My personal BlackBerry journey - From case to bare, and back to the case

OtterBox Commuter for Torch 9800
By Michelle Haag on 26 Mar 2011 08:50 am EDT

Want to win an Otterbox Commuter case from Keep reading for contest details.

I wanted to share with you guys my personal journey. No, it's not mind blowing or earth shattering but rather a little insight into my love/hate relationship with BlackBerry cases. Maybe you or someone you know can relate to my story. And to help you with your case issues, we're going to give one lucky reader their choice of OtterBox case for BlackBerry! Check out the contest details at the end of the post.

In the beginning...

I got my first BlackBerry about three years ago. I use T-Mobile, and chose a Curve 8320, my GoldBerry, and I was hooked from day one. I had no clue how to use it, and still remember the first time I tried sending a picture via BBM, and how confusing it was. After having my BlackBerry for a few weeks, I began to see little scratches on the battery cover, and decided I should try to do something to protect my new little friend from further damage. I headed to the mall and hit up the T-Mobile store (at the time still quite naive to accessories and how to find them cost effectively) and ended up with a black skin case that hugged my Curve and gave me a little peace of mind.

Anyone familiar with the first Curve series knows that battery pulls were a way of life, and crucial to keeping the dreaded hourglass off my screen. (Again, this was before I knew what I know now, aka alt + shift + delete to reset.) I wasn't fond of having to remove the case what seemed like constantly to pull my battery, but I knew it was the prudent thing to do if I wanted to keep my device from having any more blemishes. Time went on, and for the most part I kept to the plan and Goldie kept her skin on.

BlackBerry Bold 9000
By this time the BlackBerry Bold 9000 had been out for a little while, and my want for one prevailed. When I finally got one (thanks Bla1ze!), I didn't have a case for it. The leather battery cover seemed to hold up to daily wear and tear better than the plastic cover of the Curve, so I wasn't too worried about it. I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that my initial resolve to keep my devices wrapped safely in rubber had been tossed to the wayside. Our good friend Jared had even sent me three skins to use on the Bold 9000, but it just didn't feel right anymore and I fell out of the habit of using them altogether.

I had come to realize that I prefer my devices as naked as the day RIM had made them. The feel of the chrome and leather of the 9000 felt good in my hand, there was no denying it. Skins, pouches, holsters, hard cases and soft, I tried them all briefly on various BlackBerry smartphones that followed the Bold, but just couldn't stick with any. I decided my devices were destined to be bare, and I was happy with that choice.

Present day

Fast forward to present day, and my BlackBerry Torch. Having never used a Storm,  this is my first touch screen BlackBerry. While getting accustomed to the weight and feel of the device, as well as the slider portion and inset keyboard, I never once thought about covering it with a case. It was a thing of beauty, and I wanted those that saw it to be able to appreciate its magnificent form. Plus the battery cover is textured, which made my grip more secure.  I'm fairly klutzy, and though it doesn't happen often, I admit I have dropped my BlackBerry on more than one occasion. The Torch was no different, and soon, my bezel was chipped, and a corner had a tiny dent (though I'm sure I am the only one that would notice).

OtterBox Commuter Series for Blackberry

Guess what happened next? I was given an OtterBox Commuter Series Strength case. So many mixed feelings came packed in that glossy pink box. I was actually almost dreading having to use the case. I told myself I would just use it for a day or two, long enough to give it a fair evaluation, and then tuck it away and put it behind me. I snapped it on - first the inner rubber piece, followed by the hard back shell. This was kind of hard as the shell fits tightly on the phone and getting the rubber piece to cooperate and stay where it belongs was a challenge. After it was on though, I saw the value of making it on the difficult side: it won't easily come off when you need it to stay put the most. The front piece snaps on much easier, but granted there isn't a lot to cover on the slider part of the Torch so that makes sense. I turned my Torch over a few times, examining the new look and feel, and honestly thinking it wasn't as bad as I had initially thought it would be.

OtterBox Commuter Series for Blackberry

A week later, I realized I still had the OtterBox on my BlackBerry. Realistically, that makes sense to me. The case doesn't make the phone, it's there to seamlessly integrate with your device. If I had noticed it, the case wouldn't have lasted so long on my Torch. I found the real value soon enough, while walking through the park with the kids. Carrying too many things in my hands, and distracted by our daughter almost running me down with her bike, I felt my BlackBerry slip from my hands. I felt that familiar feeling in my stomach and cringed hearing it smack the concrete sidewalk, face down. It bounced back up, phone going one direction and front piece of the the case flying off the other way. Expecting the worst I surveyed the damage and was amazed to find none. Not a smashed screen, not a ding, not a scratch. Even though the front piece had been knocked off, it had done its job. As I snapped it back in place, I shook my head and smiled, understanding finally why people have a love for cases the way they do.

