Otter Box Commuter Series for iPhone 4- accessory review

The Otter Box Commuter Case for iPhone 4 is a well constructed hard-shell case with a silicone layer underneath and screen protector. It provides a no-slip grip while keeping the thin iPhone 4 form factor we love.

Reviewing cases can be tough; there are a lot out there. I think it's fair to say most cases I review are rather good. I haven't really come across the "perfect" case yet, but I might be close with this one. Why? Well, it's the perfect compromise between slim and protected and it's by Otter Box, an industry leader in hardcore protective cases.

What makes this case unique among its competition is that the silicone is very well constructed. The the hard shell outer case and the silicone literally work in concert to protect every aspect of your iPhone 4. The silicone covers everything from the headphone jack port across the top of the device to the 30-pin connector slot on the bottom. Each is protected with a flip-out plug. What is so great is the headphone jack is protected without the sacrifice of blocking the second mic; it's still uncovered. I am very impressed with Otter Box's design work.

The hardshell is pretty solid. The only way I could envision it breaking is if it was frozen to -30 degrees then smashed with a hammer. I seriously feel very secure with it.

Here is something else I like about the case; by now you may know how much I like raised edges on cases for the iPhone, as it protects the screen if it is laid on its face. With the Otter Box, I feel I am getting an extra .5 or 1mm additional height and the hardshell meets the height of the silicone on the top, bottom and sides of the device. This means that if placed face first and any weight is placed on the device, it is still not likely to scratch. That is great design work and my kudos to Otter Box.

If you need your iPhone protected, look no further than the The Otter Box Commuter Case for iPhone 4 to have a good looking case while keeping it safe. Available now from the TiPb iPhone 4 Accessory Store.

TiPb iPhone 4.5-star rated

Pros

  • Awesome protection with little sacrifice for thinness
  • Throughly protected, yet access to all ports, even the mic!
  • Included screen protector
  • Durable silicone skin
  • Polycarbonate outer shell

Cons

  • Though relatively easy to take on and off, not really meant to be removed
  • Lint tends to stick to the silicone, but this is an issue with every silicone skin I have come across
  • No color selections other than black
  • Can't place in dock with case on

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Chad Garrett

Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

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Reader comments

Otter Box Commuter Series for iPhone 4- accessory review

19 Comments

Bulky and ugly. Unless you plan to drop your iPhone 4 a lot, there's no need to get this one.

I really wanted to like this case - I had a Commuter TL for my 3GS. However, after less than 2 months of usage, the silicone part has stretched and become loose to the point that it's more annoying than anything else. The silicone bulges out from the sides at the bottom, and if I push on it to make it sit flush with the phone, the strip under the home button sticks up. I don't know, maybe it was just the specific one I got, but I was nowhere near as impressed with this as my previous Otterbox case.

ya nate , i had the sylicrilic or whatever its called from incipio. same exact thing happened to me w/ that one. got sick of using it.

I had this case but didnt like it at all and returned it for the Otter Box Defender. IMO the Defender is way better.

I just purchased the iPhone 4 mophie case and have found it to be amazing as a case, charger, and sound amplifier. Never really liked cases that made the phone bulky such as the otter box but the bulk added by the mophie makes the feel great in my hand.

I found that it was easier to put on when I placed the silicone inside the hard shell, then put the phone inside.
When I put the silicone on the phone, then attempted to put the hard shell over top, it was more aggravating attempting to get all the smaller pieces to fit properly, like the thin piece over the 30 pin.
Also, on the inside of the hard shell, you'll see grooves for the silicone to sit in. It's a lot easier to put the silicone in these grooves without a phone in the way, making it more secure and less likely to bunch up as other users have said.

This case is nice and all... But during phone calls is causes significant echoing for the person on the other end of the call.. There's 50 bones down the drain. This case is great to protect the phone... But for actual usage.. I give it the thrown....

I used the commuter on my 3GS and after a year when I sold the well used 3GS on Ebay it looked BRAND NEW. I'm not a big phone dropper but I do drop it from time to time and it only takes once to kill it.
I am using it on my iPhone 4 now and love it. I know that a minor drop is not nearly as likely to kill my phone as it would be with an iFrog or bumper case.
@Kris, I have never had any kind of echoing problem.

Chad HAS got to get a Christmas card this year from Otterbox. THIS CASE SUCKS!! The "silicone liner" is a joke. The plastic back does not stay on. Bought this POS after getting ripped off on the Defender. Silicone cover will not stay on it. And, it is not just me. Emailed Otter to see about the cover coming off my blue case. Was told they are aware of the problem and will replace the silicone with a new one. It is a design flaw. Campare the way the 3G Defender / Commuter fit your phone. My 3G Commuter almost could not be taken off. This one you can just pull the phone out. Looks like Otter tried to hurry these out. They were late to the party on the 4, and it does not appear they cared what they released, as long as they got out SOMETHING.

I absolutely love this case. I bought five from all major brands, but this was perfect in both form and function. Also, while in the UK I dropped my phone in water!! I had the case on and main connector plugs in, etc. The phone was totally fine in a few hours and I attribute it to the water not being able to have a free for all inside the phone. I highly recommend giving it a try.

I can't recommend this case to anyone. It has some design flaws. The top plastic has a somewhat sharp edge on it so it scratches your ear when you hold up the phone to talk. The silicone was fine for me, but I can see why people would say it stretches out. No cover for the logo on the back. I didn't use it for long. Go with the SGP Neo Hybrid Matte. I haven't looked back. BTW TiPB doesn't really make great reviews. There should be a place (sticky thread) where readers can submit their own reviews for any accessory. Kinda like Larry Greenberg's thread, but always on top. Usually those reviews are more in depth and realistic (not sponsored).

i recomment this case for everyone who wants to keep your iphone 4 in an excelent quality and at the same time easy going on the pocket because of the plastic cover over the silicon, i personally like the deffender more cause im a geek, otter box its like the apple and cocacola of cases

I own 2 of these cases...AND THEY SUCK!!! i had bought my first one and was disappointed right from the beginning. The silicone is extremely loose and thin, it doesn't fit the phone snugly like the one for the 3GS did (which i loved), so it just wants to pop off. Second, the earphone jack cover wants to pop open all the time and the silicone wants to pop off the corners. I had purchased the 2nd case thinking maybe it was just a flaw with my first case. I DONT RECOMMEND THIS CASE!

I hate this case as well, I used to have the case for the 3GS and it worked great! The "rubber" cover on this one comes off every time U put it into your pocket, and it never quite fits. Very upset about the case.

My case fits worse all the time. The silicon seems to grow every day. It hardly fits the bottom at all and I can no longer keep the plug for the charging port in. It also is very easy to peel away from the sides. I saw, above, where someone said Otterbox admitted the design flaw and gave them a new case. I am going to contact them. For forty dollars I think my case should be a perfect fit. If they can't make it right it's probably time for me to find a new brand.