Otterbox Commuter Glacier case for Galaxy Note II – Review

I’m quite a fan of large phones, I’ve owned both of the Galaxy Notes and before that I owned a Dell Streak. With each and every one I always found myself balancing the phone on a narrow edge or just shoving it my rucksack to carry it around. For some reason the larger the phone the more I feel like I should have a decent case for it. Recently I got the Samsung Galaxy Note II and, as is always the way, I hit eBay pretty quickly after receiving it to get a case. I wanted one cheaply and quickly andsettled for a white TPU thing that discoloured in my pockets and is now a mixed white, blue and brown case. At this point in time I normally reach a crossroads. Do I sell the phone or do I just buy a better quality case? Well this time round I went for a better quality case.

It is normally a toss up between two or three manufacturers. Case Mate make some great cases and so do Otterbox. As I was browsing through the long list of variants on the Amazon site I found a nice looking white case. No, not another cheap TPU one either, this was a white and grey Otterbox Commuter case.


Otterbox Commuter Glacier case for Galaxy Note II   Review

As my Galaxy Note II is white it just seemed the right thing to do, so I ordered one from here. To start the review off here are my good and bad points

Good Points

  • Very solid construction
  • Nice looking
  • Well thought out selection of flaps and holes

Bad Points

  • Makes the Galaxy Note II (even more) enormous
  • Quite expensive
  • Silicone corners can grab hold of pockets and fluff
  • Polycarbonate back plate makes it slippy

Design

The Otterbox Commuter case is possibly the best looking case I have ever seen. In my jilted opinion of course. With it you get three parts.

The first part is a tough grey silicone inner liner. This forms a glove around the phone, it has flaps cut into it for the headphone jack and the Micro USB socket. It also has holes cut into it for the two microphones, the S-Pen and the camera. The volume and power buttons are covered by the inner and have nice solid buttons over them. The inner also forms part of the screen protection as it protrudes by about 2-3mm from the screen, meaning if you drop it face down you should be ok as long as it’s a flat surface. As the inner is silicone any shocks to the phone are absorbed. Within reason of course.

The second part of the case is the hard polycarbonate white outer layer. This is the tough layer that deals with impacts and scratches to the back. It wraps around and clips onto the inner layer, the flaps from the inner layer have to be poked through the outer to get it to sit in place, which if you have never used a case like this may take a while. With previous versions the outer layer also covered the buttons which made getting the case on and off a nightmare, with this version the outer covers the back, part of the sides, the top and the bottom. Leaving the absorbing inner layer revealed on the corners.

The third part is a screen protector which I foolishly never use. It’s just sat on the fridge at home, waiting to be sent to the next owner in six months time. It is nice they include this in the package really and some people will no doubt use it.

In Use

In use the Commuter case felt really solid and it didn’t detract from the great looks of the Galaxy Note II. The version I bought was the “Glacier” version which is for the white version of the Note II. I haven’t noticed any discolouration yet, but I’ve only had it a few days. The Note II is a big phone and if you’re a skinny jean wearing hipster then I doubt the Note II will fit in your pocket and it’s even less likely it’ll fit with this case on. Maybe a bumbag (fannypack) is the solution, I don’t know. Personally I’ve resorted to my back pocket. The other thing that grates slightly is the flaps. If you want to charge your phone you have to open the flap get the plug in. It adds a few seconds to the process but at least it stops fluff getting in your holes.

Conclusion

In conclusion I found this to be a great case that makes a great big phone even bigger. But it also makes it nearly bomb proof (metaphorically speaking) I now feel I can chuck it around quite a bit more vigorously than I was before. The price is a bit of struggle to get over, but I think I’ve bought this case for the duration. I won’t be putting the discoloured TPU case back on. If you fancy one of these then most accessory retailers sell Otterbox products, but I got mine from here as it was slightly cheaper at that time.

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  • Anonymous

    I bought the Casemate version, which is very similar to this case, minus the flaps over ports. It has a rather flimsy looking pop out stand on the back which is very flush, but which I will also likely never use. The Casemate is a dual-layer case too (though they are bonded together), and has somewhat “grippy” sides (i.e. sometimes hard to get out of a pouch or pocket). It suffers from the same problem as the Otterbox and other similar “full protection” cases — they all make an already big phone comically large. In the end, I am most happy with a belt pouch (PDAir) and the Samsung flip case. No protection on the corners, admittedly, but sleek, attractive, and professional looking. I can see me using both at times, but I worry about popping cases and back plates on and off too much, and losing the tight fit everything currently still has. Who knows, once the GS-IV comes out, I may ditch this one anyway to save a half inch of size…