Review: Otterbox Commuter for the 9650

By Jared DiPane on 21 Mar 2011 02:06 pm EDT

Protecting my BlackBerry is always something that is important to me, and if it is important to you as well, then you have probably invested some money is various cases, looking for the perfect match for your device. Otterbox, a company that many of us have heard about, and know for making very protective cases, is one of my personal favorites and I have had them on previous device, such as my Storm 2. If you are looking for a new case that adds some rugged protection, and feels good in the hand, hit the jump with me as we take a look at the Commuter series case for the BlackBerry 9650.

OtterBox Commuter Series Case for the BlackBerry Bold 9650

Initial Impressions


Having previously owned an Otterbox case for a BlackBerry device, I was well aware of what I was getting into when ordering, but the thing that I was unsure of was how the device would feel once it was in the case. The packaging was the same Otterbox packaging that I was used to, which is always nice. The two piece case has a nice firm feel, that fits the device rather well.

The Fit

As stated above, the Commuter series cases are made of a two piece design, the rubber case that wraps the whole device, like any other, and then a plastic piece that goes over top of this, providing additional protection, and holding the rubber case to the device. The case features cut outs for the USB port, as well as the headphone jack, both of which are protected by a flap that is pulled back for them when they are in use.


The top of the case has raised areas for the lock and standby buttons, making them easier to press and have it register then on most other cases. The bottom of the case has a small cut out for the microphoe as well, and the volume rocker is also raised similar to the lock button. As a whole, this is one of the best form fit cases I have ever seen. The case fits very close to the device, the needed ports and buttons are easily accessible and there is not a large amount of bulk added for along with this case.


Usability and size

For my personal use the BlackBerry 9650 is a little on the thin side, and it does not fit comfortably in my hands for long periods of time, and I need some more bulk. Once adding the Otterbox Commuter case to m device the size was definitely a lot more optimal for me, as the case adds a bit extra to the depth of the phone, as well as a bit more width. The case also provides a great grip to the device, with the rubber layer that is topped by the hard plastic.

front  back

The plastic used is not super slick, so the device does not want to slide out of your hands once the case it placed on. Also, if you place the case down on a surface it doesn't slip and slide all over, the case has a slight grip to the surface. What I enjoyed was that there was a lip over the top of the device as well, so if you place it face down you do not have to worry about the screen scratching.  If you are looking to maximize your protection, while keeping a nice small form factor, as well as having a case that looks very nice on your device, you will certainly want to invest in the Otterbox Commuter.


  • Adds a ton of protection to the device
  • Great design, and snug fit
  • Easy to install


  • Can be a bit difficult to take it off 
  • Can not be used with extended battery doors


The Otterbox Commuter is one of the only cases that I am able to keep on my device for more then a few minutes without getting annoyed by it and removing it. The amount of protection that is added is not hugely sacrificed by adding a huge amount of bulk, and the grip that is provided is great. If you are looking for a very professional looking case, that provides great protection be sure to grab yourself one of these.

More information / purchase of the Otterbox Commuter for the BlackBerry 9650

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Jared DiPane Jared DiPane "News Writer for Mobile Nations
Father | Husband | Chipotle Addict"
319 (articles) 6102 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Review: Otterbox Commuter for the 9650


Awesome case. I had the Seidio Innocase 360, but wanted something a bit better. This is it. I have one on each of my two Bolds, two Curves, and a Tour. I have found on all of them that the flap over the USB port tends to pull away after a while, no longer fitting snugly in the socket. Just cutting away the port cover fixes this only negative feature. Buy one. Buy several.

BTW, Amazon sells this case for around $22.

There is one major component missing from your review....and it was fairly well documented in the forums by John Yester......

There is/was a design flaw in this specific case. It has caused the flap over the USB port to not close/stay closed as tightly as the other port covers.

Long story short.....Otter was aware of the problem, but stated that not enough problems were reported to have them realistically consider a redesign/fix.

So, they did try and work with those who reported problems. Thus, I have 5 cases siting in my dresser. I stopped trying only because it made my wife feel guilty for me.

That all being said, I have made peace with it and really like the case regardless.....

