* Prices may differ from that shown
A few months ago, my contract for my mobile phone was up for renewal, and as pretty much everyone I know currently uses a smart phone I figured, I might as well upgrade to the latest Blackberry in the form of the Torch 9800. I am probably one of the clumsiest people I know so I decided before I'd even start using my shiny new phone that some form of protection was required in terms of a case to protect my new toy from any damage from careless knocks and drops.
My partner has the Blackberry bold and purchased the Otter box defender case for it and so he recommended that I have a look to see what Otter box could offer me for my Blackberry Torch. The only case available was a very attractive looking Commuter case which I decided to go for.
You may ask yourself...how does a 4 legged water dwelling whiskered creature protect your shiny new smart phone. Well let me tell you this - you do not need keep any livestock in the vicinity of your mobile phone, nor do you need to keep a healthy supply of Sardines in the cupboard...I have provided guidelines below
==who are Otter box==
Otter box are an American company who have been around since 1998 and are one of the leading providers of protective cases for various hand held devices including my shiny new smart phone. In recognising a global demand for this type of product we as consumers can purchase this product from various retailers here in the UK including the official Blackberry website for the UK and Amazon.
==how much do you pay for the Otter box Commuter case==
My Case cost me £17.99 from Amazon which although expensive I was more than happy to pay because anything that will help me keep my phone free from scratches and the recognisable signs of wear and tear is worth splashing a little cash on.
==about the commuter case==
Because of the design of the blackberry torch, this particular case comes in 3 parts; A protective polycarbonate shell to cover the front sliding panel which houses the screen; a silicone mid section which has plugs for port protection such as your charging port and headphone port with raised areas where the buttons are located on the actual phone so you don't lose any functionality and of course a further Otterbox branded polycarbonate shell to pop over the silicone mid section protecting the back section of the phone. The silicone is an important feature as this helps to absorb any shock from knocks and drops and unlike pure silicone cases won't pick up dust and fluff particles when in your handbag or pocket, while the polycarbonate casing helps to reduce scratches and chips that can often be caused due to everyday wear and tear.
==Ease of Application==
When I first got my commuter case I was very excited as it meant I could start using my phone without the worry of it getting carelessly damaged. I removed the case from the box and set about applying it to my phone. The front panel clipped on easily enough and didn't obstruct any functions on the main screen or front section of the phone, but the one thing I noticed was how much bulkier my phone immediately looked, and that was even before I'd attempted to attach the silicone layer and back panel. I tried, to put the silicone layer over the back of the phone first and then polycarbonate casing over the top but found that this didn't really work out as there are open sections on the polycarbonate casing where the silicone buttons and port protectors slot into and I found that attempting to put the casing on over the top was just stretching the silicone, so I made another attempt at putting the cover on by first slotting the silicone inside the polycarbonate casing as it would sit while on the phone and popping it on that way.....well it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to get on but pulling the durable polycarbonate casing up and over the top of the phone I eventually succeeded, and was delighted to see that everything slotted in exactly where it should.
==How protective is the commuter case?==
I've been using my phone solidly now since the beginning of December and have to say that I find that this particular case provides me with piece of mind that my phone remains protected at all times. My phone has dropped out of my pocket on a couple of occasions to the ground outside and upon inspection; the durable Otter box casing has withstood any notable damage, with only the odd scratch to be found on the polycarbonate shell. Had my phone not been protected with the Commuter case I imagine I'd have seen a few nasty chips appear here and there on the metallic outer rim and some scratches to the back panel, which I have thankfully managed to avoid.
The one thing to note is that I imagine it would be near impossible to keep your phone in the new condition it was in when first received and I don't know if any case would provide you with complete protection from the occasional scratch here and there, so it's important for me to point out that this case is not without its flaws, and while it has protected my phone from what could potentially have been quite severe damage, there are still little particles of dust and goodness knows what else that manage to creep their way underneath the casing itself which have caused a number of flaws to appear on the metallic outer layer on the front slide panel of the phone caused by what looks like rubbing.
Other than this particular flaw I can confirm that the case is very sturdy, rugged and durable and I expect it to last me until I get another shiny new phone.
==My final thoughts and overall opinion==
Ok so there are a couple of negative points that I have noted on this case, including the difficulty I had in getting it on initially, but over time I have removed the casing on several occasions and find it easier and easier to re-attach every time, kind of like it has more flex in it (or maybe I just understand better how it fits on...), and secondly, the rub marks found on the front slide panel caused by dust particles getting in underneath the front casing. Other than these small flaws, the case couldn't be better, it allows you to continue to use your phone to its maximum potential, and doesn't obstruct any of the functions or features. The ports for charging and inserting headphones are easily accessible, although if using a bed side charger the case has to be completely removed, as the bedside chargers have been designed and moulded to the exact size and shape of the phone. Although the case makes the phone a little bulkier than when in its standard form, it has no impact at all on the sound quality and I think in all its ruggedness it's actually quite an attractive case. I opted for a plain black polycarbonate case with a pink silicone mid layer which adds a splash of colour to the phone without being over the top.
You don't buy a phone with the intention of damaging it through silly little accidents so I like having that little extra piece of mind knowing that my phone is protected at all times by my Otter box commuter case.