OtterBox Commuter Series for Blackberry

In closing, let me just say that though I understand why I should always have a case on my BlackBerry and I'm thankful for the scuffs that are on my bright pink case and not on my device, I'm not making any promises. The OtterBox is great, and I have definitely learned to appreciate its qualities, but some days I get wistful for the feel of that shiny chrome and textured battery cover in my palm and revert back to my old ways. What can I say? I live dangerously.


Contest: We want to hear your story. Do you love cases, and have a stack of them you rotate through? Do you have one tried and true case that you return to time and time again? Maybe you've never used one, but always wanted to. Leave a comment below, telling us your story (just don't ramble on as long as I did) and you will be entered to win an OtterBox Commuter case, like the one I have in the pictures above (your choice of color). One entry per person please. Contest ends this Sunday at Midnight PST. Good luck! 

For more information on OtterBox and their line of BlackBerry cases

Additional photos of the OtterBox Commuter Series for Blackberry Torch

OtterBox Commuter Series for Blackberry
OtterBox Commuter Series for Blackberry
OtterBox Commuter Series for Blackberry
OtterBox Commuter Series for Blackberry
Michelle Haag Michelle Haag "@_Miche11e_ and C0001B3B5" 1214 (articles) 1695 (forum posts)

Reader comments

My personal BlackBerry journey - From case to bare, and back to the case



Hard plastic snap on which I hated and tossed out same day. Then I ordered the oem leather holster and no case and that's what I have now. Always wanted an otter box the price has kept me away with fear of it not being all its sold as. SO please I def want it and def WILL USE it EVERYDAY. So CB! Gimme gimme gimme!!! Thanks.

The Otter Box looks awesome! Ive had a few cases, but have gone back to the "fresh out of the box" look for my 9650. The hard case made it too tough to type on the outer letters of the BB, so I switched to the soft case. Recently, Ive just been keeping it in the holster on my belt because it saves a lot of battery and keeps it safe.
Id much rather have an Otter Box though. My BB's been dropped a few times and unfortunately suffered some damage, but nothing too major.....only thats just a matter of time.

I need something for protection, comfort and utility. Otter Box is the answer!

Pick me!

I went through a similar thing. I got my first BB the storm and got a hard case for it from Verizon. It was bulky though and I had not holders to be able to keep it in (my pockets don't like fitting a phone in them. Even though I am prone to dropping my phone I took off the hard case and opted for a clear skin from BestSkinsEver and loved the feel of it. First thing I did for my torch was get a clear skin. I tried the Black hard case from AT&T (because my friend lent it to me) and it was okay, but made my torch feel like a brick. I haven't tried many cases because I won't spend my money unless I can try it first hand. But if I do win, and it turns out just as forgettable (until it has to go to work LOL i.e I drop my phone) I'll probably be hooked on otterbox cases for a very long time.

I've always used rubber skin cases because with the extremely good grip that comes with them, it was always a matter of preventing the phone from falling, and not a matter of worrying if it would survive the fall. Now with the slider form factor of the Torch, those cases aren't possible, although Blackberry obviously perceived grip as being so important that they made the back of the Torch rubbery. This Otterbox case looks like it will perfectly complement the good grips of the Torch by adding a layer of protection if the phone is dropped.

I haven,t used the otterbox but I have a case with which I attached velcroe strips to so I can hold in on my dashboard where I can view the screen but use my bluetooth headset. I drive 3 to 10 hrs a day. A good case is indispensible.

My history of phones has been vague but yet quite interesting. I recently had a sidekick lx 09, then upgraded to a mytouch 3g, which was my baby. I first started with cases once i got my hands on my mytouch, specifically a gel case. I was not intrigued, as I always felt it was rather weird in my hand or out of place when i slid my mytouch into my pocket, so i dumped the case. In that being done, I had brought upon me a risk, which would be to have to face the consequence of scratches or dents if i were to drop my mytouch.

Fortunately, I didn't drop it which was a suprise to me seeing as if i am very clumsy myself. i then after the mytouch upgraded to my samsung vibrant(more of like i lost it so had to buy a different android phone), which I bought at tmobile with a case. This case was exquisite for the pretty penny i paid for it. It was hard, durable, and most importantly, was going to protect my vibrant. Well c'est la vie was the right term for the case, as it broke in half after only a month of using it.

I then went into a frenzy, buying different cases for my phone and having all of them break. The funny thing is, is that when i didnt have a cover for my phone, is when it would accidently slip out of my hands. I soon got frustrated and gave up on buying cases because they all had the same result in the end.

As of today I still have my vibrant with a couple of scratches and even a nice dent on the side, but am happy to admit I am getting a blackberry tomorrow. Hopefully I can snag a otterbox commuter case for my bold.

I have a Otter Box for my 9530 after using a Sedio which kept falling out of the belt clip. I know need to win one for my wife's Torch.

Hope to win.

My husband has an Otter Box Defender for his Storm 9530 which He swears by, so I thought I would try to win one here. This would be my first réal casé.
Hope to win.

