End the search for a great case for your Galaxy S4 with the Otterbox Commuter.
Otterbox, a name that has become synonymous with device protection over the past 5 or so years, is certainly not known for disappointing its customers. They offer a lineup of cases that take just about anything you can throw at them without skipping a beat while keeping our devices safe from impending and untimely death.
So, when a box showed up on my doorstep a couple of weeks back with the entire lineup for my Galaxy S4, I was a wee bit excited, to say the very least. I’ll be going over the Defender and the Reflex cases in the near future, but today it’s all about the Commuter — my favorite of the three cases for the phone, hands down.
As always, let’s take a look at the specs first, just to get them out of the way.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Complete functionality of the device through the Commuter Series case
Port plugs protect the main openings of the device from dust and debris
Two layers of protection include an inner slip-cover and a polycarbonate outer layer
1 year warranty
Inner slip-cover cushions the device against impact from drops and bumps
Polycarbonate outer layer provides solid protection that slips easily in and out of pockets
Self-adhering screen protector prevents scratches and smudges to the touch screen
Weight & Dimensions
Weight: 1.60oz / 45.35g
Dimensions: 5.64in x 3.10in x 0.57in / 143.25mm x 78.92mm x 14.58mm
The Otterbox Commuter is a two-piece case: one part polycarbonate, one part silicone. The top of the case has a port cover that hides the headphone jack, and there is also one down below for the charging port — it’s always a good idea to keep these areas dirt and dust free. There are also two holes on top: one for the IR blaster and one for the proximity sensor. On the bottom there’s a hole for the barometer sensor, so the case doesn’t block any of the phone’s functionality.
The silicone layer covers the phone’s volume and power buttons. I’m not typically a fan of this, but Otterbox did a great job in keeping the button covers efficiently functional. They’re not resistant to touch like many other cases I’ve tried, which is an automatic deal breaker for me. If the button covers suck, I won’t use the case; that’s all there is to it. With the Commuter installed, I don’t have to press the buttons any harder than I would have to without a case.
Around back, the case offers a gripped surface to help the phone from slipping out of your hand. There are precise cutouts for the phone’s rear speaker, camera, and flash, so again, you’re not losing any functionality while rocking the Commuter. The front of the case has a raised edge to keep your screen from getting scratched when your phone is laying on its face.
There’s really nothing to the installation process here. Simply place the phone inside of the silicone layer, then place the polycarbonate shell over that (make sure your port covers line up first, so they don’t get in the way), and you’re all set. Taking the case off is just as simple as putting it on.
The Commuter does a fine job holding up against normal, day-to-day wear and tear. I’ve dropped my phone a couple of times while using the case and it has come away unscathed thus far, but I wouldn’t say the case is indestructible by any means. Just don’t go throwing your phone against the wall and then stomping on it to impress your friends — odds are they’ll just laugh at you when you break your phone. And I wouldn’t blame them a bit for doing so.
The Commuter also comes with a self-adhesive screen protector that fits perfectly over the screen to guard against scratches. The protector was very easy to install, but quickly scratched up after only a week or two of use, so it has since been removed.
What I Like
Easy to install
Doesn’t hinder any of the device’s functionality
Doesn’t add a ton of extra weight
Functional button covers and port plugs
Offers just enough protection to get you through most days
What I Don’t Like
While the case doesn’t add a “ton” of bulk, it still adds enough to take away from the Galaxy S4′s sexy form factor — that’s the price you have to pay for protection though, so I’m not bitching.
Final Thoughts & Rating
The Otterbox Commuter is my go-to daily driver case. I’ve tested a handful of cases already, and I still have a handful left to work my way through, but this one is my absolute favorite. Testing it has actually slowed me down in reviewing the rest of the bunch because I haven’t wanted to take this one off long enough to try anything else.
Where to buy
You can score the Commuter directly from the Otterbox website for $34.95 in the following color options: