Otterbox Defender Blackberry Storm Case

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
April 15, 2009
Manufacturer
OtterBox
Views
47790
Otterbox Defender Blackberry Storm Case
The new OtterBox Defender Blackberry Storm case offers excellent grip and protection in a ruggedized manner. It comes complete with a holster and screen protection.

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Intro

OtterBox makes high end cases for typical electronic devices such as MP3 players and cell phones. Typically, the market that OtterBox covers is the ruggedized case portion. For the people that have their devices in harsh environments and take punishment, this company is where you should buy your case from. OtterBox released the Storm edition of the Defender a couple of months ago. This review focuses on the new version released a couple of weeks ago.

About The Company

Quote

Mastermind and CEO Curt Richardson, with his 25 years experience in tooling and molding wanted to build a company that was distinct and structured upon innovation and evolution. In 1996, OtterBox was born.

Our cases are dedicated to all the klutzy, spontaneous, chaotic, graceless individuals who have broken a device or valuable due to their active lifestyle. Like our customers, we've been there too! From the beginning, we have protected valuables through innovation. This "innovative spirit" has allowed evolution in our product lines to safeguard the hottest technologies such as iPod's, smartphones, PDA's, Tablet PC's, laptops and other devices. We take the idea of a protective case to the next level so customers can find the ideal solution for any work environment or adventure!

Ok, rewind a bit to the name origination, we know you're wondering. On a drive to Denver, Curt and his wife Nancy were brainstorming company names. The name needed to be exciting and something people wouldn't forget. They wanted "box" to be in the name, but also wanted to incorporate "water" because the original OtterBox case line is waterproof (oceanic tidbit: an Otter's fur has a waterproof quality). Because of their fun, playful disposition "Otter" was the perfect fit! Well, the name stuck and we have to admit our logo is pretty darn cute too!

OtterBox is located in one of the greatest cities in America and no, we're not completely biased, see Money Magazine's 2006 rating for Best Places to Live. Yes, Fort Collins, Colorado is ranked #1. With easy access to the mountains for biking, hiking, running, camping, skiing, snowboarding and other activities, many of us use our cases every day. We also serve as excellent "guinea pigs" for new product testing.

We're a fun, hard working, creative bunch that enjoy a good laugh and a good beer, especially come Friday. We have in-house sales, customer service, engineering, public relations, marketing, web design, graphics and even our own warehouse.

At OtterBox, it's not one person changing the world of cases, it's a team!


First Edition

The first edition of the case was a good start, but never should have left QA testing. When installed, the screen edges were unusable due to the bevel on the case so typing keys such as spacebar and such wouldn't work correctly. In addition, the sound quality was terrible and when pressing the screen, the hard buttons would get pressed sometimes as well. In response, OtterBox came out with an updated design to fix the issues and they did an excellent job. You will want the new version of the case, but they look identical.

Packaging

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OtterBox packaging is traditionally black and yellow. Branding is big when you're in the retail space and brand recognition is very important.

Case

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The bundle comes with two parts. The Blackberry Storm is shown on the right of the case. In addition, the case comes with the holster with a belt clip. Traditionally, you either purchased a holster or a case, not both. It is good to see a product that offers protection and usability like this. RIM dropped the ball by not providing OEM holsters with the Storm and customers much purchase it on their own. The holster includes the magnet to tell the Storm that it is in the holster.

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The clip on the back of the holster can swivel to whatever position required and the OtterBox logo in embedded on the clip. The holster is made out of hard plastic and has rubber inserts to hold the case tightly so it doesn't slip out.

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The case portion of the bundle comes in three pieces. There is a hard inner shell made up two pieces that snap onto the Blackberry Storm and a rubberized plastic shell that covers the hard plastic shell.

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Attaching the case to the Storm is easy. The hard plastic portion clips together and contains nubs all on the sides to hold the rubbery outer shell in place. Both cases have ports and bumps for the various buttons such. The hard inner shell has voids where the buttons are location and the soft shell contain either a flip out port (for the USB/headphone) or a raised surface for the buttons.
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Case (continued)

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Don't let the glare fool you, the protective screen on the hard shell is clear. You do get some added glare, but the Storm is good at adjusting its brightness to fix those sorts of issues. In addition, the screen protection does not diminish the touch screen in anyway. There is a period of breaking in the protection, though. Initially, the screen protection will be a bit sticky (good friction since it is new). Over time, the oils and such on your hands will make the screen easier to navigate once again. In a day, it will be a breeze to use.

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Dust is a problem with black cases and dust seems to get into the case between the screen protection and the Storm itself. Remember that Blackberries have a notorious need for battery pulls so you'll have to remove the case to get to the battery if the Storm crashes (which happens often with the official firmware from Verizon, thanks Verizon!). The back contains clear protection for the camera lens as well. All in all, the design is very well thought out.

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The soft case has ports and holes for the hard buttons and ports on the Storm itself. The outer shell is less like a skin since the Defender really cannot be used without the soft outer shell. Each port (USB/audio) contains a flap that closes when not in use. It isn't watertight, but it will be better than nothing in the rain.

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All the buttons are easy to press and the case does not hamper the function of the unit.

Testing

The new version of the Defender series case for the Blackberry Storm is a dream to use. OtterBox listened to feedback with their previous edition and now the case is pretty much perfect. The entire screen is easily selectable and nothing gets pressed accidentally. Talking on the phone is just as fine as it was without the case and the speaker phone is fine as well. The ambient light sensor still works through the case since there is an opening for it.

Placing the phone in the holster is easy enough by pushing it in and it locks. The grip is fairly secure, it takes a bit of force to remove it which is good since you don't want to have the phone falling out when in the holster. The holster doesn't use a clip to lock the phone in place, it uses the ribbed hard plastic on the back of the case and a rubbery stopper on the holster. This works well in practice. A simple grab will get the phone released from the holster in time to pickup the call.

Conclusion

The OtterBox Defender Series Case for the Blackberry Storm »retails for about $40 at the time of this review. At this price it is a well worth it purchase for a ruggedized case of exceptional build quality. That being said, make sure you purchase the second version of this case. If you purchase a Defender series for the Storm and the screen is hard to press on the edges, return it and get another one.

OtterBox listened to the feedback and now presents a product that is near perfect as you can get. The Defender is a dream to use and if you have a Storm, do yourself a favor and check out the Defender series for the Storm from OtterBox.



ASE Labs would like to thank [url=http://www.otterbox.com/]OtterBox[/ur] for making this review possible.

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