Otterbox Commuter for BlackBerry® Torch 9800

Simple packaging

It’s the norm for me to buy protective cover for my newly purchased mobile phone. I used to like Krusell cases, but it’s getting harder to get ’em in KL. I’m also used to be into PDair leather cases, but the linings are made from pigskin, so that’s a no-no.

Moreover, I needed a better protection against accidental drops or occasional bumps. Being this, the intended case should not be made from leather (not bullet-proof enough).

The name says it all

While searching for informations on the net, I came across this brand – Otterbox. Based in Colorado USA, the company has made Otterbox cases for everything since 1998. Their concept is simple: made a case that can withstand a hard knock. But bear in mind, the case is NOT indestructible.

A simple explanation of the protection offered

The Otterbox Commuter for BlackBerry Torch 9800 looks indestructible enough, enough for me to buy one. Since the product is already more than a year old, I managed to get one far cheaper from the actual price (mind you, the price for Otterbox in Malaysia is around RM180 a piece!).

Unpacking the Otterbox

Otterbox came in four different series: the Defender, Reflex, Commuter and Impact Series. Mine was the Commuter, which is the third toughest Otterbox in the line-up. But for Torch 9800, only Commuter is available.

And unfortunately for me, the Otterbox that I bought came in black and shocking pink (!). More on this below.

Otterbox - a household name in mobile protection

The polycarbonate casing is very slippery to hold, especially if you have sweaty hands. I can only wish for the surface to be coated by some sort of rubberised material to enhance grip.

Guess what in the box?

This is something like a bonus to those who purchase the Otterbox casing…

A screen protector!

…it comes with a screen protector! Nice for Otterbox to include the cleaning cloth and installation card too! The screen protector is so easy to install – just align it with the screen and clear away the bubbles.

Three piece set

The Otterbox comes in three parts: the outer layer made from polycarbonate (this layer will protect the Torch’s back from scratches and knocks), the inside layer made from silicone (the pink coloured silicone is to be the ‘cushion’ between the Torch and the black polycarbonate case) and the front ring (to protect the front of the Torch, but not necessary the screen).

Silicone case installation

The pink silicone alone will not be able to provide any kind of protection on its own, as the main task of it is to provide the cushioning between the phone and the outer casing. The fitting to the phone is loose but the USB charging’s hole and the earphone jack’s hole are covered.

Tight fit

Once you put in the black polycarbonate outer casing, it provides a snug fit and total protection. One word of advice: you have to properly aligned the casings with the phone. If not, the lock button at the top of the phone wouldn’t work.

View from the back

The back of the phone is totally protected by the casing, including the side buttons. Even if you drop your phone, I can guarantee you that nothing will happen to your phone. The polycarbonate casing is one tough cookie.

Front ring

The easiest part to install is the front ring. Just align the top part with your phone and snap the bottom of the ring, until you heard a ‘click’ sound.

Complete installation

After that, your Torch is 100% protected by Otterbox. As per pic, the screen is not protected against direct contact.

Check out the top part of the keypad

After using the Otterbox for a few weeks, I began to find several annoying traits about the Otterbox. Among other things:

  • If you open the slider, you’ll noticed that the top part of the keypad is smaller and narrower. This is due to the front ring being made a bit wider. Those who have big digits will be in trouble (read: ME);
  • Sometimes the Torch is difficult to lock (using the top lock button). This is a common problem with other users too. The reason is because the top part of the Otterbox will sometimes squeeze the silicone case against the lock button, and you have to occasionally adjust the position of the silicone;
  • The Torch becomes heavy to carry around;
  • When ‘accidentally’ dropped, the front ring will come off. Some users complained than the ring is easily broken.

Pros: the polycarbonate case is tough; bundled with screen protector.

Cons: expensive when new; your Torch become heavy with the case on; slippery outer casing; front of phone is not totally protected; may be difficult to install for some people; difficult to type with the ring on.

As for me, I think the Otterbox is not for everyone, and reserved for some special occasions such as when you go camping and etc. I’ll be using the Otterbox alternately with my Melkco case, and when I go camping or some sort, I’ll be definitely bringing the Otterbox along. But not to the mall.

Lastly, check out the video review by and installation video by below:


4 responses to “Otterbox Commuter for BlackBerry® Torch 9800

  • LIna

    how do you know that PDair leather cases linings are made of pig skin? do you have any proof, documentation or indication that says so? please reply me to my email. thank you.

  • faz

    hi amran, i’m interested in buying pdair leather case as well for my samsung. i already e-mail concerning the pig leather to them and they told me that the outer skin is from cow and the lining is pvc. i’m still not sure whether to believe them or not in this. but, if you have any proof or whatnot regarding this, can you pleaser e-mail to me?


  • amranfaisal

    Hye Faz,
    I don’t have any written proof on whether pdair leather cases are made from pigskin, but you can always check it visually. If you can see three dots close together and scattered around on the leather, that’s the tell-tale sign that the leather is pigskin.

    I noticed that nowadays pdair made their linings from PVC (not all, mind you). Well, you can also check this visually.

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