Otterbox Commuter case for iPhone 4S review

Otterbox is one of the best examples of a quality case manufacturer, and though they’re an established brand their products are constantly referred to as “great surprises” among newfound fans. The Commuter case series is probably its most popular since it combines excellent manufacturing quality and awesome device protection.

The iPhone 4S model has been slightly remodelled from its predecessor, with a larger camera hole for increased flash diffusion. The white iPhone 4S is especially prone to flash issues with case so this nips that problem in the bud right away.

Otterbox is quite generous with the quality of its products: you can tell they use very strong rubber and scratch-resistant polycarbonate shells. The Commuter series has an inner silicone “keeper” and an outer hard case that fits over the more vulnerable parts of the device. It’s worked for years, and despite adding a bit of bulk to the iPhone we are glad they maintained the design.

With the case installed, all of the ports are covered against dust and debris: there is a rather stubborn flap protecting the charging port, and a more cooperative one on top for the headphone jack. Power and volume buttons receive little rubber nubs that protrude 2-3mm and are very easy to press and delineate between without looking.

The Commuter is very shock absorbant and scratch resistant: we dropped our iPhone from upwards of six feet with no perceived damage to the outer shell. All four corners are protected by the outer plastic layer, and the whole kit comes out just far enough to protect the front of your iPhone from scrapes and scratches.

There is no question that the Commuter is a compromise between size and durability. If you are averse to covering up the inherent beauty of your iPhone 4 or 4S, this may not be the case for you. It’s more utilitarian than designer, but it brings its own dual-toned charm. Other than the black-on-black combination, there are five colourful alternatives to choose from.

The Commuter comes with a dry-apply screen protector, for which we have our reservations, but it’s better than nothing. You can purchase the Otterbox Commuter from Future Shop or Best Buy, or from their website for $34.95US.