Otterbox Commuter review (mixed colors) + another surprising case

Discussion in 'iPhone Accessories' started by KentuckyHouse, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. KentuckyHouse macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #1
    I'm a case addict. Specifically, I'm an Otterbox Commuter addict. It started with my 3GS. While, with the 3GS version, you were restricted to only black silicone, you could get "color packs" that included different colored shells. I ended up with nearly every color...black, green, yellow, navy blue, and white. It was great, because I could change the color with my mood or upcoming schedule. Going out for a fun night? Pop on the green or yellow shell. Got a meeting and need to be more professional? Pop the black shell on.

    After upgrading to the 4S, it was back to "old reliable". I picked up a black/black combo from AT&T on launch day. This one has the "old style" silicone. Softer, more pliable.

    After about a week, I decided to pull the trigger and ordered two other ones from Otterbox using the 10% off and free shipping coupon from the thread here. Once they arrived, I noticed the silicone had changed. It was much more firm (something that's been duly noted in two different threads here). At first, I hated it. I was used to the softer silicone, like the 3GS version and the black/black one I got on launch day. But after using it for the last week, I can say that I now prefer the new silicone. It holds it's shape better and doesn't attract lint at all (not that I had much of a problem with the old silicone doing that.)

    For those that are wondering, yes, I had the fitment issues. But what I've figured out is that if you just use it...break it in...those fitment issues will go away. Someone suggested wadding it up, stretching it...just giving it a good once-over before you put it on the phone. It works.

    Anyway, I now have another one. The blue/blue one. I wanted the blue silicone, badly. Hey, I'm a Kentucky Wildcats fan and certified member of Big Blue Nation! We're nothing if not crazy! :D

    So I wanted to show off some pics for those that may have wondered what combining some of these different cases looked like. Without further ado...

    Green/Black:

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Blue/Gray:

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Black/Blue:

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I'm still breaking in the blue silicone, so there's still some slight fitment issues. You'll notice around the bottom, where the plastic shell curves, it doesn't sit completely into the silicone. This is just a matter of the silicone breaking in. The gray silicone was the same way, but has now relaxed and the fitment issues are gone.

    Now, for the +1 surprising case. While in Radio Shack (where I got the blue/blue Commuter), I found they had the Incipio Delta on sale for $9.99. I'd seen this case on Incipio's website and was intrigued by it, but I'd never thought about picking one up. Well, for that low price, I snatched it right up! And I'm glad I did!

    The Delta is comparable to the Commuter, except it lacks the built-in port protectors. It's a 2-piece case, consisting of the inner silicone sleeve and a firm plastic frame that fits over the silicone. I would say the silicone's firmness sits somewhere between the original Commuter silicone and the new Commuter silicone. Firm, but not hard...it has a nice feel. The frame is a matte finish with a rubbery coating. Time will tell if this will scuff or peel off, but it feels good in the hand.

    The one thing I've noticed in testing it...it DOES suffer from a small amount of flash washout. It's not as bad as some of the other cases that had the smaller, or keyhole, openings...but it does have a touch of it. I'm going to try and figure out a way to remedy this (maybe the Sharpee trick?)

    Anyway, here's some pictures. If you want a good protective case for CHEAP...swing by Radio Shack and grab one of these. I promise you won't be disappointed (as long as the slight flash issue doesn't bother you).

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Fits the 4S perfectly!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Autokon macrumors 6502

    Autokon

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    CA
    #2
    Nice review!

    I'll admit it.. I'm considering other colors as well :D
     
  3. Minarets macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    #3
    looks good. what kind of screen protector is that?

    i like that incipio
     
  4. KentuckyHouse thread starter macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #4
    I've got the Power Support Anti-Glare HD on there. They're so much better than the old anti-glare protectors. Much less grainy. :D
     
  5. Brad02 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    #5
    I really like the Delta. I like the Black and Blue Commuter look as well. I went to 2 different RS looking for the Delta but neither had them. Thanks for the review.
     
  6. yourtoys7 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    #6
    whats up with them not allining properly (except green/ black)? or you just didn't fit them properly?
     
  7. KentuckyHouse thread starter macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #7
    No, they're fitted properly. Like I said in the review, they just need to be used to break them in. With this stiffer silicone, the shells don't want to sit flush in some places and the silicone almost seems to be too small for the phone when you first put it on. But after a couple of days, it starts to loosen a bit, and everything starts to sit correctly.

    That's why I mentioned someone's idea of wadding the silicone up, flexing it, stretching it gently, all before you put it on your phone. This will help speed up the break-in process.
     
  8. Minarets macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    #8

    awesome. thanks. i personally am OCD about fingerprints and used a SGP anti fingerprint on my HTC Touch Pro 2. i keep thinking if i get an iphone, i want the retina display, but wont be able to handle fingerprints. that screen sheild looks good and they sell those at our apple store.

    i havent tried, but thought about, the new(er) SGP Ultra Optics that supposedly is much much much clearer than their old AF screens. i havent looked up many reviews yet on the Power Support Anti -Glare. thanks
     
  9. NWI73 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
  10. KentuckyHouse thread starter macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #10
    Haha...no, sorry. I tend to change whenever the mood strikes me, honestly. They all get put to good use. :D
     
  11. Brad02 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    #11
    Finally found a Delta in stock at one of the Radio Shacks. It fits perfect! I was hoping a couple of the other cases rang up differently as nothing was marked at any of the stores I went to. Thanks for the heads up.
     
