Tablet Case Review: OtterBox Defender Series for BlackBerry PlayBook Reviewed by Tong Zhang
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Very good design, solid material and build, lots of protection.
What's Not: The built-in stand isn't very strong.
If you have been reading our case reviews, you should already be familiar with the OtterBox Defender Series, a three-part and super protective case for your mobile device. OtterBox will soon release the Defender Series case for the BlackBerry PlayBook and we got our hands on one at the BlackBerry World where OtterBox is exhibiting. As I was putting the OtterBox Defender Case on my BlackBerry PlayBook, several conference attendees stopped and asked me where they could get this case for their tablet. So it looks like OtterBox got anther winner.
The first thing you should know about the OtterBox is that it protects the entire tablet. It comes in three pieces and you will need to put them on one after another. The first layer protects the structure of the BlackBerry PlayBook and it?s made with hi-impact polycarbonate material that?s perfectly form fitted to the BlackBerry tablet. The hard shell like layer comes in two parts: a black back cover and a clear screen cover. The two parts snaps on together in four points and it?s quite easy to snap on, but once it?s locked in place, the case is securely wrapped around the entire tablet.
The next layer is a silicone cover that?s soft and flexible. This layer covers the back of the BlackBerry PlayBook and wraps around the edges of the tablet. The soft silicone has raised grips on the back and dimpled areas, all designed to help you better handle the tablet and prevent it from slipping out of your hands. The case does do a great job with ergonomics for using the tablet while it?s in the case.
Now with the back of the tablet super protected by a hard and a soft layer for shock and bumps, the screen gets the special treatment: the OtterBox Defender Series case comes with a hard shell cover that snaps on the front of the BlackBerry PlayBook and it can certainly protect the screen from any objects that might poke or scratch the display.
While the OtterBox Defender Series case is brutishly strong it doesn?t lack any small nice touches. Under all those layers, the BlackBerry PlayBook?s bottom ports are accessible. Though you will likely not be able to dock the tablet unless the dock has a large space around the connector, but charging and data cables can easily connect to the PlayBook via the cutouts on the Defender case. The top buttons are useable under the silicone cover, and there cutouts for the stereo mic on top of the BlackBerry PlayBook.
The case has cutouts for the front facing stereo speakers on the PlayBook, the rear camera as well as the audio jack and dual microphone on top of the tablet. While the bottom cutouts and the audio jack are under peal-open silicone pieces, the stereo mic cutouts don?t have any cover. Since the tablet?s screen is behind a clear screen protector, you can make video calls without take it out of the case. You can even make video calls via the front facing camera even when the hard shell front cover is on because the hard cover has a slider hole that you can open to use the camera and close it when you are not using the front camera. Very clever!
For the field workers, the OtterBox Defender Series Case has another treat for you: the front screen cover is also a built-in stand. The ?X? folding stand can pop up your tablet in either landscape or portrait orientation. You can fold the stand up when it?s not in use. The stand feels reasonably sturdy but not super strong.
Judging by the large crowd in their booth at the BlackBerry World, OtterBox has a lot of fans in the BlackBerry community. The OtterBox Defender case for the PlayBook is a well made case that protects the entire body of the tablet. It?s water resistant, not waterproof, and can protect your device in the field. The case fits the tablet very nicely and has clever cutouts that make the tablet very functional while in the case. The material and build quality are top-notch and the design is very much catered for this particular tablet. The built-in stand lets you pop up the tablet in 45-degree angle, but it?s not a heavy duty stand.