Derek De La Cruz | Dec 20 2012 04:30 PM
When we talk mobile device cases, Otterbox is one of the names that comes up as a fan favorite on a regular basis; their Commuter and Defender case lines have endeared themselves to many mobile enthusiasts. I've got an Otterbox Commuter case in-hand for Samsung's Galaxy S3 phone. Will it stand up to the rigors of daily use?
The Commuter series consist of two layers of protection. The inner layer is a silicon base that protects the corners, buttons, ports, and acts as a buffer for the hard outer shell. The outer shell protects the top and bottom, sides, and back of the phone, with cutouts for the silicon button and port guards to come through. The combination helps protect against falls, dings, and provides peace of mind for those constantly on the go. I did notice a manufacturing imperfection on the inner silicon layer; there was a dime-sized rough spot that appears to have been caused by a mishap during the shaping process. In my long experience with Otterbox products, this is the first time I've seen an imperfection of this size, leading me to believe it missed the quality control check. It isn't in a location that will affect performance or visual appeal, but it is disconcerting nonetheless.
The case fits perfectly on the SGS3 providing a great feel, grip, and overall solid protection. The cutouts for the camera, speaker, flash, and mics are spot-on, causing zero obstructions and allowing full functionality. The other physical buttons and ports (headphone & charger) are covered by silicone. The silicone is tough at first, making it a bit difficult to push the physical buttons down, but loosens up after some usage. The part I do not like is the covered headphone & charger port. It's a normal design for Commuter cases to prevent debris from entering in but gets very annoying having to opening the flap everything to use the ports. Just think how often you use the headphone and charging ports and how many times you'll be tugging on the silicon plugs. These plugs make perfect sense for the Defender case series, but they might warrant some reexamination on a line that's not geared for rugged environmental use.
Black on black is classic Otterbox, but they now support different colors for some Android models. The colors are a great addition for a series that originally offer a very monochromatic selection. The Night Sky blue looks great in my opinion, but my ultimate favorite has to be the Atomic Green & Blue. If you are the kind of customer who wants your case color to match your Galaxy S3's color, Otterbox offers Night Sky (Blue) & Cravesse (White) cases.
Overall, I am very satisfied with the Commuter case for the SGS3. It provides great protection throughout the entire device and comes with a screen protector to round out the package. Despite the minor imperfection & covered ports, I would still recommend this case because those issues are not detrimental to the overall experience & value. Otterbox cases are built to last and protect and even with a full price of $34.95 I would urge you to still consider. You can always purchase 3-4 cases for the price of one Commuter case but you will not get this kind of protection.