Case review: OtterBox Commuter Series for iPhone 4

Posted by Matt P. on Sep 21, 2011

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OtterBox is known for making some of the most heavy duty and durable cases on the market to protect your delicate products. But if you’re someone who doesn’t want extreme bulk and are looking for a more slim, yet more protective case for your iPhone, OtterBox hasn’t forgotten about you. Does the Commuter Series case stand up to the tests? Should this be your next case? Or should you pass on it and not look back? Read on for our full review of  the OtterBox Commuter Series case for the Apple iPhone 4!

Packaging

First let’s start off with what OtterBox gives you. The iconic black and yellow packaging showcases the Commuter, which in this case is the white and black variant, but also available in a handful of different color variations. When you take the Commuter out of the packing you flip open the back and included are a screen protector, screen wipe and an installation card to make sure you get all the bubbles out of the screen protector.

Design

Now with that aside, we can look at the case itself. The Commuter is actually made up of two separate pieces. The inside piece is of a black silicone which then is wrapped on the outside with a harder plastic piece covering most of the back with cutouts for the camera and LED flash, volume rocker and volume keys, along with a circular cutout to make sure the iconic Apple logo is still on display. Now mind you, it did take a little bit to get the plastic casing wrapped around the silicone case and have it fit how it was supposed to at first. The attached pieces for the ports caused a little trouble when putting it on and taking it off. The slim, yet protective design of the OtterBox Commuter is very well designed. The flow between the silicone and plastic cases feels very nice in the hand and adds very little bulk compared to other protective cases.

Accessibility

Because the Commuter covers all open buttons on the iPhone, it can be a hassle getting to some. We had no problems getting to the volume rocker to flick it up and down. It also gives ample room for the Verizon model that has the volume rocker slightly lowered down. The volume buttons being covered also offered no hassle; same goes for the 3.5mm headphone jack. We did think that it was a little harder to press the power button on and off compared to no case on. We also noticed no difference in pictures and flash with the case being on and off, so there is no interference from the circular cutouts. The biggest gripe we have with the silicone case covering the ports is the USB charging port. There is very minimal room to peel back the silicone piece, but once you peel it back and has the charger inserted, there seemed to be no problems with taking it out of the port afterwards.

Protection

The OtterBox Commuter has a slim profile, but that doesn’t take away the protection that it gives you. The silicone case is raised around the whole iPhone screen and is held in place by the plastic back casing on the center of both sides, as well as the top and bottom. On the back, the circular cutout on the Apple logo is raised so no hard surface will be in contact with the back glass. The camera is also well down inside of the case and does not allow any surface scratches to occur.

Pros

  • Gives protection all around, even for volume buttons, headphone jack and charging port
  • Doesn’t add much extra weight to the device
  • Minimal bulk added for protection offered

Cons

  • Unprotected silicone gets loose
  • Back plastic piece bends out of place easily
  • Power/Sleep button is harder to press with the case on

Wrap-up


The OtterBox Commuter Series case is very well designed and well executed. The slim profile gives you minimal bulk for the protection that it adds to your device and looks good doing so. If you’re in the market for a new case to your iPhone 4 and need the protection and don’t want an extremely heavy case, we can absolutely recommend the OtterBox Commuter. It can be purchased on the OtterBox website for $34.95 and is available in eight different color variants.

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Matt P. (36 Posts) - Website | Twitter | Facebook


Matt is a self-proclaimed tech junkie, starting at a young age where messing on the PC was just something to kill time, to now going to school in Michigan working toward a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Networking and Associates in Journalism. Matt started blogging on a self-made Tumblr, where he soon realized that technology and blogging was his niche. You can also find him messing around with multiple mobile OS’s, but somehow he always finds a way back to his iPhone. So here he is now, from a Tumblr, to a mobile OS loving Editor at Mobilitysite. Matt can be contacted via email: matt(at)mobilitysite(dot)com

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