Smartphones and tablets are cool, useful and sadly, fragile. I remember the first time I dropped my brand new iPhone about an hour after I purchased it. This was the original model and it had a nice big dent in metal backing the upper left hand corner. It was at that point that I fully embraced the absolute necessity of a protective case.
The problem with smartphone and other mobile device cases are that they are hit-or miss. The prices vary about as much as the quality. And in my experience, even some expensive cases cannot handle the daily beatings that mobile devices undergo on a daily basis. Some cases fit nicely but don’t offer the protection I need.Â Other cases are tanks but ultimately are too bulky and heavy. It just seems that smartphone case companies just cannot come up with that right mixture of aesthetics and durability that many others and I are looking for.
All of that changed however, when I was introduced to OtterBox.
OtterBox is a small company based in Fort Collins Colorado that specializes in cases that are “dedicated to all the klutzy, spontaneous, chaotic, graceless individuals who have broken a device or valuable due to their active lifestyle”.Â Quite simply, these guys make really good mobile device cases including Apple, Dell, HTC and BlackBerry. They’re not cheap but in this case, you get what you pay for.
I was given the opportunity to try out the two different OtterBox case models for my new 4th generation iPod Touch. The first case I tried out was the Defender series.Â This case is the most protective and rugged of the two. When I looked at the case while still in the package, I wasn’t sure if I would like it. The case has a rubberized exterior which I personally don’t like because I typically put my mobile devices in a front pocket. A rubber case tends to catch on the pocket and makes it difficult to slip in and out.
My other concern was the fact that the Defender has a built-in clear plastic screen protector. In every touch-screen device I’ve ever owned, I never used a screen protector because I’m concerned at the loss of touch sensitivity.
But when I opened the case and put it on the iTouch, my fears completely vanished. While the case indeed does have a partially rubberized exterior, it has a smooth texture that is both easy to grip and easily slides in and out of a pocket.
Additionally, the plastic screen that covers the touch screen was a pleasant surprise. In no way did it affect the sensitivity or responsiveness of touch input. The film rested snugly against the glass and most people would not even realize it’s there.
The second OtterBox case I tried was the commuter series. This is the more thin and lightweight case of the two. The case itself was made from the same rubber and plastic as the Defender case but is streamlined. In addition, there is no plastic film cover. Of these two cases, I personally preferred the Commuter series for my iPod Touch simply because it better shows off how thin the 4th generation Apple device is. But if you are highly prone do dropping your mobile device, you might want to get the extra protection of the Defender.
I’m highly impressed with the quality and finish of the OtterBox cases. Now, if they only made one for my new Nook Color, I’d be in heaven!
Article first published as OtterBox: A Smartphone Case Company that Finally Gets it Right on Technorati.