The next winner in the CrackBerry.com BEST of WES 2007 awards has pulled in THREE accolades, winning the "BEST ACCESSORY AWARD", "BEST FREEBIE GIVEN OUT AT WES AWARD" and "BUSIEST BOOTH AT THE SOLUTIONS SHOWCASE AWARD". The envelope please .... and the winner is ....
The OtterBox BlackBerry 8700 Series Case is a heavy-duty case that makes it possible to take your BlackBerry virtually anywhere. The case features a polycarbonate/ABS shell for maximum strength and rugged durability as well as an innovative rubber overmolding for grip and drop protection. It also provides sealed access to keypad, scroll wheel, escape button, power button, mute button and programmable side button. It's the Hummer of BlackBerry cases.
Going into WES I had never personally seen or held an OtterBox Case, though I was already a bit of a fan based on the OtterBox review we published at CrackBerry.com a few weeks ago (it was posted by our occassional guest contributor Robert Loblaw).
The Busiest Booth
Just getting to the OtterBox booth at WES proved to be difficult as a big crowd was always gathered around. You have to remember, WES is primarily geared toward Enterprise solutions, and I think as a result the majority of exhibitors who attend are there to show off their enterprise applications. And while there were many really cool apps at WES, software just doesn't draw in a crowd to the same extent that a near military-grade case for your BlackBerry can. So congrats to the OtterBox team for taking a leap in faith in attending their first WES. The Otterbox crew told me attending the show was a great idea and that it turned out to be a great success for them. I have a feeling at WES 2008 there are going to be a lot more Accessory manufacturers present.
The Best Freebie
This was a toss-up! I was told by a few people at WES that the CrackBerry.com t-shirt was the best schwag given out at the event, but since I only came with 20 of them (I know better for next year!), I'm going to have to give this award to OtterBox for the case the crew was nice enough to give me (afterall, it does have a retail cost of $129.95)! I'm not sure if every visitor to the booth was as lucky as me, but either way I say thanks!
The Best Accessory
Since receiving my OtterBox case I have been using it daily. There's just something about it that I love. It's big, It's bulky... it's cool! It's very easy to use. The case is in two halves - you insert your 8700 face down on top of the keyboard, slide the back of the OtterBox over the phone, and then latch the two halves together. It's nice to hold in your hand - it's big. I've been hounding my dad to get a BlackBerry for a while now, but he's not into slim electronic gadgets that have tiny buttons and are slippery and easy to drop. However, I now think I could sell him addicted to a BlackBerry so long as it's in an OtterBox case! It's definitely has that Old School feel. The operation of the BlackBerry within the Otterbox case is very smooth. Typing on the keyboard is actually really easy and the trackwheel works flawlessly.
Any Drawbacks? There are a few, but nothing that would ever deter me from picking one of these baby's up. In no particular order:
Because you are surrounding your phone with a heavy duty case, the ringer and voice volume is a bit quieter at any given level. That's an easy fix though - just crank up the volume!
The OtterBox case has a clear screen built into it, that allows you to see through to your Berry's screen. When you are indoors or in low lighting conditions it works fantastic. But when outside or in the car it becomes much more difficult to see the display. Dealing with bright light is a problem for pretty much every electronic gadget, but I'm hoping maybe some effort can go into improving the OtterBox's outdoor use (maybe a flap that covers the front screen, that can be lifted to provide some shade? That would make it even bigger, and therefore cooler!).
Right now the OtterBox case is only available for the 8700. Definitely a drawback if you're using another BlackBerry device. But the OtterBox crew did have a prototype on hand for their 8800 case (should be available by the end of June/mid July I was told) that looked pretty slick. It's much slimmer than the 8700 case, but hopefully the final product will have the same durability and coolness factor. One thing is for sure - once it's available CrackBerry.com will be waiting inline to put it through the test. And hopefully they will come out with OtterBoxes for the Pearl and Curve as well.
Stupid Birthday Fun
My birthday was two days ago, and to celebrate (before heading for drinks) we hit a local Karting track (SpeedWorld if you're ever in Winnipeg!). Of course I took my OtterBox with me, and wow...does it ever draw attention! Everybody who sees it wants to know what kind of abuse it can take. So between races, with the adrenaline running, I took up the challenge and we did a quick imprompto OtterBox stress test. Please excuse the balaclava I'm wearing (they make you wear them under the helmet...other people use these helmets afterall), and my inability to get the date right in the video (I was off by 27 years! I was born in 1980!!). Don't try this at home! That's what the crazy guys at CrackBerry.com are for!
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