Otterbox Commuter for HTC One.

Does one of the biggest names in smartphone protection turn a sexy piece of silver into a tank? Let's find out

Ever think about buying a Corvette and then wrapping it in the shell of an Abrams tank? That's often what you think about when you take the latest and greatest Android smartphone and put it inside an Otterbox case. But you're not buying an Otterbox for sex appeal alone, right? You're buying it because it protects your phone. Period.

So we've got the HTC One. And we've got the Otterbox Commuter case, with its rubber sleeve and hard, outer plastic shell. Beauty and the beast? We've got a quick look, after the break.

If you're new to the world of Otterbox, what you get is multiple layers of protection. With the Commuter case, that means a rubber inner case, with a hard plastic shell on top of that. So you've got shock absorption, moisture protection and -- lest we forget, an optional screen protector to go along with it. (Our pictures here are without the screen protector installed.)

Otterbox Commuter for HTC One.

The rubber shell goes on easily enough. Just slide the phone inside it, and make sure the edges are properly squared away, wrapped around the front of the phone. You might have to tug and pull a little bit, but it's still pretty easy. Just make sure the secondary microphones are all still exposed. (There's one to the top right of the rear camera, and another next to the microUSB port on the bottom of the phone.

You could run around with your phone like that if you want, but you're not really meant to. Starting at the bottom, fit the HTC One and its new rubber duds into the plastic shell. It's pretty much a no-brainer to get things fit. 

Otterbox Commuter for HTC One.

So you've got a hard-shell back with rubber sides. Great for gripping. You've got little doors over the microUSB port and the 3.5mm headphone jack. This thing's not 100 percent watertight -- but then again neither is the phone. The mic holes are still exposed, as they should be, as are the dual stereo speakers. No point in covering them up and rendering them useless.

I was a little surprised by the feel, too. It's been a while since I've tried an Otterbox case, and the fit on the HTC One wasn't as overtly gargantuan as I remember on earlier phones. (Looking at you, Motorola.) The sleek nature of the HTC One means that while you're certainly adding bulk to the overall look and feel, it's really not as bad as you might expect. (I might dare say the extra junk in the trunk makes it a better overall fit. But don't tell HTC I said that.)

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the Otterbox Commuter case for the HTC One. It's not cheap, at $35 (not counting shipping), but you know you're getting a lot of protection. You can order directly from Otterbox.

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Reader comments

Otterbox Commuter case for the HTC One

37 Comments

My thoughts exactly...

BTW, sure, buy this phone for it's "GREAT LOOKS AND PREMIUM MATERIALS" and then cover it up with a case ¬¬' That's why I don't mind plastic as long as it's a GOOD phone :P

That's what I used to think... Until I dropped a SGS3 and had to pay a $150 deductible to Asurian for the replacement phone.

David

Thats why I'm a big fan of Best Buy insurance, no deductible is required and you can send your phone in to get fixed as often as you would like. It usually only takes about 3-5 days as well.

The only problem is it doesn't cover lost (or stolen) phones; however, just download a tracker app and that should add a little reassurance.

Best Buy insurance is USELESS. Specifically because they don't cover lost or stolen...which is what happens to most devices. They charge you 10 bucks and you're still paranoid that if you lose your phone your sht out of luck

I agree. I've never lost a phone. My wife dropped her note 2 soon after she got it. Took it to best buy walked out with a new note 2 and got to keep the extra battery, charger and spen. Very happy with their insurance.

You do know Aluminum is not that sturdy, right? Just ask any iPhone 5 owner. Scratches and dents right out of the box, glass-shattering falls, and so on and so forth. I'm not saying the GS4 will be indestructible, but I wouldn't feel as bad if I scratched the plastic cover on my Note 2 as I did when I found the aluminum back of my iPod all scratched up after leaving it on a sandy table on the beach.

You know that they use an aluminum alloy, right? Each company has their own formula, it is just surprising that apple used a low quality one so they can make massive profit margins. /endsarcasm

This is why I think most people whining or bragging about phone materials are silly. They will wrap it in this mess. Naked, or bust!

Even if this case will protect the phone on the way down...that is a sin and somebody will go to hell for this.

Gorilla glass is pretty incredible stuff..and aluminum should be able to stand up to some abuse too. Naked it should stay.

Have fun paying the smartphone deductible if your phone drops/falls/etc.

Even if it doesn't, the nicks & scratches that accumulate over time will lower your phone's resale/trade-in value.

Me, I like knowing that my phone is protected against almost anything possible (I've dropped it on asphalt, concrete & tile as well as outside on the ground during a rainstorm) while in the Otterbox.

"I've dropped it on asphalt, concrete & tile as well as outside on the ground during
a rainstorm"

What's wrong with your hands?

Lol. +1

Side Note: A buddy of mine got a GS3, and didn't start dropping it until he got an otterbox. The hard plastic part of the otterbox is much slicker with dry hands than the OEM "polycarbonate" from Samsung, even if the otterbox is "textured"

This is absolutely true. The Otterbox Commuter hard shell is slick as hell. My wife has one on her iPhone 4S and just taking it out of her purse it'll go flying. Then again, the back of it isn't getting scratched to hell by her keys and stuff, but still...

I have a One S, and it fell onto ceramic without a case - of course I had only just taken the case off...- and one of the WiFi antennae fell off. It was the aluminium that caused the antenna to come loose, as there was no absorption of impact.

Aluminium is lovely, but I would not count On it to protect against falls.

All that said, it really is a tough call on whether or not to use a case. If you work outside you don't really have a choice but to sport a case. Right now I have a clear gel on my Nexus 4 and it has already saved me from a nasty fall. It's not just the money, but the asspain of sending the phone away to get repaired.

Wait...........there's a plastic case to cover up the premium aluminum build!?!? Plastic!? No......the world will implode. Plastic is simply unnacceptable!

*Sarcasm*

I don't need anything from Otterbox. I bought a Ballistic case in lieu of Otterbox refusing to release anything for my Nexus 4. Good case at a great price.

Maybe the Otterbox management team assumed Nexus 4 owners would be smart enough to figure out how to get a case with equivalent protection for $10 on Amazon.

Ugly, especially the top right where the secondary microphone is. But, the phone will stay protected, and the camera won't get any little scratches on it.

I can see myself using this case on special occasions but not all the time. My job requires that I visit construction / work sites every now and then.

I bought an Otterbox Commuter case for my HTC Desire specifically for those occasions where I had to do site work. That case saved my phone from breaking into pieces at least twice.

Once I was off site, I took off the Otterbox along with the other safety gear I have to wear.

Do my eyes deceive me? Nay! Truly there is a Commuter series case review before me!

Never see enough of these. ALWAYS with the Defender (ugh). Nice job, Phil. Love me that Otterbox Commuter. Now if only I could get an HTC One on Verizon I'd be set.

I've always felt that the Commuter on my GNex actually enhances the look to an extent. To each his own, as they say.

One of the reasons I buy super-thin phones is so they don't turn into pocketbricks when a case is added. My GSII feels like a normal-sized, uncased phone.

Ha! All that talk about how the One is aluminum and Samsung is plastic and blah blah blah! Just to throw a PLASTIC case over it. As I been saying, doesn't matter cause you're gonna cover it up anyway and if you don't, it won't be pretty anyways.

Although the otterbox somewhat conceals the beauty of the HTC One, it actually feels good in the hand. I bought one after dropping my HTC One outdoors... small dents on the bezel and tiny scratch on the gorilla glass... they are not very noticeable unless you look very carefully. With the case, I don't worry. The feel is was a surprise; a pleasant one.