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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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'.
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.
Review Summary: OtterBox 1933 BlackBerry 8800 Series Case
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!
Plastic screen protector can bubble
Some limitation in upward thumb movement over trackball
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