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This is going to be my official review of the new OtterBox Defender Series case for the BlackBerry Tour 9630 device. I placed the order on Tuesday of this week with my representative, Shane, who mailed it to me 2nd Day Air, and it arrived today at about 3:00pm MST. Needless to say that I was excited because I've had three OtterBoxes already, one on my 8330 Curve and one on both of my 8830 World Editions.
Unpacking from the box was a little different then the older models. They changed their packaging to a clear plastic rather than plastic wrapped in cardboard. This should make it easy for us all to contribute to recycling! The package came in two parts.
Upon opening the package, the main case pops out at you with a cardboard picture of the Tour inside the case. This is actually holding the clear plastic membrane that is used to cover the keyboard of the device.
Taking the case out, pull the holster out as well, and underneath the package, you may find an "OtterBox" sticker to decorate your work cubicle, laptop, or whatever with. That's what was in mine!
Ok, so putting the OtterBox on is not rocket science. It is actually fairly easy and I can tell just by looking at the case without my Tour in it, this one has been designed to be significantly sturdier than the ones I've had on my 8330 and 8830s. The rubber casing that gets put over the hard plastic actually must be forced into the holes to stop dirt, water, and whatever else you can think of from getting into your headphone jack and MicroUSB charging port.
Putting the case on is easy. The case is actually built a lot better than the previous versions for putting it on.
First, slide the keyboard protector onto your keyboard and make sure it fits snug and each key is protected with the corresponding protection area. If you want to take a piece of Scotch tape and put it on the back where your battery door is to guarantee holding, do so.
Drop your Tour in and then look at towards the speaker / status light indicator of the top piece, you'll notice a little lip. Slide the lip into the bottom part of your case, then push the back end of it down and you'll actually hear it snap into place. The top portion has a clear, thin plastic which is a little harder than the standard plastic film used to cover your keyboard which will cover your screen and protect it from scratches or dirt, dust, and water getting into the device through the separation of the screen from the device.
When you snap the top portion onto the bottom to fully encase your device, the keyboard protector should fit snug and be covered from moving. This is done by a thin, about 1/8" thick piece of plastic which borders the plastic screen protector and the trackball / send / end / BlackBerry buttons. If you don't hear the snap, you didn't put it on right. Make sure that it's aligned properly and try again.
The last task is putting the rubber around the device. That is fairly easy but I have found that if you put the top in first, and then work it around in a counter-clockwise manner, it is best fit. This allows you to work in each of the individual ‘clips' that the OtterBox has to better secure the rubber to the device.
Overall impression of the case was excellent. The quality of the case is nothing like I've been used to with OtterBox; it is far superior to their previous editions manufactured for older devices. I am going to guess that they may have listened to some of the consumer suggestions on their product and this is a drastic and noticeable improvement.
Typing on the device is a little awkward at first but you will get used to it. No more are the sharp angles by the keyboard like on the 8830WE and 8330 editions, the angle is more acute. This allows for a portion of your finger to rest on the side of the case while you type on the device. The keys which were extremely difficult to get to on the 8830WE and the 8330s editions resided on the outer edges of the keyboard (the "Q", "A", "Alt", "Enter", "Del", and "P" keys) are more easily accessible when typing due to the angle. Though I must remind you, it will take a little getting used to on the first couple of tries to type on this with the case on.
The OtterBox also has a cloth membrane which protects the speaker and earpiece from dirt and grime from getting into it but will not protect from water so be a little careful. Though individuals getting or looking into getting an OtterBox must remember that the case DOES NOT make your device water proof, just water resistant from a few drops of rain or water. DO NOT submerge the device and then get all mad that it doesn't work anymore.
Turning the device around, I also noticed the same clear plastic membrane which covers the screen is also covering your camera. This will help to stop the dirt and grime from getting into it like users of the OtterBox for the 8330 experienced. The plastic does NOT have any affect on the quality of picture taken from the Tour as you can see by the uploaded picture of the Transformer Bumblebee!
The BlackBerry Tour now feels a little more secure in the hands due to the outer rubber skin that comes with the case so there should be no issues of dropping, no matter how much of a klutz you are!
While typing this review, I actually received a call from my brother-in-law and I asked if he had any issues hearing me. I did this because of a previous post by a user who said that the speaker and microphone jacks were a little covered by the case. He told me that he did not have any issues hearing me and I did not have any issues hearing him when he was talking.
The access to all of the keys is very easy so even in the dark; you should not have any issues finding your volume up / down, or convenience keys. Pushing down on the lock or mute buttons seems to be a little easier too. When I first got the device and would push down on them, I felt like the device would eventually crack or snap in my hands so I would use two hands, one to hold the device and another to push the buttons. Now, with the OtterBox securing my device, just pushing down maybe a little harder than usual, and the device locks or goes into mute without any issues.
The one thing that I did notice is that the charger does not fit into the stock location. You can remedy this by one of two things. First, modify the case and make the hole bigger, but then you risk sacrificing the integrity of the case and the protection it offers since the rubber is designed to fit tightly into the spaces to stop water and other things from getting into it. The other option, the one I'm going to go with and stress others to go with is to take a little sandpaper to the bottom of the charging adapter and sand it at an angle so that it will just fit into the charging port and still maintain the integrity of the case. I plugged in my earpiece and it fit fine so no modifications are necessary on that issue.
Obviously, you can see the pictures of the case. There is also a picture of Bumblebee, like I said, taken with the Tour's camera and the case on. Two videos included have the OtterBox being tossed down my stairs in my house, and the other is the video of the device still working after the case went down 15 stairs and about 12' on a vertical drop (you do the actual incline length, I'm not great at math, sorry).
After the drop down the stairs, the only issue was that the snaps for the case came up but this could also be attributed to my still having the PhantomSkinz screen protector still on the BlackBerry Tour, YES, even with the OtterBox on it. I didn't feel like taking it off and possibly ruining the screen. This was easily fixed by just pulling down the rubber and snapping them back up.
Please let me know if you have any further questions that you would like me to answer. You can do this through the forum post, PM, or through my BlackBerry Messenger which is available in the forum.
I hope you enjoyed the review and it wasn't too boring.