Review: OtterBox Commuter and Defender for BlackBerry Pearl 9100

Hey Guys! I know I have not posted a review in a while, but I felt that the products I am about to review deserved some mention!  Our friends at OtterBox were ever so kind enough to pass along my way both the OtterBox Commuter and Defender series cases for the BlackBerry Pearl 9100.  The BlackBerry Pearl 9100, having recently launched in the USA, has not had much exposure in the US.  Being in Canada though, we have had the device for a while and as a result, OtterBox and myself thought that it would be beneficial if I could review the cases until the device became more mainstream in the US.

rbb4-9100s-avon-44Let me begin with the OtterBox Commuter.  The device comes in 2 colours, Black and Pink.  OtterBox has recently released many of their cases in what they are calling “Strength”.  When purchasing the pink Strength cases, 10% of your purchase will be donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.  This organization donates money to all sources to allow access to patient care for those who may not be able to afford it!  For those looking to make their contribution to society during the upcoming holiday season, the Strength series of cases is a great way to not only get a really cool looking case, but also a great way to make a donation to a very important cause.

Like all other Commuter cases, this one contains the traditional two layers of protection.  The first layer, the under most layer, is the extremely durable Silicone skin.  Unlike the silicone cases that you may find in your local China-town shop or on eBay for a penny, OtterBox puts a lot of research into their silicone to ensure that it will live up to life…that is, that allows you to use the case naturally, every day, without having to worry about whether or not it will continue to protect your phone.  I am pleased to say that OtterBox has greatly improved on the quality of their silicone to help ensure that dust and other materials will not attach itself to the product as it has in the past.  They still have a little bit of work to do as it is not yet perfect, but it is the best I have seen thus far!  The second layer is the the polycarbonate outer shell.  This shell is a thin piece of “plastic” which basically wraps around the device itself, stiffening up the level of protection and durability that the silicone already offers the device.  These two layers, combined with the included screen protector that adheres to the screen, offers a very high level of protection for the regular daily user that is looking for a fashionable add-on to their device, while still allowing full ease of use!

The other product that I would like to touch upon is the OtterBox Defender.  While Greg has already given this product a perfect rating along with his long sought after Editors Choice Award, I thought I would share his sentiment.rbb2-9100s-20

I have been a fan of the Defender series of cases for a long time.  While my jobs have primarily been office based, most of these jobs have often involved me interacting with a warehouse for inventory related purposes.  It is when I am in these environments that I do not trust my OEM BlackBerry holsters to do the job.  This is where the OtterBox Defender comes into play.   The OtterBox Defender contains three layers of protection.  The layers are actually in reverse from the Commuter series.  The first layer contains the clear membrane, which is the screen protector, and the polycarbonate shell.  OtterBox has recently begun using an anti-glare style of membrane so that fingerprints and oils would greatly be reduced.  As well, this also prevents the membrane from sticking to the screen giving that wet look.  This polycarbonate shell, which the membrane is attached to, encompasses the entire device and then locks together to ensure that the phone is fully secure.  It almost looks like an exterior skeleton and it is that which offers the extreme high durability.  The second layer is the high quality silicone skin.  The skin wraps almost perfectly around the polycarbonate shell to ensure that your device has full vibration and shock protection while maintaining the BlackBerry Pearl 9100’s good looks!  One quirk that both Greg and myself noticed was on the left side of the screen, the silicone doesn’t seat 100% flush with the screen.  We are not sure if there is simply not enough room for the excess silicone (based on a manufacturing defect) or if it is simply a design flaw.  In any event, this flaw shouldn’t really disturb anyone from a protection or reliability standpoint and does not in anyway inhibit the functionality of the case!

rbb2-9100s-20-5The outermost layer, and the optional layer, is the very high quality Belt Swivel Holster.  The Holster is made from a very high quality plastic which you will never have to worry about breaking.   The swivel clip has a very loud audible click which is definitely a sign of high quality.  As well, the Holster includes the very easily ability to holster and deholster the device on the fly while eliminating any worry that the device will just fall out as was apparent on the original version of the BlackBerry Bold 9700 holster.  And of course, the holster contains the much sought after sleeper magnet to ensure maximum battery life from the BlackBerry Pearl 9100, which by the way, already has very high battery life.

All in all, I am very pleased with where OtterBox is going.  They are spending a lot of money on much needed research and development and are quickly becoming a mainstream accessory.  This is apparent by not only their improved quality, but by their increasing popularity.  It was only two years ago when no one in Canada knew what an OtterBox was.  No one carried them and unless you were “in the industry”, no one even knew what they were.  I am very happy with the exposure and popularity that the devices have had in Canada and as you can see from Greg and I’s review, the quality speaks for itself!

Thanks again to OtterBox for supplying me with the cases to write this review!

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