The OtterBox 1921 Palm Treo Case is designed mainly for those who work in harsh environments to protect their Treo smartphones. It's a dustproof, drop and crush protection case that gives you access too ALL Treo buttons and keys. I used to think that a person who uses a case like this usually wears a steel-toed working boots at work or in a military outfit. That is until I was on a beach and had to handle a call while my hands were covered with sand and my expensive phone unprotected from it. I wish nobody had to work on his or her vacation, but we all know that's not realistic nowadays. So even if you don't work in construct or out in the field, you might still run into situation where a more protective case is needed than the usual office-friendly case.
What does the OtterBox 1921 Palm Treo case offer?
Heavy protection from bumps, drops and strong impact. The Otterbox 1900 cases are tested for complete dust proof and 4-foot drops on all surface types. It looks and feels very sturdy and all the edges and openings are sealed when the case is closed. Though the case looks heavily fortified, it's quite light and feels good in hand. The case comes in two parts that are sealed by a strong latch. When case is closed, all of your Treo's body will be covered including the screen, earpiece, camera lens and charging ports.
I expected the Otterbox case to be strong and protective, but I was more impressed by the functional design which allows all operations on the Treo without taking it out of the case. The keyboard and phone control buttons on the front work very well, though not as comfortable as using them on the Treo. The keys on the Otterbox 1921's keyboard are as domed as the ones on the Treo, but they have good feedback and are easy to get used to. The call control buttons and the Treo menu buttons are actually easier to use than on the Treo because they are raised higher. The Treo screen is protected by two layers of material: one is soft plastic layer that allows you to use Treo's touch screen with either the stylus or your fingers; and then a hard plastic cover flip layer sits on top to protect the screen. You will find a stylus holder on the right side of the case. The earpiece and mic hole are also under two layers of covers: a soft layer and a hard grill surface. The incoming and outgoing voice sound clear with the Treo in the case.
The Otterbox 1921 offers a large IR window on the right for Treo's IR port, soft rubber buttons for the volume controls and the left convenient key on the left side of the case. On the back, you will find the camera lens covered by a clear hard plastic and the loudspeaker covered by protected grills that allow sound to come through but has protection from the element. You will find a thick rubber cover on the bottom of the Otterbox case that protects the Treo's sync/charge port. You can lift the rubber cover to charge of sync the Treo without taking it out of the case. The Otterbox 1921 comes with a belt-clip system and a hex wrench for its installation.
Is the case waterproof?
Not completely. Unlike the Otterbox series, the Otterbox 1921 for Treo isn't waterproof so don't go swimming with your Treo in it. The Otterbox 1921 is tested for submerging in 3 feet of water for 30 minutes, and if you use your Treo in light rain the case will protect it. We used garden hose in our test here:
When we open the case after hosing down the case, we saw some seepage through the keys on the keyboard, but the silicon layer underneath the keys protect the Treo from the water.
See the dark spot through the silicon which is water spot seeped through the keys but not through the case:
Is the case for you?
So if your job, travel and other occasions require you to have more protection for your Treo smartphone than the general office case, and you still want the beauty and smaller size of a non-ruggedized PDA phone, then consider the Otterbox case. It has the design for most outdoor environments when you need to use a phone, uses sturdy and light material and gives you access to almost everything you need to use the phone. The keyboard and button controls through the case are amazingly useable.