Review: OtterBox Rugged Cases

These cases protect your cell phone when the going gets tough.

Nov. 7, 2007 — -- When we choose our cell phones or PDAs, we often want the slimmest, sexiest devices we can find. Before we step out of the store, the realities of everyday use rarely enter our minds.

Well, before you take that $399 iPhone camping or throw that Treo into the glove compartment, you may want to look into a case from OtterBox.

Otter Products has designed waterproof cases for more than a decade, and they now have two lines that still offer protection from the elements but make it easier to, simultaneously, use the devices they hold.

The Armor Series is for those outdoor types who need intense protection from rain, dirt or mountain range drops. The Defender Series shields dust, dirt and drops in a thinner design for active folks who don't want the added bulk.

I tried the OtterBox 1933 that is designed to protect the BlackBerry 8800. I found that the case was very sturdy, protected the BlackBerry from wear and tear and was a snap to set up.

The added protection will cost you some style points, because the protective case nearly doubled the thickness of my device. I found the protection around the already cramped keyboard made it difficult to access the space bar, but this may be a problem unique to the BlackBerry layout.

There is no doubt that the rugged casing protected my gadget when it fell on the floor, and when I spend a day in a rough environment, I will certainly keep the OtterBox on my BlackBerry.