Few weeks ago, I wrote about the fragility of the new iPhone 3G …or just its lack of scratchproof coating (e.g. nano-paint). My Blackberry 9000 Bold also suffered the same fate, but at least it wasn’t a scratch caused by expensive protective case bought in Apple store.
Just in case you wondered, the protective case that scratched the back of iPhone 3G can was a $35 purchase under the name Incase Slider for iPhone 3G. The phone was scratched while protected by the case – Incase Slider made too much pressure on the back side of the phone and scratched the logo.
After the story went live, I got contacted by OtterBox, offering me evaluation of their line of protective cases. OtterBox has two lines – Impact series is affordable, $19.99 line while Defender will set you back for $49.99, but it offers probably the best protection on the market.
One week after the story, I received Impact 3G and Impact Bold cases, two cases made of flexible silicone material. With this type of material, shiny surfaces on your phones are protected against friction, which is sadly inevitable in the case of hard shell case on a shiny surface.
Bear in mind that these devices will not protect your LCD screen – you have to buy screen protectors separately. My personal recommendation is that you should spend additional $10 to get a screen protector. One of ideas that popped in my mind is the one with OtterBox offering Impact Plus, $29.99 pack with two screen protectors, and that would sort of bridge the price gap between Impact and Defender. Then again, I saw fair share of similar cases costing 10-15 greenbacks more than Impact, and still not offering any screen protection. In that case, Impact already gets thumbs up for its value.
Getting back to Impact 3G and Impact Bold, both cases come in easy-to-open retail package. This is a welcomed change from “break your fingers” retail cases that are default package for numerous accessories in the handheld world. Good riddance, as far as I am concerned.
Putting the phones inside the Impact cases is very simple:
- Clean the phone with polishing cloth (front and back)
- While holding the phone with the cloth, slide one side of the phone in the case
- Roll over the silicone case on top of the side that remained above the case
- You’re done.
Simple and effective – just like most silicone-based cases, OtterBox Impact will protect the phone from generating scratches while the device is on the table or occasional drop from the table to the floor. One of favorite “sports” in Croatia is putting the cellphone on the table in coffee-shops and bars, instead of staying in the pocket – with Impact, there is little danger of scratching the surface.
On the plus side, I would also note that it is neat to have high grip backside, since you can put the phone on top of car console and it won’t fly away while cornering and higher speeds (tested in sweepy curves with Dodge Charger… sadly, a V6 one).
On the negative side, I really think that OtterBox could have charged a bit more and bundle the screen protection as well, and bear in mind that high levels grip will also slow you down while taking the phone from the pockets of tight jeans – don’t say I didn’t warn you.
As a conclusion, OtterBox definitely provided a good product and for the price the company asks, we don’t think there is a product with better value. For 20 bucks you get a good silicone case that will protect your Bold / iPhone, and if you need more, there is a triple-level protection Defender.