BlackBerry Case Review: OtterBox Defender Series Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100

By Remik Szul on 13 Nov 2007 04:01 pm EST

OtterBox Defender for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100

It's OK if Your BlackBerry Pearl 8100 likes it Rough

BlackBerry Users and Abusers Rejoice! Following the success of their Defender Series case for the BlackBerry 8800, OtterBox has released the Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100 (one for the Curve will be available at the end of this month). Rugged and durable, no other case on the market offers BlackBerry protection like an OtterBox does. 

The Defender case is offered in two colors, a yellow and black combo which is featured in this review, as well as an all-black version. You can pick either up from for $49.95. Regardless of the color you choose, you willl sleep well at night knowing your beloved BlackBerry Pearl 8100 is well-protected.

For the BlackBerry Pearl 8100 - Not the 8130/8120
Now I know that the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 is out in North America (and the 8120 in other parts of the world), and no sadly this case does not support the new Pearls. I did actually try putting my new 8130 into this case, and although it fits, a few of the side buttons on the new Pearl have been moved and the OtterBox triggers them inadvertently. Nevertheless, I'm sure there are plenty of you still sporting the 8100 and are looking for a solid rugged case like this. And if you are the lucky owner of a new 8130 or 8120 for that matter, I checked with Otterbox and they plan to have a Defender case for the 8120/8130 out in the first quarter of 2008. You won't have to wait too long.

OtterBox Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100
A Naked and Unprotected BlackBerry Pearl 8100

OtterBox Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100
The Assembled Unit - No BlackBerry Inside

OtterBox Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100
The case/holster will add some bulk to your Pearl, but it's Good Bulk

 OtterBox Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100
Holster, Case, Pearl

Several Layers of Protection
The OtterBox Defender comes with a several layers of protection for your Pearl. The first step to getting your BlackBerry protected is to put on the thermal formed protective clear membrane which acts as a safeguard for the screen and keyboard against scratches, dust and dirt. It somewhat tricky to get the layer on, but just line up the trackball first, and try to apply the screen smoothly to avoid air bubbles. The clear membrane is optional, so if you’re more worried about dropping your BlackBerry than it getting dirty, you can leave it off.

Next Step is to apply the lower portion of the hi-impact polycarbonate shell, and then snap on the top cover. This cover provides the bulk of the protection for your BlackBerry in the case that it accidentally gets dropped or stepped on.

Next, there is the silicon skin that goes over top of the shell. The Silicon acts as a bumper to absorb bumps and shocks. It will also hold the two pieces of your shell together, as well as provide extra grip when handling the case.

OtterBox Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100
The Case is Made of Several Components/Layers

 OtterBox Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100
Protective Membrane Slides Over the Display and Keyboard

OtterBox Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100
Once the Membrane is on, place it into the bottom half of the Case

OtterBox Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100
Snap the top half of the Case together with the bottom half

OtterBox Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100
The soft rubber shell pulls the package together. Pearl Protected!

OtterBox Defender Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100
Place the Pearl Display First into the Holster for Further Protection

Using the OtterBox
The Defender case feels sturdy in ones hand, and the silicon skin offers a nice solid grip to the package. The case does not interfere with controls and still made typing on the Pearl’s SureType keyboard easy. It allows full use of the Camera, and has access plugs for charging/syncing so you don't need to take your BlackBerry out of the case to charge it.

The Defender also comes with a belt clip holster. The proper way to use that would be to have your BlackBerry screen facing towards you, thus protecting the screen. As always, OtterBox's BlackBerry holster does contain that all-important magnet, so it puts your BlackBerry into standby/sleep mode when inserted.

