When I started gaming back in the 80’s you could play games in 3 places: Your house, your friend’s house, and the arcade. The gamer lifestyle was one where you either sunk a permanent indent into your couch playing Gauntlet on the Commodore 64, or went through all the quarters a week’s worth of allowance could buy playing Operation: Wolf.
Of course since the advent of mobile gaming, where we play has changed. It’s everywhere, and while the platforms have evolved and gotten smaller and the places we’ve used them has changed. And while those old arcade systems and home consoles were built like tanks, the mobile platforms we play on are often somewhat fragile, and used in situations where they are at put at risk on a daily basis. My daily use mobile gaming device is my BlackBerry 8820. With the upcoming move to Boston, I just haven’t had a lot of time to sit down with the 360 and play like I used to. And while it’s only casual games like BrickBreaker or Bejeweled, I play every day. To keep it protected, I’ve been trying out the OtterBox BlackBerry 8800 Series Defender Case.
We first met OtterBox back at CES a few years ago, when they were displaying their waterproof storage cases. But as they have expanded operations, their daily use cases have drawn the lion’s share of the attention and for good reason. The Defender series is made up of 3 parts: a clear membrane that protects the screen and keyboard from dust and a few drops of liquid, a polycarbonate shell that provides the majority of the protection for the phone, and a silicone wrap that protects the shell.
I’m pretty clumsy, so it isn’t surprising that I have dropped my phone more than a few times, and I’m quite sure that without the Defender I would have had to take advantage of the insurance on my handset. The worst time was a six foot fall through some open back concrete steps onto a concrete floor. The worst thing that happened was a small scrape to the exposed polycarbonate on the front of the case. The phone was fine.
While the Defender series definitely does its job, and does it well, it isn’t completely without flaws. To begin with, the membrane is a little difficult to get to seal completely against the screen, and air bubbles remain on mine to this day, even with several resets. Second, particles collect around the opening in the membrane for the trackball. The membrane needs removed every couple months to clean around it, and particles sometimes stick to the outside.
There’s also a design flaw in the shell that puts a ¼” wall just above the trackball that sits at the base of the screen. The problem is that the wall gets in the way for scrolling up and down. Specifically up, because it’s a bit harder to follow through on the upstroke.
Finally, while the silicone protects the shells very well, the small flap of silicone that directly protects the data and earphone wore down for me, and eventually broke. A thicker piece of silicone to cover the ports and more importantly a deeper band to connect the flap to the rest of the wrap would make a big difference.
In conclusion, I think the Defender series would be a good purchase for anyone with a BlackBerry, an iPhone, or any of the other models the Defender series OtterBox BlackBerry 8800 Series Defender Case protects.