  12. KentuckyHouse thread starter macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #12
    Hey, glad you were able to find one, Brad. Enjoy it! :D
     
  13. yourtoys7 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    #13
    Not sure what's up with all the conflicting info. on different silicone!
    Went to local phone shop and they had new 4S' but silicone felt same, when I asked the guy, he says he's been told by letterbox that only defender changed changed silicone.
    Watched few videos on YouTube and silicone was not that stiff as on video. Could the be still shipping old silicone with new plastic?
     
  14. KentuckyHouse thread starter macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #14
    You hit upon it. You CAN still find the new design with the older, softer silicone. The green/black one that I posted above...that silicone came with the black shell in the other pictures. It's the softer, old-style silicone, but the new design of the case (larger camera opening). But the ones that Otterbox is shipping directly are all the new, firmer silicone.

    FYI, I got the black/black "old style silicone" one from a local AT&T store on launch day. Most of the other ones I have, I've ordered directly from Otterbox.
     
  15. MrRon macrumors regular

    MrRon

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #15
    Otterbox quality control may have some issues... maybe rush for the 4S market.. so no QC exist
     
  16. KentuckyHouse thread starter macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #16
    Oh, I agree. There are definitely issues right out of the box with the new silicone. And the product isn't quite as polished as in past years...marks from the moldings are apparent, extra little pieces of silicone sticking out here and there...just things that I've never seen on the 3GS version of the Commuter.

    While the design of the Commuter isn't new for the 4S (they updated the camera/flash cutout for the 4 long before the 4S was known to be coming out), the silicone is and I think that's where the majority of the complaints are coming from (and where most of the blame for any problems lie).

    One thing that's been noted...apparently, Otterbox is now making these in the U.S. While that's good that they've brought their manufacturing back "home", I hate to say it, but I preferred the product more when it was coming out of China. That sounds awful, but the fact is, these cases didn't have the QC issues when they were made over there.
     
  17. MrRon macrumors regular

    MrRon

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #17
    You must kidding me... you think Otter box really brings the manufacturing back to US?? I don't think so.. I think they just switched to a lower quality factory in China for cost savings.... and bigger margins
     
  18. KentuckyHouse thread starter macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #18
    Um, I'm pretty sure a US-based company would get into quite a bit of hot water if they suddenly started claiming "Made In The USA" when they really weren't. FYI, Otterbox is based in Colorado.

    But since you seem to be a conspiracy theorist, how about a little proof, right?

    Black, old-style silicone I posted about above. CLEARLY marked as "Made in China":

    [​IMG]

    Gray, newer-style silicone. CLEARLY marked as "Made in USA":

    [​IMG]

    Believe what you want, but these are the facts.
     
  19. LTMK macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Location:
    NY, NY
    #19

    Interesting.. but which one has a better build quality?
     
  20. diane143 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #20
    Actually my blue one I purchased a couple of nights ago says Made in USA as well. Both pieces. I did not have to massage the inner piece to get it to fit.
     
  21. KentuckyHouse thread starter macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #21
    I think they both have good build quality. The older silicone is much less-firm than the newer silicone, but that doesn't mean one is better or worse. It does mean the newer, stiffer silicone needs more time to be broken in, but you also don't have some of the issues you had with the softer silicone (for instance, the silicone that lines the sides of the screen would sometimes loosen and become a bit flimsy).

    Of course, the newer silicone has it's issues as well. Because it's more firm, the port covers are less pliable and sometimes don't want to stay completely closed. I still feel this will resolve itself as the silicone is used and becomes more pliable, but it's a bit of a PITA at first.
     
  22. Joyrider07 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #22
    otterbox commuter 4 fitting iPhone 4S?

    My cousins each preordered the 4S, and bought an Otterbox iPhone 4 case on Amazon. I noticed that the camera openings are different than that of the 4S case. Is there a photo difference with the 4 and 4S cases different enough for them to switch?

    Thanks
     
  23. awtryau89 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    #23
    I just snagged a Delta today because of this thread. It was $9.97 at the Shack and I couldn't pass it up. I really like it. Its just a touch bulkier than the Commuter but definitely adds more protection. It may just be the honeymoon period but I'm sticking with it for the time being and dumping the Commuter.
     
  24. Ikyo macrumors 6502

    Ikyo

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    #24
    At the Radio Shacks I went to, the Incipio was $19.99. I am not sure if they didn't have it marked down any more or what. I did however pick up 2 Commuters. One of them was the black on black and the other was the blue on blue. I noticed the black was the older silicon and it fit perfectly. With the blue one, I had to try 3 different cases before I felt one fit good enough to try. I am still having really bad gapping on the back. I am going to try it for a few days and if it doesn't correct itself...Otterbox said they will send me a replacement.
     
  25. KentuckyHouse thread starter macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #25
    The initial iPhone 4 Commuter had a black plastic insert that separated the camera lens and flash. This one has bad flash issues (washout in the pictures). IMO, if you've got that one, you're better off getting the updated version with the larger camera/flash cutout. You won't have any flash issues at all with the updated version.

    ----------

    I've just been rotating between a few different cases. Some days I want more protection, so I'll use the Commuter or Delta. Others, I want a slimmer case that still offers some decent protection, so I'll use the Magpul Field Case (I'm pretty taken with that one right now). It's nice to have choices, though! :D

    ----------

    Yep...you're finding out first-hand the issues with the new silicone as compared to the older silicone. They both have their pros and cons. I've got 2 new replacement cases coming from Otterbox this week (they're replacing the two that I ordered from them), so we'll see if they've done anything to address the fitment issue.
     

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