OtterBox Commuter for iPhone 4 Review

When it comes to the market for cell phone cases, you have two options. You can go for something fashionable, which will make your phone look fantastic and provide minimal protection, or you can go for something that provides extreme protection, but is often bulky and ugly. Otterbox is one of the few companies that manages to bridge that gap. They are best known for their solid protection oriented case, the Defender. The Defender provides maximum iPhone 4 protection, but at times can be bulky. OtterBox knows that its not for everyone, and thus has successfully bridged the gap with their Commuter Series. The Commuter provides the same high standard of protection as the defender, but in a more stylish and slimmed down package. The Commuter comes with OtterBox's screen shield, installation card and cleaning cloth. Remember, the screen of the iPhone 4 is totally accessible for touch functions and so it can only be protected by the thin plastic screen shield. Clean your screen thoroughly before putting the shield on. The case is two pieces which offer two layers and types of phone protection. The inner layer is made of silicone and will help to protect your iPhone from shocks and impacts while the rugged outer plastic shield protects your phone from surface scratches and harder drops. My one issue with the case is the installation process. Most cell phone cases are very simple, snap the case on and you are done. With the Commuter, installation is a two step process. It takes some time at first, but the resulting level of protection is absolutely worth it. Be patient and line everything up, making sure to lock both sides into place. Once you have your phone in the case, it is a nice tight fit and will likely deter you from removing the phone again because of the lengthy and challenging installation process. Your phone will be safe in the case, and you will still have access to all of the buttons, speakers and inputs. There are individual cutouts for the speakers and the microphone. There is a flap that locks nicely into place keeping your 30 pin connector port fully protected. I know that is much appreciated by some, as there have been some issues with port malfunctions due to dirt and other particles getting lodged in the input. The only snag is that if you regularly use a dock you may have some issues using it in conjunction with this case. The flap gets in the way of docking, even when it’s stuck back out the way. I rarely dock, so this wasn't an issue for me, but for those who do, keep this in mind. The iPhone’s various buttons are covered by a silicone layer and remain highly functional. You won't have any issues pressing the volume or power buttons even with the case installed. The headset jack features a built in cover that has a small cutout for the iPhone’s secondary microphone. Otterbox realizes that not everyone needs or wants the amount of protection that the Defender case provides. The Commuter is perfect for people who want a high quality case that offers great protection, without adding too much bulk. The M.S.R.P. is a very reasonable $34.95 for a case that offers a good amount of protection without being huge. Once you get the case installed you will never want to remove your phone again! Check out OtterBox's site and grab one today!