Review: OtterBox Defender for BlackBerry 9100 Pearl

Editors Choice Award Winner.

Review: OtterBox Defender Case for BlackBerry 9100 Pearl

[rating: 10 out of 10]

Cost: $49.95 (+ delivery)

Link: BlackBerry Pearl 9100 Defender Series Case

Well OtterBox have done it again. They have managed to squeeze another Editors Choice Award from me. All I can say is that it is well deserved. The team over at Colorado have re-designed the holster completely which was my major gripe with a couple of previous Defender cases, namely the Defender for the Bold 9700 and Storm 2.

More after the break…

Just because the Pearl is not the most expensive BlackBerry on the market doesn’t mean owners of these devices wont want to protect the baby BlackBerry. If you have an active lifestyle or work in dusty, dirty or wet environment, the Defender case is perfectly suited to you.

Another reason would be for resale value. Let me explain. Every BlackBerry I’ve ever owned has been put in an OtterBox product either from the un-boxing stage or just at a few weeks old. Out of a dozen or so BlackBerrys, not one of them has a single blemish or scratch on the outer casing or keyboard. (With exception to the trackball on the older devices). If I was to sell these on EBay or similar, I could quite honestly state the condition as ‘Perfect’ or “As New’. With the initial buying price for the case at around the $50 mark, I’m sure to make that up in the resale. Food for thought ?

Anyway, on with the review.

From the re-design of the holster, right through to a new ‘grip’ surface around the perimeter of the device itself, the OtterBox design team have really made some improvements on previous models. I would even go as far to say that this is the best OtterBox product I have seen…

As with all OtterBox products, all of the buttons, plugs and charge/sync points are accessible with the case fitted. The LED status indicator is visible and the camera/flash is fully functional whilst still in the case.

When you receive your new OtterBox case be sure to read the instructions and take your time fitting the case. Cleaning your BlackBerry well with a lint free cloth will keep the inside of the screen cover and keyboard dust free and looking brand new for years to come.

OtterBox have once again used their ‘3 Layers of protection’ moto in the design and implementation in building this case.

  • layer 1: Clear protective membrane on screen and keypad ƒ
  • layer 2: Hi-impact polycarbonate shell ƒ
  • layer 3: Durable silicone skin

The BEST part of this new case is the holster. Surprisingly, it’s not something that OtterBox have really highlighted on the product information page on their home site. As you can see from the pictures I’ve included, the holster now has guides at the top as well as the standard on the bottom. This gives replacing the Pearl back in its holster a true, positive lock feeling unlike previous holsters. Your BlackBerry is still easy to remove from the holster when you need it and it doesn’t have that ‘is it going to fall out ?’ feel about it. There is a magnet incorporated it the holster so your Pearl acts just like it would in a factory RIM case and OtterBox have continued with the tried and true ratchet belt clip.

The screen cover is once again a rigid style we have seen on the last couple of Defender cases which works very well as does the contoured keyboard cover leaving adequate room around the trackpad for full usage. In the redesign, OtterBox have also trimmed back on the plastic around the keyboard making every key easily accessible and not hindering typing speed what so ever.

The top buttons are well detailed (see picture opposite) so there is not guessing as to the button layout and they can still be operated whilst in the holster.

There is a ribbed ridge on certain parts of the silicon skin casing vastly improving hold grip on your BlackBerry. OtterBox have really put some thought into this. If you have to answer your phone with greasy or wet hands, this improves the grip on device 10 fold. No more literally ‘dropping the call’ 🙂 .

The overall design doesn’t add much to the weight or bulk so don’t be alarmed if you think it’s going to make your Pearl feel like a Bold, it wont.


Well, there isn’t a lot more I can say. I could not find one single flaw or feature that I didn’t like on this case. If this is signs of things to come from OtterBox then I will be giving out a lot more Editor Choice Awards in the years to come.

At just under $50, this would be a perfect birthday or Christmas present for the BlackBerry addict in your family.

I would like to thank the team over at OtterBox for sending out this case for review and to my wife for taking these ‘artistic’ pictures for me.

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