OtterBOX 1933 BlackBerry 8800 Series Level II Case

By James Falconer on 29 Aug 2007 08:49 am
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OtterBox 1933 Blackberry 8800 Case

After having used (and abused) the OtterBox 8700 case, I was of course quite excited to get my hands on the new OtterBox 1933 Level II case for the BlackBerry 8800 Series (read press release). I was a big fan of the 8700 case for the sheer utility of it. Durable, waterproof, drop-off the top of your apartment building proof... it made the slight clunkiness / awkwardness of the case relatively easy to overlook. I was expecting more of the same for the 8800, but as you'll see, OtterBox has switched things up a bit for the 8800 version. 

First Impressions
After taking it straight out of the box, my first impression was, 'boy, this thing isn't as bulky at the 8700 case'. This is indeed the case (no pun intended). OtterBox has gone for a toned, slimmed down look with the 8800... think 'Civilian Hummer' vs. the 'Military Hummer' 8700 model. However this new 8800 model is still very protective despite the reduction in size and ergonomic improvements.

OtterBOX 1933 Level II Case for the BlackBerry 8800, 8820, 8830

OtterBox 1933 Case compared to OtterBox 1930 Case

The other thing you notice right away is that the case is 'layered'. There is an outside rubberized layer that fits around a hard plastic shell... And underneath that comes a thermally molded layer to protect your screen and keypad. The whole setup reminded me of getting dressed for school when I was a kid in the wintertime. Layer of long underwear, a t-shirt, a sweater, then my winter jacket... Then I'm protected from the elements! Looks like OtterBox has taken the same philosophy and I can't say I disagree with it.

To better show you the case, I grabbed the camera and had Kevin do a quick overview of the OtterBox 1933:


Features of the OtterBOX 1933
As mentioned above, the biggest 'feature' of this case is its layered composition. Each piece itself doesn't provide much protection, but once put all together the unit is very strong and protective. Especially once the unit is slid into its handy holster. It's sturdy 'as all get up' (as my grandpa would say).

The BlackBerry 8800 Offers Several Layers of Protection

The plastic shell and rubberized skin do have the usual flaps and holes to allow you access to things like the charger connection and speaker... Other areas of the case such as the volume control simply have little 'nubs' that allow you to actually push on the case to engage the button found underneath.

Access is Provided to all of the Ports and Buttons found on the Perimeter of the BlackBerry 8800

The screen and keyboard protector is made of a clear plastic. It has been thermally molded to fit perfectly overtop of the 8800... and it is indeed a great fit. The only problem I found with this protective layer overtop of the screen is that it sometimes produces 'bubbles'. You really have to make sure you take the time to smooth the layer out, which will eliminate any bubbles from forming that can be annoying in certain light conditions. The only other drawback I found to the case's design was with the plastic horizontal bar/brace that spans the width of the phone (below the screen and above the trackball). Though a notch has been carved into this piece to make room for the trackball, I still found the upward movement of my the thumb over the trackball to be slightly limited by this piece.

OtterBox for the BlackBerry 8880, 8820, 8830 drawbacks


Here's a brief list of some key features:

  • 3 Layers of protection (Silicone Skin, Hi-impact polycarbonate shell, and a thermal formed membrane to protect the keyboard and screen.)
  • The trademark OtterBox durability and protection for your device.
  • Light rain and water protection. Lets call it 'weather' resistant shall we?
  • Holster with ratcheting belt clip
  • Weighs only 1.9 Oz.

OtterBox 1933 Holster

One more cool feature (or, err...cool fact?) OtterBox claims that you can drop the case over and over again from 3 feet to plywood on concrete with no long-term damage. What does this mean? Well, it means you can drop the case over and over again and do no damage to your BlackBerry. HOWEVER, just to be sure, we're going to put the OtterBox 1933 Case for the 8800 to our very own stress test in an upcoming supplemental review (just like we did for the 8700). Oh it's going to be fun! Stay tuned for the review and video!

OtterBox vs. Hummer

Everyday Use
For day-to-day use the case is wonderful. Solid and sturdy, the unit fits snug and tight in the holster. I never felt uneasy or scared of dropping the unit, in fact I purposely dropped the thing a few times 'just because'. I'm not a big holster user, so I often found myself using the OtterBox sans holster. No problems there either. I just threw the unit in a jacket pocket pants pocket and I was off to the races.

The biggest plus for me was a simple thing. The feel of the rubberized outside shell. It's the perfect non-slip, protective, shock absorbing outer layer. If it's possible for a case to feel 'cozy' in your hand then this case has done it.

