If you’re familiar with OtterBox you know that their flagship case, the Defender, provides an paralleled level of protection for whatever device you choose to place inside it. However, that amount of protection doesn’t come without a price. The Defender is big, some might even call it bulky. It’s for this reason that OtterBox first offered the Commuter Series Case for the iPhone 3Gs and they’ve now released it for the iPad.
The Commuter Series is sort of like the Defender’s little brother. One look at it and you know right away it’s a OtterBox. It’s sturdy, attractive and offers a good amount of shock and impact protection, just not quite as much as the Defender and it’s because of this that the Commuter is slimmer.
The Commuter Series case comes packaged with a crystal clear front screen shield, cleaning cloth and install card. Many case manufacturers are simply choosing to enclose the screen shield install card they have on hand for their iPhone cases. These cards are too small for the iPad. OtterBox made the choice to create a larger install card which makes installing the screen shield onto the iPad much easier.
The crystal clear screen shield is of good quality and installation isn’t too difficult as long as you mind your dust.
The case features three levels of protection. The aforementioned screen protector, plus a silicone membrane and a hard plastic shell. It’s available in only black and weighs in at a somewhat hefty 6.5 ounces. It doesn’t add much in the way of bulk though measuring 9.84 x 7.73 x .079 inches which means it’s small enough to tote around inside a briefcase or purse or simply on its own freestyle.
The first step to placing the iPad into the Commuter is to wrap the silicone layer around your device. This is quite easy. The skin is thick and its rounded edges naturally hug the contours of the iPad.
Once you’ve got the silicone skin in place you’re ready to place the snap on back over it. Unlike the skin this isn’t as simple as it sounds. It’s a very tight fit. You start from the bottom and once it’s seated you move on to the sides. Those two steps aren’t challenging but getting the top portion of the back cover on can be. It takes a little work and a little finesse but once you’ve got everything in place the case fits like a glove.
When it’s fully installed the Commuter case offers a great “lay-on-the-table” design.
The top includes a cover for the headset port that you can move out of the way when you need access as well as a nubby cover for the sleep/awake button. The secondary microphone is left exposed.
The volume rocker also has similar nubby covers but the orientation lock switch remains fully accessible.
As for the bottom the Commuter features a snap off bottom piece that you remove when it’s time to sync and or charge your iPad. Not only does this allow you to use the standard iPad cable to do so but removing the cover allows you to charge and sync your iPad in the Apple iPad dock as well.
The Apple Keyboard Dock works with this case too.
Even with the snap off cover on the speakers are left open so that the device’s sounds are not effected.
On the back of the side you’ll notice a cutout revealing the iPad’s Apple logo. But the cutout is covered with a clear, screen shield like material which insures the logo will be protected.
OtterBox knows that the Defender style case isn’t for everyone. Those who don’t will appreciate the level of protection the Commuter Series offers while remaining sleek and slender. With three levels of protection the case should do a good job of combating whatever dings and bumps life throws at it. It’s not the most in-expensive iPad case on the market but really good things seldom are.
To learn more about the OtterBox Commuter Case for the iPad head to the OtterBox web site located.
M.S.R.P. – $64.95
What I like – Great protection, still slender, Apple logo revealed but protected.
What I don’t like - Hard to get on.