Otterbox Commuter for iPhone 5 slims down ultimate protection, still not for the style-aware [Review]

Otterbox is a company well-known for producing very protective cases. In fact, when you’re thinking of covering your beloved iDevice in something that will shield it from the elements, it’s already most-likely at the forefront of your mind. It’s a brand with a fantastic reputation, and for good reason. Its cases are well thought out and do the job you expect.

The Commuter Series for iPhone 5 is one of the latest in the line, and offers fantastic protection in a smaller frame. The case itself is made of two parts: a thick rubber inner sleeve, and a rugged, textured hard plastic outer shell. It’s one of many on the market designed in this way. The outer shell protects against bumps and scrapes, while the softer inner sleeve absorbs shock to minimize impact on your precious smartphone. It also ships with a scratch resistant screen protector, to help look after that 4″ Retina screen.

There are only cutouts and exposed areas where they absolutely need to be. Only the camera, mute switch and speaker/mic grilles are left open to the elements. But, even they have adequate protection thanks to the 2-3mm thickness of the case. Volume buttons are protected by two round, thick “buttons” while the lock key is also kept safe underneath a hefty silicone button cover. Headset jack and Lightning port are covered by two easily-movable silicone tabs which clip in underneath the rigid shell.

There’s one thing that’s true about all Otterbox cases that’s certainly reflected in the Commuter Series for iPhone 5: they’re incredibly well designed. The rubber inner sleeve has small spines all around the thicker corners and the connector covers to ensure that its shape continues to hold over time. Coupled with the extremely tight-fitting and solid outer layer, your iPhone is as safe as houses inside the Commuter. In fact, I’d be pretty certain that it would easily escape a fall down a flight of stairs without a scratch or crack.

I have one issue with the Commuter: it’s not stylish. Granted, it’s mostly designed to protect my iPhone and kudos has to go to the company for not making it extremely unwieldy and bulky. But, head on over to the Commuter shop page and you spot  “will keep your device looking stylish” in the product description. It could be personal preference, but, the squarish industrial design isn’t what I would consider stylish. That said, if making it look prettier would take away from its protective qualities, it would fail at its primary task: protecting my iPhone.

At $34.95 it’s very good value for money and comes in 8 different color variations. So, if black on black doesn’t suit, you could go for lava orange and slate grey, or Avon pink instead. To check it out in more detail, or to purchase the Commuter Series case for iPhone 5, head on over to the product page at


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