you wrote the review, my brother-in-law read it and emailed/called right away to tell me I wasn’t the only one with a problem.

      I emailed OtterBox and they said their engineers knew of the problem. They offerred to send me a replacement holster (very client oriented), but I’m going to wait. I’m going to keep a look out for your next review of the Defender for the BBB 9700 that will hopefully bring good tidings, which I will then contact them again.

  8. I totally agree with the fact that a better holster needs to be designed for the 9700! I work as a volunteer Firefighter and have gone through several of these holsters as a result of the plastic pieces snapping off. This of course leads to the phone falling out of the case, fortunately the rest of the case is AWESOME! I have no complaints about Otter box other than the holster. That being said all it took was a quick call to them and they shipped me a brand new holster for FREE! They have a loyal customer in me!

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