The OtterBox case only weights 1.6oz and provides an extreme level of protection most common jobs would throw at it. I was so confident in the protection it provided, as a test I threw my 8100 in the OtterBox down a set of stairs (see video), and of course no harm was done. I was actually more worried about the OtterBox doing damage to the floor than the floor to the BlackBerry. ** note: don’t try this with your BlackBerry – OtterBox doesn’t guarantee the safety of your BlackBerry for that level of abuse and won't replace your device if you call them and say you saw it on! :-)


Lastly, I just wanted to note, that this case is not meant as an underwater case. It will offer some protection against water and dust, but I wouldn't count on it for protecting your Berry if it falls in water.

It's not waterproof and it's not indestructable, but it's damn tough and provides awesome protection and good looks (in that rugged sort of way) while maintaining ease of use. Pricing for the OtterBox comes in at $49.95 per unit, which is reasonable considering it is the only case on the market that will offer this kind of durable protection for your BlackBerry Pearl 8100. 

OtterBox Review Summary:
OtterBox Defender Series Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100


  • Protection for your BlackBerry like no other Case Available
  • Pearl's controls still easy to access and use
  • Looks Cool
  • Holster magent included for Standby/Sleep Mode
  • Did I mention it's tough? 


  • Little tricky to get the clear membrane seated properly, but not too difficult
  • I wish it was available for my 8130 Pearl today!!

Buy Now:
Purchase the OtterBox Defender Series Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100

Reader comments

BlackBerry Case Review: OtterBox Defender Series Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100


I'm going to be starting a new job soon and it's going to be in a heavy industrial setting. I have the pearl and after seeing this review I ordered one right away. I need my precious berry protected in a very rough environment. The stair toss is what won me over. Can't wait for it to come in the mail.

i just got my otterbox today from semsons&co inc. it was cheaper than all the other sites...$44.99 and offered cheaper shipping outside of the US.
the case fits great and looks sleek.
best i've found so far

hey guys. great job on the review, picture, and video.

i purchased one of these without knowing too much about it, as the pearl case wasnt around the net that much.

i look forward to finally getting it in the mail, its been too long.

great work, and keep up the great reviews.

I just bought my OtterBox for my BB Peral 8100 and got it for $39.99 at Semsons & Co. Inc.... I love the rugged look and I can always take if out for business if I want. Great design and look. I can't wait to get it, I will let you know how I like it.
Great Job designers!!!!

I bought one of these for my 8310,its nice but when you put the Curve in its holster its alittle to large for me.I think there are cases out there just as good,look around before you plunk down your cash.Oh my Otter Box is back in its box :(

I am a farmer and just bought the Otterbox for my Blackberry 8830. I believe that it is going to be the ticket. It looks very tough, and I believe the membrane is going to avoid a lot of the dust problems I normally have with phones.

why would someone buy the 8800 series for its sleek look and make it look like a cheap walkie talkie? pretty stupid looking. And what a a joke. Instead of dropping it down a padded staircase, try dropping it out of a two story building. Then maybe i'll get one when i'm stupid enough to let my phone be in a situation where it drops more than a couple of feet.

What these idiot designers need to do is build a slim leather case for it where the edges are not exposed, what is the point of having a cover when you drop it, the first thing that hits is the corner of the unit?

I just ordered an O-Box for my 8130. I hate to cover all the chrome, but work in a CNC machining factory and can't risk damaging my phone. Just wish there was a case that was perfect. OR!!!!!!! The cell phone manufacturers could spend that extra $50 that consumers are paying for these ugly cases, and actually make the PHONES tough. Make the body metal with a silicon layer and make the screen with scratch resistant glass instead of cheap plastics. That would make me feel like I acually spent $300 on an invesment, not a risk. But as long as people keep on buying these WAY overpriced, cheaply made phones, the cycle will never change.

Well, I have had my phone in some pretty bad situations. How about being in a burning house while spraying water and ripping out chunks of wall and ceiling? I forgot the phone was in my bunker pants. 200+ degrees, wet, and dirty. It came through all the dust, moisture, and heat just fine. Thanks to the OtterBox. A leather case wouldn't have done me any good in that situation. I also have tested it by chucking it against a concrete wall. Didn't hurt it at all. It may not be sleek but it isn't supposed to be. It just does its job for those of us who are "stupid enough" to put our phone in a bad situation. :)

My local phone store clerk gave me a wild suggestion. Just thought I would share it. The store only offers the solid black otterbox, so she showed me one that had been spray-painted blue.

