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Review: OtterBox Defender for the BlackBerry PlayBook

Hey Everyone! It has been a while and thought I’d arrange to have an accessory review written up for what will eventually be, one of the most powerful tablets on the market.  I invited my friend Sabesh, who is, like myself, one of the biggest cell phone nuts I know.  Sabesh often finds himself in different environments that requires special protection for his devices.  I thought, since I don’t own a PlayBook myself, this would be a great opportunity to invite someone who knows what they’re talking about, to do a write up on the OtterBox Defender for the PlayBook.

OtterBox Defenders are 3-piece extreme-protective cases designed to withstand moderate drops and spills. By general consensus, they are considered to be the best at what they do. Hence, I was happy to come into possession of this venerable case. There’s no mistaking that it’s a classic OtterBox Defender: 2 snap-on polycarbonate shells to enclose the Playbook and a touch silicone outer layer enclosing the polycarbonate shell for secure protection. It comes in minimalistic packaging with a “built for Blackberry” logo emblazoned on it. Pictorial instructions are printed inside the box.

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High-quality polycarbonate shell:
This is a two part polycarbonate shell which is fitted for the PlayBook. The top portion has a clear protective membrane touch screen that lays on top of the PlayBook’s LCD screen. The two shells snap together around the PlayBook. Snap-on points are located on top & bottom (2 lock-points each). These snap-on points also double up to mount the protective shield. The entire PlayBook is now covered protecting it from the elements. This shell has elevated sides for better handling and for securing the PlayBook firmly in your hands.

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Clear protective membrane touch screen:
This touchscreen is conductive and no loss of performance can be noted. It really is quite a remarkable technology. The membrane lays on top of the PlayBook’s touchscreen and conveys all touches and gestures perfectly. This membrane helps seal the entire PlayBook, which I think is a pioneering effort in the Tablet industry. This hard membrane doubles up as protection for the LCD screen. Video calls can be made without removing the case, as the membrane is clear.

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Durable silicone skin:
To add more protection and better grip, the flexible silicone skin covers the rear & edges of the PlayBook. Usability of the PlayBook is further enhanced by the ergonomics of this skin. The media & charging ports beneath the PlayBook are protected by a silicone flap, sealing the entire PlayBook. Power button & volume button have silicone plugs on top.

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Protective shield / 2-angle stand:
This is another design triumph. The shield can be click-mounted on top of the membrane/LCD when the PlayBook isn’t in use, providing an additional layer of protection. It can also be mounted at the back when using the PlayBook in your hands (for additional grip or if you can’t find a place to put away the shield when on the go). This shield also doubles as a stand. The mechanism for the stand in the shield can be easily elevated or collapsed. Once elevated, there are two viewing angles, depending on which side the PlayBook is placed. The shield also has a sliding door for the camera. When using the shield, the door can be slid to expose the camera or closed to provide additional shielding.

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Once everything is in place, the case provides access to the speakers, microphones, camera & volume/media buttons. I have no doubt about the toughness and durability of this case. It feels as if it can take a lickin’ n’ keep on tickin’! I would say that it is water resistant to some extent. The collapsible stand/shield is a boon for field workers and those on the go. Despite all this protection, it is a ruggedly handsome case.

Dimensions:
WEIGHT WITHOUT SHIELD: 11.99 oz / 340.19 g.
5.78 in x 8.03in x 1.17 in (146.81 mm x 204.06 mm x 29.82 mm).

Pros:
– Highly protective case tailor-made for the PlayBook, providing ultimate protection & functionality.
– Touch Membrane for the LCD for protection with no loss of performance.
– Shield for grip, protection and collapsible stand.
– Easily accessible media & charging ports.
– Ports for speakers, microphones, camera.

Cons:
– Adds a bit of bulk and weight: Not a concern for repeat OtterBox buyers who expect this.
– Power button is hard to press, due to PlayBook’s recessed power-button design.
– Attracts some dust, but not as much as earlier OtterBox designs. I see that OtterBox has been improving their silicone to lessen dust attraction.

21 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. jesus that looks like a tank

  2. It is quite big!

  3. Looks solid! Reminds me of when we first saw the PlayBook encased between 2 slabs of glass. Pretty cool how its still fully functional with the membrane on.

  4. Hey guys, can you please tell me what material the “membrane” on the screen feels like? Does it emulate glass, is it plasticky (does it slow down your fingers as opposed to using the glass screen), or is it that textured, sort of “rough” material that feels fantastic on your fingers? If it’s the latter, I will definitely pick one up!

  5. is heat a concern for these cases? i notice that the playbook alone can get warm on the back even without a case .

  6. Hey Guys,
    I’ve asked Sabesh to chime in and answer your questions.

  7. Matt:
    The feel of the membrane is somwhere between glass & an anti-glare/matte screen guard: Not quite sticky, not quite coarse. Even with stickey fingers, gesture flow smoothly. It does show marks from fingers, but not much.

    markchavez:
    The case does a great job of dissipating the heat: I do not feel the warmth at all.

    • Heya Sabesh, thanks for the reply. 1 more thing about the screenguard. Would you say it’s easier to slide your fingers across the screen than the glass? It’s just I remember one of the matte screen protectors for the ipad and it literally felt like your fingers were touching silk, it was the best thing ever. Is this a similar experience? Thanks in advance man!

  8. Hey Matt,

    Nope, it’s not as silky smooth as a Matt screen protector, but very close. I doubt anything will match the smoothness of a Matt protector.

    Cheers,

    Sabesh.

    • Oh thanks a lot man. Mhmm, I was wondering if one could put a matte screen protector over the screen just to get that texture. Do you reckon it would alter touch sensitivity?

  9. This is really great one as we can protect our favorite blackberry handsets by spills and fall down and its also cool by having screen touch on it so the users do not have to remove the handset

  10. Matt: Yes, I believe that it will impact sensitivity. However, although not as smooth as a matte screen protector, it is still very smooth. Cheers.

  11. This apps is really great for the blackberry handsets user and frequent traveler from flight and also other travelers. this apps could help them to track their luggage and also helps to protect them to getting lost of any baggage.

  12. Looks Great! Reminds me of when I first saw the PlayBook encased between 2 slabs of glass. Pretty cool how its still fully functional with the membrane on.

  13. Hey guys, can you please tell me what material the “membrane” on the screen feels like? Does it emulate glass, is it plastic, or is it that textured, sort of “rough” material that feels fantastic on your fingers?

  14. testriq: The membrane is essentially, hard clear plastic and feels as such. Smooth and takes in some fingerprints, but not much. Cheers.

  15. Would you say it’s easier to slide your fingers across the screen than the glass? It’s just I remember one of the matte screen protectors for the ipad and it literally felt like your fingers were touching silk, it was the best thing ever. Is this a similar experience? Thanks in advance man!

  16. Yep, I would say that it’s easier to slide on the Membrane as opposed to glass. Cheers.

  17. This cover is really very great and it protects our blackberry. It is hard and big and do not lets any harm to your phone

  18. This is a really a great protection made to our blackberry phones as with this it helps the to protect it from getting damaged and broken

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