The BlackBerry PlayBook has really been gaining ground in the tablet market. If you’re like me, and like to keep your gadgets protected, the first thing you’d probably be looking for is good, reliable protection for your PlayBook. The OtterBox Defender is one of the more popular options around. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve had my PlayBook in it and I’m sharing my experience for all the PlayBook owners out there who are looking to protect their all-around powerful tablet.
Continue reading for more.
Box Contents and Assembly
Straight out of the box, the OtterBox Defender for the PlayBook is already assembled together.
Taking them apart, I found that it comes in four separate pieces: 2 polycarbonate plastic pieces that form the protective shell, 1 rubber casing that covers the entire shell, and 1 polycarbonate cover that doubles as front cover and stand.
Assembling the case to protect the PlayBook was real easy. The inner shell covers the entire PlayBook snugly, without any play whatsoever. It was very apparent that OtterBox had the taken the exact specifications and built their case perfectly around it. Inside the shell, it was good to note that OtterBox placed 2 flat, foam-like material that held the unit in place, yet leaving the center portion with space to breathe (check above images). The shell pieces snap together with the help of 4 built-in clips that lock both pieces together.
The rubber casing likewise completely covers the shell perfectly. It also effectively covers the headset port and the connector ports — things I often wished had been less exposed to the elements. The overall feel of the rubber casing when holding the PlayBook is something I particularly appreciate — It definitely lessens the risk of dropping your PlayBook when handled.
The fourth and final piece is the front cover. This front cover doubles as a stand which allows for two ways of holding the unit: upright and slanted. Turning the cover into a stand is easy — all you’d need to do is pull on the plastic contraption inside the cover and it opens up and locks in place. Just place your PlayBook on either side and you’re good to go!
Function and Use
Carrying around and using the PlayBook while encased by the OtterBox Defender did take a little getting used to. For starters, the case does make the PlayBook seem a little bulkier and heavier. Since I often use the PlayBook for working with my files, I tend to carry it around with me everywhere. I’d have to say it felt like I was carrying two PlayBooks, both in size and in weight.
For the past two weeks, some people have asked and commented on the thickness and the weight of my PlayBook after checking it out. Although they found the unit a little heavier and bulkier, most (if not all) of them did remark that the case seemed very durable and protected the PlayBook well. As it turned out, I’ve had a couple of close encounters with my PlayBook, accidentally hitting the edge of the table. On both occasions I found myself being thankful that it was the rubber casing that scratched the table, and not my PlayBook!
The Defender series cover/stand also features a camera lens port-hole when the cover is attached to the back of the PlayBook. Access to the rear camera is achieved by sliding open the camera cover. Once you’re done taking photos and videos, simply sliding it back in place covers and protects the rear camera again.
Working on the PlayBook while mounted on the Defender’s stand is also great! The two options for mounting your PlayBook provide enough angle to reduce glare. I also appreciate that it firmly holds the PlayBook in place. With other book-type cases where the PlayBook is made to rest on the inside of the front cover, I find it a bit annoying when the PlayBook tends to slide either forward or backward while in use.
The screen protector that’s built into the inner shell protection in no way hindered the touchscreen function of the PlayBook. It perfectly covered the screen that it’s almost as if it wasn’t there. Likewise, the protective film covering the front and rear cameras did not affect the quality of the pictures taken. Plus, because the material seemed very durable, I feel more at ease wiping it with cloth — without worry of accidentally scratching the PlayBook in any way.
Pushing the buttons through the outer rubber casing requires some additional pressure, especially with the power button, but not enough to make it an inconvenience.
The rubber cover flaps for the top headset port and the bottom connector ports lock perfectly in place, and easily pop out when you pull on them. However, one should note that access to the slot for the rapid charger’s magnetic tip is slightly limited — leaving you with just one way of connecting a rapid charger, as opposed to two ways if the PlayBook was not in the case.
Considerations and Overall Recommendation
The Defender case for the PlayBook does seem to provide ultimate protection. Bulk and weight do come with the protection, but if you’re more concerned with protecting your PlayBook, then that shouldn’t be a problem. If you value portability (i.e. ease in carrying your PlayBook wherever you go) over protection, then you probably could consider a silicone case instead.
Slight adjustments and extra steps to take when working with the PlayBook’s screen, buttons, and ports may seem like considerations to take note of. However, if protection is important for you, these are truly non-issues.
The Defender series case for the PlayBook ranges from around $49 to $69 depending on the retail store of choice. Offhand, it may be a little expensive for some, but given the protection that it provides your much-loved PlayBook, the Defender series seems well worth the price.
If you want to read the technical specifications, you can download the official product documentation in PDF here.
To grab your own OtterBox Defender case for your PlayBook, head on to the BlackBerry Empire Store.
Thanks to OtterBox Marketing for affording us the opportunity to review the OtterBox Defender for the PlayBook.