I used a factory sleeve for my Curve, a gel wrap for my Sprint Curve that I then slip in an over sized Forte Case I once won from BBForums because the stock sleeves didn't fit. Now I own a Torch for personal use and I have a stock sleeve again but if I were to use a case it would be an Otterbox.

I prefer a stock leather pouch for my BB because it keeps it safe and protected in my pocket and free from dust and debris without being bulky. I am getting a holster version for when I am playing tunes around the the office. I have always used the stock leather pounch with my Blackberry every since I've owned one. I started with a Curve and am ow onto a Torch. I used to use Belt clip holsters and at times a Body glove case I would clip to my belt loop with a climbing ring but they are always in the way and whenever I would sit in a chair or get on the forklift they would snap off. I went to the pocket with my BB and have been happy ever since. I would use an Otterbox if I went with a bulkier case for more rugged use say hicking or camping and wanted more protection.

I really like the look and protection of the otter case. We buy them for the sales folks all the time for travelling.

I wish there was a solution though, for using a great case and still being able to drop the device in the charging stand or car holder.

Maybe Otter could make docking stations that work with their line of cases?!

Your willingness to sell out to app developers and accessory manufacturers knows no bounds. What a ridiculous excuse for an article- why the hell would anyone be interested in your history of case ownership? Not only is this self indulgent, it is also quite clearly written as an excuse to promote otterbox cases. This is not the first time- articles about apps that are paid for are often written without any mention of identical apps that do the same job for free. I realise you need to make a living, but your blog is just becoming one big marketing scam. Have some dignity, please.

Have had a torch for about a month now. Not a scratch or dent on it. I prefer silicone cases but I think that will be hard to find. Been trying to decide between a GRT case and an otterbox. make the choice for me, Crackberry/

I love, love, LOVE the Incipio Ultra Light Feather case for my new Torch! I have the purple one and it fits my phone like a dream. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this case! It fits perfectly and adds my favorite color to my favorite accessory. I have usually had a skin on my previous red Pearl so it was a no brainer to get something to surround my precious Torch. A friend has an Otterbox on his and from seeing these pics, I will definitely try one out eventually. I think a case is a wonderful idea. I try not to drop my phone, but when I do, I know that it has a bit of extra protection.

Although I can be very long-winded about my collection of cases, I will keep it short and sweet. Since getting the Torch for my wife and I, we have tried a total of 5 cases between us both. Although we have a favorite, we are always misplacing them from time to time and having to substitute a not-so-favorite case until the missing one is discovered... if it ever is! lol. I think this would be a great gift for my wife who loves to personalize her phone.

I started out with my pearl, and I had about eight cases for that. I would rotate between them depending on how I felt and the season.
Then I went to a curve 8520, I went from no case to a zebra print on but it was covering part of my screen so it was scratching it. Then I went to a snap on Ed Hardy which I LOVED but it had one too many drops.
Now I have a simple purple mesh snap on case.
I'd love to win an Otterbox case though!

i never used a case,but i want one,i wish my phone was part cat,so it could land perfectly without a scratch every time i dropped/drop it,but its not,an OtterBox case is like to bodyguards for your phone,and my phone is famous (Michael Jackson famous) so if i got get some free bodyguards i would appreciate it

I'm French, I will try to tell my Blackberry story as best I can :)

I discovered Blackberry last year when I bought a black 9700. I totally fell in love with it and directly wanted to protect it. So I started to bought a silicon case, a basic grey one with circles but I didn't like it a lot because it was not very girly style. Then I ordered four ones with flowers on the back : pink, blue, purple and clear. At this time, my fave was the pink one :) It made me want to customize my BB but I was afraid to break it in changing some parts.
When I saw the first scratch on my BB, I decided to change the housing. I found a lovely pink one and nervously changed it myself. I was very proud of me and every person who saw my BB wanted the same because having a pink BB is very rare in France !
I left the pink silicon case and I had two cases I used a lot with it : a pink leather case and the silicon flower clear case. I liked the both but the silicon case was more handy. When I saw that the leather case broke a piece of the up right button, I definitely left it and always kept the silicon clear case, even if its colour changed with time and became a kind of yellow/brown !

Now, I have a Torch. I wanted to change the housing but it's too complex for this model, I can't make it myself. I'm searching for a nice case but didn't find anything very interresting or nice in France. My boyfriend gave me a black and pink guenuine Blackberry folio leather case but I can confess that even if it's nice and strong, it's not very handy to open it, take my Torch out, put it back in and close the case every five minutes lol
When I saw the picture of your phone on a themer's blog, I was very curious and wanted to see if it was a case or a housing. Fortunately, it's a case and the same one would be perfect for my Torch :)
I think that even if you don't pick me, I will buy it, but that's not a reason for picking me ;)

This was my French BB case story, hope I didn't make a lot of mystakes ! Have a good day !