When phones with sliding top halves first appeared, they presented unique challenges for accessory manufacturers. I can just imagine that some of them must have been scratching their heads — wondering how they were going to protect both halves of these devices, yet allow the keyboards to remain functional. After years of watching some of the more offbeat solutions come and go — like clear plastic covering the keyboard and odd straps holding the leather bits in place — many case-makers seem to have settled for offering pouches that will hold the phones when they aren’t being used, but many more seem to have chosen not to bother with them at all.
When I got the Nokia N900, I was glad to see that it had a sturdy hard-shell body, because I figured that chances were slim of me ever putting it into a case, much less one that I would like. I am happy to say however, that I was wrong.
OtterBox sent me a review sample of their which has managed to do something I didn’t think was possible — cover and protect the N900 beautifully at all times, without adding a lot of bulk and without making the already industrially styled phone butt ugly.
How? Let me show you …
There are four components to the N900 Commuter Series Case: the top cover, the bottom cover, the rubber inner lining for the bottom cover, and the screen protector kit – which includes a clear silicone adhesive protector, a microfiber cloth and a squeegee.
The screen protector installs in the usual way, and if you are the type who has issues with trapped lint or air bubbles, just remember that using a piece of clear cellophane tape to lift the edge and another to piece of tape to grab the debris under the screen is the best way to take care of anything undesirable. Air bubbles can usually be squeezed out, but if you get a big one, just life the screen protectors edge with another piece of tape and patiently use the squeegee to squeeze out any bubbles that may form as you lay the protector down.
The rubber liner for the bottom half has cutouts for sliding switches and speakers which can’t be covered, but it has perfectly molded rubber plugs to go inside the headphone jack and microUSB ports, and molded rubber button covers to go over the volume rocker, power button, etc.
When the rubber liner is placed inside the plastic outer shell, it not only covers the buttons and ports previously mentioned, it also acts as a shock absorber and an insulator.
The N900 snaps snugly into the bottom …
… and then the final piece of plastic molding snaps securely on the N900’s top half; the phone is now effectively covered and protected.
You can see in the following pictures that all ports, buttons and the stylus are still accessible, although some now have the benefit of a rubber cover.
There is nothing hampering the use of the N900’s large screen.
The cutout on the back of the case is perfectly fitted for the camera, and it also allows the built-in kickstand to still properly function.
But most importantly, the keyboard is completely uncovered, the device has hardly gained any extra weight or bulk, and no functionality has been compromised.
This case is yet another winner from OtterBox! If you have an N900 and you have been searching for a good case that is more than just a slipcover, then you ought to take a look at the Nokia N900 Commuter Series.
The OtterBox is available directly from the manufacturer.
What I Like: Adds protection to the N900 without adding a lot of bulk or weight; the keyboard is completely uncovered; all ports and buttons are accessible — some are even protected with rubber or removable covers; included screen protection
What Needs Improvement: Nothing that I can see — it works exactly as expected!