The Palm Pre/Pre Plus run an awesome operating system, but the hardware is not the best available in the smartphone market. OtterBox makes durable, protective cases and they sent me their latest Palm Pre Tandem Series case that works on the Sprint Palm Pre, Verizon Palm Pre Plus, and AT&T Palm Pre Plus to offer a decent level of protection. I placed it on my Palm Pre Plus and used it recently during a visit to a shipyard in Alaska, which is the perfect environment for such a case. You can check out photos of the case in my image gallery and read about my experiences with the case below.
Retail package and case construction
The OtterBox Tandem Series case comes in a two piece plastic retail package that is nice and easy to open. Inside the package you will find the two pieces of the case, a self-adhering screen protector, installation card, screen cleaning cloth, and installation instructions.
The case pieces are impact resistant polycarbonate material with rubber pieces embedded along the sides and bottom. This rubber gives you the ability to hold the device with minimal slippage and it felt great in my hand. There are openings for the speaker, camera & flash, mute/ringer switch, and microUSB port. There are rubber buttons over the volume button and power button that let you activate these functions with the case wrapped around your Palm device.
The case is designed to add protection against bumps and shocks, but it is not waterproof or designed for heavy impact resistance.
Installation and removal
I wasn't sure how the OtterBox case would attach to the Pre Plus, but quickly discovered that there are very small plastic extensions that hold it securely in place. You simply rest the back of the Pre Plus into the large case piece and it remains there quite well. For the smaller piece around the display you place it on and find that these very small plastic pieces are along the bottom to hold the shell onto the Pre. I actually found it quite difficult to remove my Pre Plus from the case when I wanted to take it out after my review.
Experiences with the OtterBox Tandem Series
The case adds very little in weight and size to the Palm Pre/Pre Plus and I found it offered much better slip resistance than the default soft touch back on my Pre Plus. I felt better in the shipyard and when out and about knowing that the Pre Plus was protected a bit from slips and falls, especially since the device already has a rather cheap feel to it. I like the look of the case and rubber sides that still let me slip the Pre Plus into my jeans pocket.
I don't use a screen protector on my Pre Plus, but did try the one out from OtterBox that is included in the package. The protector was very easy to apply, but is designed to cover and protect the viewable touchscreen display. The cool thing about the Pre Plus is that the display sort of melts into the full front of the device with no real distinction around the edges. The screen protector does protect the touchscreen area, but now makes this area stand out from the rest of the front and I didn't like that look so I took off the protector after a couple of days.
However, there is one major reason that I will not use the OtterBox Tandem Series on my Pre Plus on a daily basis and that is the lack of ability to use the Touchstone charger. I have a Touchstone at home and one at work and find this convenient charging method to be one of the distinguishing convenient features of these Palm devices. The microUSB port cover is a bit awkward to remove and with the OtterBox case on the Pre Plus this door is even more difficult to remove. I think the only way that OtterBox could support the Touchstone is if they designed the back to replace the back of your Pre with the proper connection point to the battery like the Touchstone replacement cover does.
I never dropped my Pre Plus or tested out the limits of the shock or bump protection of the case because I didn't want to destroy my smartphone. The case does feel great in your hand, is light, and offers good protection for those out and about a lot with their Palm device. The case is available now for $29.95 on the OtterBox site.