I am NOT telling you to go out there and drown your blackberry with paint. She said she took the hard plastic snap-on cover outside and painted it. She let it dry COMPLETELY, and I saw the finished product.

It was nicely accented by her color of choice to make the otterbox less masculine. I am not sure what brand of paint she used, or how long it might last, so if you do this, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.

Not recommended for iffy owners of blackberry otterbox as there would be that WARRANTY VIOLATION. I'll wait a while and check out the clerk's otterbox again before I try it.

Having a beautiful white 8100 and about to start a security supervisor's job I thought I was going to have to suffer BlackBerry withdrawal and buy a Samsung Solid or JCB type phone to use for work. A BIG thank you for this review and I've just found an otter case on US eBay and ordered it for delivery to my home in the UK.

Excellent review and really, really useful.

I have the Otterbox for the 8820. It sits gathering dust in the garage....
Great design, shame it made conversations almost impossible.
I got pissed off with people telling me I was echoing when talking to them.
Funny that since I took the case off I haven't had the problem.
Waste of money as far as I'm concerned. Unless you don't use your BB for talking to people!?

hey i seen your reply and i bought over 800 8350i nextel blackberrys just a week ago and im a contractor for fema!! i got these otterbox cases and wheni put them on there it made allllllllll my brand new phones echooooooooooooos so bad i couldnt heard my converstaion coming or going!! i called otterbox and they told me some bs that theres a update coming from rim right and so i called rim and they said nooooooo theres not !! i had rim online and otterbox then said ohhh not rim but sprints coming out with a update !! i then called sprint nextel and they said anyone putting theses cases on their phone that it would viod the warranty on their phone!! i then called the ceo at otterbox, mr richardson which as of yet hasnt returned my calls and i finally got ahold of mr doughboy brian richardson and he was a nasty bastard and i called him a asshole and hung up on him!!! theres noooooooo updates coming from rim so give anybody a heads up on this matter !!!i bought alotttttttt of these cases at 63.00 a pop and its the biggest piece of shitttttttttttt ive ever bought !! im forwarding some of them to consumer report so they can figure this matter out!! what happens when someone calls 911 and the 911 operator cant understand the person with theses cases on their phones???? i smelll a bigggggggggggggg lawsuit coming to otterbox !! cant wait cause they are nasty people!! they care more about the old mighty dollar than someones welfare and well being and to be able to use these exspensive phones!!!! i hate otterbox !! as u can tell huh?? please feel free to call me if u want at 352 812 2514 or 352 857 0214 my name is chris gilbert and im from ocala fla !! have a good week!!

I am wondering if the echoes stop if you were to remove the inner plastic layer they tell you to wrap your phone in. Anyone try???

I recently installed my 8110 into the above mentioned otterbox. My belt clip did not come with the magnet installed correctly. It only works if I put the phone in backwards (screen out) But if you've seen these. The phone will not lock into the holster unless the screen is facing in. I've emailed Otterbox and right now I am definitely not impressed with the overpriced POS. Had the holster worked properly, I'd be very happy. But as it is, I'm not.

I have found that i like the case and it works very well. however it is a bit bigger than I had expected. But it just works. I ride a Motorcycle everyday to and from work. One of the things that I needed with a case is a good belt clip the belt clip keeps the phone in place at freeway speeds. it is still easy to get out of the holster and it will repell the water if i get caught in the rain. (by no means water proof)
as far as the price. i feel it would be a much better deal at least $15 to $20 less than the $50 i payed for it . over all i have to give it a 3 out of 5 . mainly because of price and how bulky it is.