EDIT: Here's one thread about the "problem":

You're lucky. Every one I have tried....all other port covers are one touch and they are seated well and snug. My USB port back back back with side to side motion and some extra effort....finally is holdi.....oooops a tad more pressure needed.......ok....looks like it is holding for now.....

I just took a razor and cut the little piece off (the one the goes inside the usb, when flap is closed). My problem now is the whole flap is starting to rip from the rest of the rubber, 9months of daily charging might do that. Also the hard shell broke near the skinny area on top of the usb opening (from me taking the case on and of a lot. Right now it is super-glued)

Does anyone know of a good case for protecting the 9650 with an extended battery? I love the Otterbox but they don't make one. Any other ideas out there?

well this case definitely adds bulk to your BB if that's what you're into!


the camera used for the reviews pics is great! which BB was this?

It does, but not nearly as much as a Defender case. For someone who has never used a case, though, it could still seem like a lot.

I took these pictures with my Nikon D3000. And I wouldnt even consider myself any good at taking pics. It is a great camera!

I've had this case for six months now and love it. I've had no problems with it at all and the USB port cover works fine. Guess I got lucky.

My brother has a commuter for his 9700 and I have the defender for my 9650. Personally, I think the defender is better. Is the defender slightly thicker? Yes, but the overall protection is worth it. If you're going to spend that much money on a good, quality case on the commuter, then why not add in a couple of extra bucks and get the defender and protect the screen and keypad?

However, my brother says he can use the original BB holster that came with the phone while using the commuter, so it's a comfortability factor with him, and that's understandable. But really, for as much as phones cost, I guess I'd rather know the phone is protected than vulnerable.

Actually it works with the extended battery but you need to cut out the part of the rubber cover that cover the battery for you to be able to use it with extended battery and ofc without a battery cover, I've been using it that way with the extended battery for about 6 months and didn't have a single problem with it. Otterbox FTW.

I was thinking the same thing. I watched a YouTube video a few weeks ago with a how-to on the battery cut out. I can't find it, so if you know where it's at, please point me to it!

Sorry i don't know about this video but i did it on my own, all you need to do is put the battery in the phone and remove the back cover and put the rubber case on then with a sharp knife or something cut out the exact part that covers the battery and you are done.

I don't know what to say about some people.... i have both the 9700 and the 9650 and have commuter cases for them! I honestly feel the 9650 case is better and nicer than the 9700 one! Now I'm here reading the comments about the BIG PROBLEM that PLAGUES the case... THE USB cover WONT STAY PROPERLY in its place! Big F***ing deal! For real... the case is great and it protects the phone more than any other case i have ever used or owned for it... BELIEVE ME I HAVE 4 cases for the 9700 alone! This case is great... the buttons are easy to push... the back isn't as slick as the 9700, everything is fully protected that should be in case of a fall... PEOPLE NEED TO STOP CRYING over one piece of S**T cover.... how about cut the F***ing thing off and not have it there if its such a big problem... a lot of cases don't even have flaps that cover the Usb ports and other holes the goddamn phone has! i guarantee if the case didn't come with that flap no one would miss it! i have the case and the flap fits in place like it should and maybe now and then it pushes out and doesn't quite go in all the way! BIG DEAL! how bout u buy a cheaper generic case and complain about the quality of the silicone or rubber and cheap plastic if that's what u wanna do! some people need to get over bickering over things that don't even make sense! Otterbox Commuter case for the 9650 is awesome...FTW!!! Yeah and I'll probably get some bulls**t reply about we are spending that amount of money for a case it should be perfect blah blah blah... i don't expect every single aspect of the case to be perfect... u know what!! Otterbox should have done with those that complaints... send them a commuter case without the F***ing Usb flap and send u back $2 or something refund for the flap itself and be like: OK here is the fix... no more flap problem... and we are refunding you $2 off your purchase because the flap costs that... even though its probably nothing more than a couple cents... and then U HAVE NO USB FLAP PROBLEM NO MORE!!

p.s. sorry about my french (and probably spelling or grammar) in some parts of the post! was just venting it out while typing to get the point across as to how much people that WHINE get to me! Thank U and HAVE A NICE DAY!

I've had the this case for a few months now and LOVE it! It's easy to take on/off when needed and no problems with any of the tabs. I would definitely recommend this case!!