OtterBOX took a risk in changing up their case design philosophy from the 8700 to 8800 model, but I reckon it paid off! At half the price of the 8700 case, there is a whole lot more everyday usability in this case with only a small perceived sacrifice in 'toughness'.

Conclusions
If you're looking for a solid, protective unit for your 8800, the OtterBox should be at the top of your list. Especially if you're prone to dropping or throwing your BlackBerry around :) While it isn't waterproof, it still provides a level of protection that is far above any other case available on the market today.

Again, I have to mention simply how 'cozy' and slip-proof the rubberized outer shell is. You won't have your 8800 drop or slip out of your hands anymore in this bad boy.

Two big thumbs up to OtterBox for the 8800 case. I've put it through the paces for awhile now and it performs as well now as it did out of the box.

OtterBox Review Summary:
OtterBox 1933 BlackBerry 8800 Series Case
Ratings

Pros:

  • Solid, protective case
  • Soft, comfortable and 'cozy' feel in the hand
  • Durable and 'weather-proof'
  • Included holster provides superior level of protection
  • Price. ($49.95) Half the Price of the OtterBox 8700 Case!
  • Retains the OtterBox COOLNESS factor
  • Availabe in more colors than just Black!

Cons:

  • Not waterproof
  • Plastic screen protector can bubble
  • Some limitation in upward thumb movement over trackball
Buy Now: $49.95
Purchase this OtterBox case in the CrackBerry.com Store.
James Falconer James Falconer "Community Manager, Mobile Nations" 352 (articles) 665 (forum posts)
13 comments

Anonymous

The case is great in principle (I'm a sucker for that) but there are a few elements that I think could use some improvement:

1. The tabs that attach the rubber skin to the plastic frame could hang on a little better esp. around the screen edges,

2. The transparent skin distorts the camera (would be nice either to have a hinged flap of some sort that pops open when you need the camera or even a sturdy protective lens,

3. The bubbles between the transparent skin and the screen don't seem to go away very easily (as in item 2, it'd be nice to have some sort of protective lens if just to improve the aesthetics)

I realize that these changes would add to the cost of the item, but heck as far as cases go this is on the rather expensive side anyway. I say, better to get a case with all the best parts included than a great case with shortcomings that annoy (well, annoy me at least).

I should mention that the keyboard and speaker/mic protective elements are well done. The overall aesthetic is great and the durability of the case seems apparent.

kggrubb

This case is a masterpiece! Unless you work in sawmill, forget about the lame plastic screen and keyboard cover.

acoustic-shards

if you look at the hummer picture, the device is placed on grass, which will cushion the device more than it would on concrete. So i dont think its really a fair test

willymakit

I have one on my 8330 and I used the key cover and it smoothed out with no problems (it just takes some time).

They also have a test on You Tube of a UPS truck running over a BB in the case and the device still worked.

Ihave also used the video and camera with no problems of distortion.

wynn51

a very good engineering design, cant really expect it to be as strong as a blackbox...

Robynstrust

I want an Otterbox for my new 8830, but I know in my heart that I'll never use that holster. Will my phone still be protected without it?

UncleMike

I have the same case for my Curve 8330 and definitely agree with the other comments about the clear membrane distorting pictures. It seems like they could/should have put more thought into this part of the design.

xinyi0830

I love this case! Only one thing needs to be improved. That is the thin clear cover kind of block the camera.
Before and after putting the clear cover on mobile phone, the picture's qualities are different.

If the manufacturer would cut a hole for camera, then this case will be perfect for me. ^^

xinyi0830

I love this case! Only one thing needs to be improved. That is the thin clear cover kind of block the camera.
Before and after putting the clear cover on mobile phone, the picture's qualities are different.

If the manufacturer would cut a hole for camera, then this case will be perfect for me. ^^

Cud

On the 8830 simply follow the directions that came with the Otter Case: Using dish detergent in water, putting a drop on your finger and lightly rubbing it on the inside of the clear membrane. Put it on the Blackberry 8830 and don't touch it for 24 hrs. It works perfectly, not one bubble so far for three months.

campbell

Love this case! I have it on my curve, excellent, it is a little bulky but it does protect the phone.

Denny Crane

I turned my Curve off, put a few drops of Windex on the screen and smeared it around, then applied the screen cover while smoothing the bubbles out from under it with a credit card. It is perfectly flat with only one small air bubble in the upper right corner. There is no distortion no matter what the angle of view. I love the Otterbox. It is a bit big, but the protection is worth it.

billxyz

From a protection standpoint the Otterbox is great. But the Otterbox has one small flaw which makes it useless. When having a conversation over the phone, the other person gets almost 100% feed back from their conversation((echo)). This makes having ant conversation impossible. From an everyday usage standpoint the OtterBox is not practical.