Had the BOX for a couple months. Lousy pictures thru the plastic cover over the lense, carefuly cut the plastic covering the lense and voila! Great pics.
I clean case with windex to restore the original feel. I work in construction and this cover is tough, realy tough. I did super glue the thin silicone sides down to prevent tearing later.

I picked up this case by otter box and Love it, for the job I work it keeps it totally protected. My Blackberry Curve thanks me everyday it survives at my work location. OtterBox case is worth every penny.

I was working yesterday and dropped my pearl with an Otter box about 10 feet to the asphalt. The rubber cover was a little out of place... as well the hard plastic cover had snapped loose in a couple of places. I removed the rubber(simple) and snapped it back together and it was perfect. It did force a full power reset but i'm assuming that was just from the hard impact. It powered back on and has worked perfect ever since. A+++ for protection. It is a little big though so i only use it mon-fri. When the weekend gets here i take it off just so i can enjoy having a small profile phone.

I just picked one of these up for my 8330 curve and it is by far built like a tank. I am hell on a phone but this thing will survive a hurricane. I would pick one up if you want the best protection for your phone.

Case is loose near top, makes the 88xx bulky, keys along cases edge difficult to use with fat fingers. Have had for about three months and am finding outer silicon/rubber shell to be loosening and feels odd to handle.

On plus side does do a good job of protecting unit from drops. bumps and being laid upon.

My business puts my phones in some bad situations...

well worth the money,if you hard on phones like me,you will love the otter.or you don't have to buy it and just buy a new phone every time you break yours.

I just bought one of these cases for my Curve and WOW. I paid $72.00 Cdn for it a bit pricey but WOW! I like it. It was a bit of a challenge to get the membrane over the phone and I think I may have to cut out a hole for the camera but I don't worry about dropping or damaging my Curve, and I also actually like the way it makes the Curve look tough and not quite so girly. The curve looked pretty good before the case but in the case it looks a whole lot more rugged. Just my own opinion.

Just got the Otterbox for my Curve 8350i. The membrane that protects the keys fits perfectly, can't even really notice it's there. Hard shell case is well made and snaps together perfectly over the phone. The rubber sleeve give it a nice feel and added protection. I HIGHLY recommend this case for anyone worried about beating up their Curve.

i am a large contractor that is a direct contractor for fema here in central florida !! ive got over 800 8350 i blackberry nextel phones and i need something to protect it with so a friend of mine that works at sprintnextel shows me theses cases for the 8350i blackberrys that are made buy otterbox!!! what a frickin nightmare from that moment on with otterbox cases!!! theses phones worked fineeeeeeeeeeeeeeee till i put theses otterbox cases to protecttttttttttttttt my new 8350i blackberry phones!!! once you try to make a call with them with these otter box cases on them it pretty much makes your phone inoperable!!! i called sprint nextel and they said its not their problem and its a otterbox problem and so i then called otterbox and finally talked to deb and she was sooooo useless in helping me with this problem that the company that she works for so i finally try to get ahold of mr richardson the ceo of otterbox and stilllllllllll this man hasnt calleed me back so i called his soooooo call next in charge and that was mr doughboy brian thomas !!! mr thomas was sooo nasty and rudeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!! after a few choices of words to him i hung up on him!~~ ohhhhhhhhh when i called otterbox they said that it was a software update thats forth with coming from rim who makes allllllllll blackberrys !! i then called rim in novascotia and talked to sue and she said that theres noooooooooooooooo updates coming from them and that they dont endorse and or recommend this product so i called with rim on the other line and they even told otterbox this and then otterbox said ohhhhhhhhhh its sprintnextel coming out with this update!!!!!!!! they must think evryones retarded cause alllllllll updates no matter whos my provider for your blackberry comes from the maker whom is rim !! sooooooo that said otterbox is saying to everyone that theres a update forth coming to fix thereeeeeeeeeeeeeee problemmmmmmmmmmm and there is nottttttt!! just a question otterbox, whats next to say to your customers and or the companies that sells your products whn they realize and find out that theyre being liedddddddddddddd too!!!!!!!!!! on feb 28 2009 i lost s big job cause a contractor i deal with called me and couldnt understand me and had to call a differant crane company in on a emrency job!! needless to say i was beyond pissed at that point!!! ohhhhhh by the way otterbox company whats going to happen when someone calls 911 and the 911 operator cant understand what someone saying in a frickin emergencyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy????? im sending the ceo mr richardson a certified letter in regards to this matter so when something tragic does happen there will be a definte proof they they knew and are fulllllll aware of this matter !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! otterbox where does it come to the point that its notttttttt abouth the old mighty dollar and do what right and recall this product??? i dont know about anybody else but i work hard for my money for these exspensive defective cases!!!!!!! ohhhhhhhh by the way for future customers, did you know these otterboxs are made in china ??? not in the unitedstates !! id be real curious where and what kind of enviroment that theses otterbox cases are made in china !!! what does it cost maybe .50 to make one of theses??? hummmmmmmmmm i wonder!! let someone be the judge too !! if anyone needs to call me on this matter please feel free to call me anytime at 352 857 0214 or 352 812 2514 !! is otterbox out of their element on this case for these phones?? i think soooo!!!!

