Review: OtterBox Commuter Series case for HTC EVO 3D

Commuter Eureka! I have found it!

Those of you still searching for the best case available to protect your HTC EVO 3D may have been tuning in to the recent case reviews posted on G&E. In case you missed it, we recently reviewed the OtterBox Defender Series, as well as the Seidio ACTIVE case (same as Platinum Series Cruiser Case).

The latter is the only other comparable case to what many feel is the single best case option out there: the OtterBox Commuter Series. It is because of this similar structure that I will be giving you a lot of comparisons between these two specific cases. So let's hit it.

OB EVO 3D contents

The Commuter Series case is made up of two pieces: a thin silicone layer for impact absorption and a textured polycarbonate plastic shell that fits on top of it for added protection. In what I think is an improvement over the OtterBox Commuter Series for HTC EVO 4G, the outer shell has a nicer look and feel than before.

Due to the fact that the end result is a more slick polycarbonate shell than silicone, users who prefer the feel and grip of more silicone may prefer the ACTIVE case design.

OB EVO 3D pieces 1

Coming from positive experiences with the OtterBox Commuter Series for HTC EVO and also the Seidio ACTIVE case, I noticed the silicone was thinner than the others. That said, once the outer shell is added, the whole case is as durable, sturdy, and solid as you'd expect from OtterBox.

As with every case in the Commuter line, an adhesive screen protector is also included. It isn't the greatest, but it's crystal clear, smooth, and covers the entire face of the phone.

OB EVO 3D silicone right side

The silicone portion of the Commuter Series covers the power button and volume rocker with raised "buttons." Using the power button requires a little more effort than with a naked EVO and actually slightly more than with the Seidio ACTIVE case; it also features a plug cover for the MHL port to keep it covered when not in use. For some reason, OtterBox decided against a plug for the headphone jack this time around.

OB EVO 3D bottom right

Additionally, you have easy access to the 2D-3D switch on the right side and the dedicated camera button is nicely covered with a raised button to easily find it by touch. As you may notice, there is no annoying "chin" at the bottom on this Commuter since the EVO 3D's ports have moved from the bottom to the left side of the device.

OB EVO 3D top left

As with previous versions, the Commuter's shell covers most but not all of the device's surface. In fact, it does arguably cover less than it used to.

OB EVO 3D top right

The entire bottom and top of the phone are protected only by the silicone. While this will provide a degree of protection, it was comforting to have more in the past.

OB EVO 3D front depth 2

One thing I do prefer quite a bit over the Seidio ACTIVE is that the OtterBox Commuter "crowds" the screen area a lot less. I found that I had to work to be precise at the edges with the Seidio, finding new ways to hold the phone to, for example, mark emails as read. Edge keys on the various keyboards available are also more accessible with the Commuter.

OB EVO 3D front top

Another tidbit that can spark debate here is the fact that this case allows for more of the camera pod to be exposed. While it is plenty deep and will protect the lens from surface contact, the opening on the OtterBox measures larger than on the Seidio ACTIVE case. The result is a more attractive, natural look that leaves the red ring more visible. The trade off is a slightly larger degree of vulnerability.

OB EVO 3D back depth 2

OB EVO 3D back depth 1

Having used the Seidio ACTIVE case for a couple weeks now, I had grown quite accustomed to it. I knew there would be every reason to like the OtterBox Commuter Series since it had done me so well covering my EVO 4G.

I must say I was surprised at my initial reaction: I preferred the ACTIVE case at first. After a few days of use, however, I believe I am back on board with the Commuter case. I t end to prefer a slicker surface that does not pick up quite as much lint. The Commuter is also slightly less bulky and, of the cases I have used thus far, provides the greatest amount of protection while adding minimal bulk to the phone.

If you are one of the many people who have driven an OtterBox before, you will not be disappointed. As in the past, the company has provided another solid product.

The OtterBox Commuter Series Case for the HTC EVO 3D is available now for $34.95.

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David Carleno

David is a former contributing editor at Good and EVO, which was merged into Pocketables in 2012.