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.
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.)
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.
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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