OtterBox for Amazon Kindle protects your summer reading

OtterBox for Amazon Kindle protects your summer reading

Summary: The Otterbox for Kindle protects your summer reading list, but with a weight and price compromise.


The Otterbox for Kindle protects your summer reading list, but with a weight and price compromise. Click on the photo to enlarge.

As some of you already know, back in May I gave up my battle with Amazon on ebooks and decided to become part of the Flock of Bezos. Yay, praised be the Kindle store! Hallelujah!

One of the reasons why I finally relented was the price -- the Kindle 3 with Special Offers is only $114.00. When the price of something drops from $400 to the almost-disposable level, you tend to release most of one's objections to whatever perceived weaknesses or deficits a product may have.

Still, while the Kindle's price level has now reached what I refer to now as "stupid inexpensive", it's not the kind of product that you want to replace on a regular basis. And while the device is well-designed, a drop onto a hardwood floor off the kitchen table or falling out of a beach bag onto concrete in the parking lot or bouncing onto the sidewalk outside of a Starbucks could very possibly destroy the device.

If you've given a Kindle as a gift to a junior high school student or even a younger child, you know how they tend to treat electronic devices. Heck, I know what my wife does to her electronic devices, and it's not pretty.

Fortunately Otterbox, which is known for its protective cases for smartphones and tablet computers, has now released the Commuter for Kindle 3.

I tend to favor the OtterBox cases for their superior protection of smartphones and tablets, and while they do add considerable bulk and weight to those devices, I usually feel that for the investment protection the $60-$90 the company charges when they launch a new case for a $500 device are generally worth the compromise and the cost.

At $50 retail for the OtterBox Commuter, it's a difficult decision when you are trying to protect only a $114 device.

However, if you look around, even on Amazon itself, the case can be bought for about $26 with a few dollars shipping, so then it's not so bad.

Construction quality and overall design is to be expected what you routinely get from OtterBox -- a strong polycarbonate back that adds improved rigidity to the sides, with a front silicone rubber jacket that protects the keyboard and other controls, and a clear plastic screen protector to prevent scratches on the display.

In most cases, I believe this rigid case design would prove to protect the device from regular falls and bumps and scrapes that would go along with routine use.

So what's wrong with it? Well, my wife is the heavy Kindle user in the household and she tells me that the silicone rubber tends to attract a lot of natural oils and particulate matter, so you will probably end up wiping the thing down quite a bit if you bring your bag of chips and your sandwich to the beach with you along with your Kindle.

Additionally, the clear plastic screen protector supplied with the OtterBox Commuter for Kindle 3 appears to negate some of the anti-glare features of the e-Ink screen, so you might not want to bother using it if you use your Kindle in direct sunlight outside. Fortunately, the OtterBox is easy to remove from the Kindle, so you don't have to use that screen protector all the time if you don't want to.

Still, even with these compromises, I think the OtterBox for Kindle 3 is probably a good accessory if you or one of your accident-prone family members plan to do a lot of heavy summer reading on the device.

Have you purchased a Otterbox for Kindle 3? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Topics: Mobility, Amazon, Hardware


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • Do they make an Otter Box for paper books?

    We hear of all the wonderful things about the Kindles, but in the end by the time you buy the Kindle, the book, the screen protector, the Otter Box, would it not just be cheaper and easier to buy that book in paperback if you just planning on going on vacation for a week to the beach, and want something to read?
    John Zern
    • RE: OtterBox for Amazon Kindle protects your summer reading

      @John Zern

      The trees, the trees, think of the trees! That's why there aren't any trees at the beach; they've been used for books. Totally getting a kindle. Thanks, Jason.
      • RE: OtterBox for Amazon Kindle protects your summer reading

        @khess Trees are a renewable resource. Paper is recyclable. Most logging companies plant new trees to replace the ones they are cutting down. Old books can be given away, donated to libraries, or recycled to become tomorrow's toilet paper.

        Now how about all these eReaders? Petroleum to make the plastic shell. Silicone for the chips. Lithium or Nickle for the batteries. Fiberglass for the circuit boards. Consider, for a minute, the growing problem of "tech waste". Some of these are recyclable, but hard to trace like recycled paper.

        Then there's the fact of consumer gouging - forcing you to pay the same price as paperback even though the factors of production are nearly non-existent. Then DRM. So on, so forth.

        So, enjoy your Kindle, surrendering your few remaining media rights, and the fact that they're not as eco-friendly as you think they are.
    • RE: OtterBox for Amazon Kindle protects your summer reading

      @John Zern But you only buy the former once. After which, every book purchase is simpler than physical purchase, as well as the storage of said books.
    • RE: OtterBox for Amazon Kindle protects your summer reading

      @John Zern

      You can just get an iLoc Kindle Case for just $2. At this price I bought some for friends and they all liked it. I got mine at
  • from Jason's wife

    I have dropped my Kindle AT LEAST five times in the past 72 hours. Onto wood floors, tile floors, carpeted floors and asphalt. Wood floors mostly as it frequently falls out of my hands when reading in bed (when I fall asleep) and lands on the wooden floor. So, yes, the Otterbox is well worth it. It just bounces and is fine.

    However, I found the clear plastic screen protector annoying. The kindle screen wasn't immaculately cleaned before it was applied, so there were a few tiny air bubbles around specks of dust. Also, like Jason said, it now had glare. So, I removed it.

    I noticed a scratch my screen the other day. Sad.
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