these willruin your phone and or warranty on your blackberry sand all otterbox says is theres a update coming sometimeeeee for this echooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooin problem and i called rim in novascotia canada and talked to the ceo there and he said nooooooooooooo theres not and i had them online when i called otterbox back and mr doughboy brian thomas th enext in line ceo was rude and a nastyyyyyyyyyy bastard !! ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh these cases are made in china notttttttttttttttttttttttt the unitedstates!!! i think thats where doughboy mr brian thoams get his beard trimmed to !! lol you ought to check him out online !! the people there are soo well to say nothing when u call there that its pitiful!! otterbox onlyyyyyyyyyyyyyy cares about the old mighty dollar and will take your money evennnnnnnnnnn after they know about this problem!! what happens when someone has to call 911 and the 911 operator cant understand you ?? i called sprintnextel and they are stoping all sales of otterbox products!! i got ahold of the ceo at sprint and his name is dan and they said they are fully aware of this problem with otterbox!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wayyyyyyyyyyy over priced due to the fact that youre buying made in china and notttttt made in usa !! that said the product will make all blackberry 8350i phones inoperable and from what ive been fiding online it makes other phones inoperable as well!!! im forwarding some of my cases to consumer report for them to check them out !! im also sending mr non return my calls ceo of otterbox mr richard harrison a certified letter stating his made in china product is a safety issue !!! if anyone need to call me please feel free to call me anytime at 352 812 2514 or 352 857 0214 my name is chris gilbert and otterbox will be hearing moreeeeeeeeee about and from me!! thats my word on that !!! think otterboxs out of their element on this one huh?? i think so `!!!!!!

I bought the otterbox for my BB 8330 and love it. It protects the screen, keyboard and shell. With keyboards after a while the lettering and numbers wear off which make it diffcult to type a text or make a call. The keyboard protector is awesome. Cut out a small hole for the camera lense and you can take pics that look great. The speaker protection keeps dust from building up inside the unit as well. I have never had an issue with echoing or not hearing my caller or vice versa. The case is a bit bulky but repacing my BB for another $500.00-$600.00 every time I accidently drop, is not an opinion so the bulk is manageable. With warranties alot of things are not covered so this Box is a life saver to my pocket book. It also adds weight in the hands while thumb texting so it is studier for those longer texting messages. It is worth every bit of the $60.00 I paid for it in Canada. Recommend this to anyone who wants to protect their BB. A great buy and a wonderful product.

I have a 8330 Curve and these are the best cases I have ever come across!!! Super sturdy, user friendly easy to apply. I'm a big guy so it makes the device easier to hold....I highly recommend it to all users!!!