Review: OtterBox Commuter and Defender cases for Dell Streak 7
I feel like the most important thing you can do for your Dell Streak is to buy it a good, sturdy case. The last thing you want to happen is for it to take one little spill and make you the owner of a very expensive paperweight. And, when it comes to cases, I'm a big fan of OtterBox.
OtterBox makes, in my opinion, the best cases on the market today, because they're very strong, reasonably priced, and pretty stylish to boot. The company is known for engineering different cases with different layers of protection for mobile devices. There's the Impact series, which is essentially a thick rubber shell, the Commuter series, which is a two-piece, more sturdy case that still manages to keep its slim form factor, and the near-invincible Defender, which is the casing equivalent of super-gluing a bulletproof shield to your device.
We've already reviewed OtterBox's line of Dell Streak 5 cases, so today I'll be taking a look at the cases they've come up with for the Streak's big brother, the Dell Streak 7.
Unfortunately, Otterbox hasn't created an Impact series case for the Streak 7, so I'll be reviewing their Commuter and Defender cases, in that order.
Otterbox's Commuter series case for the Streak 7 is thin, simple to apply, and also pretty durable. The Commuter is also the easiest case of the two to apply, and by a large margin. The Commuter is only two pieces: a flimsy rubber body and a hard plastic back cover. All you have to do is slip on the rubber case and snap the plastic back on, and you're good to go. If you plan on moving your Streak 7 in and out of the case a lot, this one's for you.
Once it's all put together, the case acts as a full plastic shield for your tablet, with small openings that reveal rubber flaps covering the headphone jack and PDMI connecter. Unlike the Defender, the Commuter leaves the Streak's face completely open, making the bezels on the side the only thing between you and a shattered screen if you happen to drop your Streak 7 face-down. A good screen protector should stop any scratches from such an impact from making themselves a permanent problem. Luckily, OtterBox includes one with each case. Note that a screen protector wontt protect the screen against impact, though.
The rubber sleeve also attracts dust and debris like a magnet, so be careful when applying or removing the case. Once fully applied, though, the case is very stylish and surprisingly lightweight, weighing in at a mere 1.2 pounds. Considering the Streak itself weighs only one pound, the weight is almost non-existent. The Commuter is also cheaper than the Defender.
If you want a lightweight, easy to remove case for a lower price, then I'd recommend the OtterBox Commuter case.
The first thing that you'll notice about OtterBox's Defender series case is its size. The case doubles, if not triples, your Streak 7's profile and makes it a lot heavier, weighing in at 1.6 pounds with the protective plastic screen shield on and 1.4 pounds without it. This case adds just about half of the original weight of the Streak 7 back onto it, making it a veritable monster.
That said, the Streak 7 Defender series case is probably one of my favorite cases that I've ever used on any device. Ever.
It has four pieces: a two-piece plastic shell that clicks together around your Streak 7, a thicker rubber shell that goes over that, and finally a thick plastic screen shield that, when removed, doubles as a stand. The build quality is fantastic, the Streak 7 feels very sturdy in your hands with the rubber shield on, and the screen protector/case is what makes this my favorite case for two reasons.
First of all, this thing completely negates almost all fear of a shattered screen. Between the actual case and the plastic barrier, you'd almost have to try to do any damage. Second, the built-in case is exactly what every tablet needs. One of my favorite things to do with my Streak 7 is to watch downloaded movies on it. This case transforms my Streak 7 from a personal television when I want to watch alone to a 7-inch movie screen when I prop it up for group viewing. Having that stand there just makes my daily Streak 7 use that much more enjoyable.
In terms of negatives, I can only think of a few. For one, the Defender takes a while to put on and take off. The rubber shield gets stuck where the headphone jack and PDMI slot are located, and make the removal a little harder. The two-piece plastic case under that doesn't like to come undone, either. The rubber also has a hard time staying over the edges of the case, which is more of a cosmetic issue than anything.
Some people might not like that the Streak 7's case is protected on the left bezel, but unprotected on the right for use of the capacitive buttons. To me, it means that much more screen protection if it's dropped. If that sort of thing will bother you, I'd recommend the Commuter instead.
If you want a near-impenetrable powerhouse of a case with a built-in stand, I'd recommend the Defender.