Review: OtterBox Impact and Defender Series cases for the BlackBerry Bold

Review: OtterBox Impact and Defender Series cases for the BlackBerry Bold

Summary: I picked up a RIM BlackBerry Bold a couple of weeks ago and was extremely happy with the device. The inability to sync with my Exchange account forced me to return it though. If you own a BlackBerry Bold then you may want to check out one of these two OtterBox cases that offer differing levels of device protection. The OtterBox Impact Series and OtterBox Defender Series cases are attractive, durable solutions designed to protect your new device from minor to major impacts. You can check out my image gallery that shows both cases wrapped around the RIM BlackBerry Bold.

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I picked up a RIM BlackBerry Bold a couple of weeks ago and was extremely happy with the device. The inability to sync with my Exchange account forced me to return it though. If you own a BlackBerry Bold then you may want to check out one of these two OtterBox cases that offer differing levels of device protection. The OtterBox Impact Series and OtterBox Defender Series cases are attractive, durable solutions designed to protect your new device from minor to major impacts. You can check out my image gallery that shows both cases wrapped around the RIM BlackBerry Bold.


 Image Gallery:A walk around the Sprint Touch Pro and HTC Fuze Windows Mobile devices.  Image Gallery: OtterBox Impact Series box Image Gallery: OtterBox Defender Series case 

OtterBox Impact Series: Skin cases are quite popular today and I was pleased to see OtterBox provide one for the RIM BlackBerry Bold because I have always found their cases to be of the best quality with very little compromise in functionality. Most of the OtterBox cases I checked out in the past were the type with maximum protection that let you drop the case and use it in many environments. The OtterBox Impact Series is a bit different in that it is designed to offer a minimal level of protection and minimal impact on size.

As you pull the case from the retail packaging you will find a single piece of silicone that easily and quickly wraps around the Bold. There are cutouts for the 3.5mm headset jack and miniUSB port, as well as for the speakers and microphone. Raised silicone bumps protrude out on the sides so you can control the device functions by pressing right on the silicone pieces. OtterBox has reinforced the corners to offer better drop and bump protection in case your device slips out from your hand.

The silicone material feels great in your hand and since it adds very little in size or weight (only 0.6 ounces) it is easy to let your Bold live in the Impact case. The case is available in Black color and there is no belt clip included. The Bold will no longer fit into the holster that comes with the Bold so if you are a holster user than you may not want this type of case. It also no longer slips that easily into your pants pocket because the silicone makes it more difficult to slide. The OtterBox Impact Series case is available now for US$19.95 and if you are looking for a good basic level of protection then I recommend you check it out.

OtterBox Defender Series: The OtterBox Defender Series is the type of case I was expecting to see from OtterBox with maximum protection. Inside the box you will find a detailed instruction sheet, four pieces of the case, and a holster. The Defender Series is designed to give you bump, scratch, and drop protection in as light of a package as possible. It is not designed to be used under water or in severe elements like some of the even more durable cases they have so don't put your BlackBerry in the case and through it in the river (something I did with a Treo case in the past).

The four pieces of the case include a clear membrane piece, front and back polycarbonate panels, and silicone cover. The included detailed instruction sheet is helpful in assembling the pieces of the case together, including how to use the plastic membrane. The membrane piece aligns perfectly with the keyboard and then fits over the display and around the back. You should use a credit card to smooth out any bubbles under the membrane. I tried it without doing too much of this and the display still looks great when turned on if there are a few bubbles present. I saw very little impact on my typing speed with the membrane over the keyboard and think it is definitely worth it to use the membrane for keeping out dust and dirt when using the device out in the field.

After placing the membrane on the Bold place the Bold into the top panel. You then snap on the back panel. You will find there are openings for the 3.5mm headset jack and miniUSB port on the left side, both convenience buttons, volume controls, and mute switch. After the panels are snapped together, take the silicone cover and place it over both of the panels. There are small openings and nubs to secure the silicone case onto the panels. You will also now find there are raise silicone buttons over parts of the device, including the mute button, volume controls, and left/right convenience buttons. There is still an opening for the 3.5mm headset jack and minUSB port, but a rubber plug also fits securely into this opening when you are not accessing these ports.

The case is quite light at 2 ounces and doesn't add too much width or thickness to the device. My usage of the keyboard and Bold were not negatively impacted by the case and if you are going to be using your BlackBerry out of the office I think it is definitely worth it to have some high level of protection.

I used to be a big fan of belt clip cases, but over the last year I have gone away from using them and just through my device in my coat or pants pocket. You won't want to be trying to shove the Bold and Defender case in you pants pocket, but OtterBox does include a holster for you to use. The holster is very durable plastic with a magnet integrated for the BlackBerry standby experience. A solid belt clip that rotates 360 degrees (through very solid 15 degree increments) is attached to the holster. I know that most people I see with a BlackBerry for work have a holster so it is great to see OtterBox including one with this case too.

The OtterBox Defender Series case for the BlackBerry Bold is available now for US$49.95.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, BlackBerry

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  • Sound Echo Problem

    Protection is great, but the phones functionality is greatly compromised.

    Callers hear a conversationally debilitating echo.

    It appears that the sound from the speaker(s) on the phone gets caught in the case and is picked up by the microphone.

    Keeping the volume at a barely audible level solves the problem for the caller.
    accipiter gentilus