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Review: OtterBox Commuter Series case for HTC EVO 3D

Commuter Eureka! I have found it!

Those of you still searching for the best case available to protect your HTC EVO 3D may have been tuning in to the recent case reviews posted on G&E. In case you missed it, we recently reviewed the OtterBox Defender Series, as well as the Seidio ACTIVE case (same as Platinum Series Cruiser Case).

The latter is the only other comparable case to what many feel is the single best case option out there: the OtterBox Commuter Series. It is because of this similar structure that I will be giving you a lot of comparisons between these two specific cases. So let's hit it.

OB EVO 3D contents

The Commuter Series case is made up of two pieces: a thin silicone layer for impact absorption and a textured polycarbonate plastic shell that fits on top of it for added protection. In what I think is an improvement over the OtterBox Commuter Series for HTC EVO 4G, the outer shell has a nicer look and feel than before.

Due to the fact that the end result is a more slick polycarbonate shell than silicone, users who prefer the feel and grip of more silicone may prefer the ACTIVE case design.

OB EVO 3D pieces 1

Coming from positive experiences with the OtterBox Commuter Series for HTC EVO and also the Seidio ACTIVE case, I noticed the silicone was thinner than the others. That said, once the outer shell is added, the whole case is as durable, sturdy, and solid as you'd expect from OtterBox.

As with every case in the Commuter line, an adhesive screen protector is also included. It isn't the greatest, but it's crystal clear, smooth, and covers the entire face of the phone.

OB EVO 3D silicone right side

The silicone portion of the Commuter Series covers the power button and volume rocker with raised "buttons." Using the power button requires a little more effort than with a naked EVO and actually slightly more than with the Seidio ACTIVE case; it also features a plug cover for the MHL port to keep it covered when not in use. For some reason, OtterBox decided against a plug for the headphone jack this time around.

OB EVO 3D bottom right

Additionally, you have easy access to the 2D-3D switch on the right side and the dedicated camera button is nicely covered with a raised button to easily find it by touch. As you may notice, there is no annoying "chin" at the bottom on this Commuter since the EVO 3D's ports have moved from the bottom to the left side of the device.

OB EVO 3D top left

As with previous versions, the Commuter's shell covers most but not all of the device's surface. In fact, it does arguably cover less than it used to.

OB EVO 3D top right

The entire bottom and top of the phone are protected only by the silicone. While this will provide a degree of protection, it was comforting to have more in the past.

OB EVO 3D front depth 2

One thing I do prefer quite a bit over the Seidio ACTIVE is that the OtterBox Commuter "crowds" the screen area a lot less. I found that I had to work to be precise at the edges with the Seidio, finding new ways to hold the phone to, for example, mark emails as read. Edge keys on the various keyboards available are also more accessible with the Commuter.

OB EVO 3D front top

Another tidbit that can spark debate here is the fact that this case allows for more of the camera pod to be exposed. While it is plenty deep and will protect the lens from surface contact, the opening on the OtterBox measures larger than on the Seidio ACTIVE case. The result is a more attractive, natural look that leaves the red ring more visible. The trade off is a slightly larger degree of vulnerability.

OB EVO 3D back depth 2

OB EVO 3D back depth 1

Having used the Seidio ACTIVE case for a couple weeks now, I had grown quite accustomed to it. I knew there would be every reason to like the OtterBox Commuter Series since it had done me so well covering my EVO 4G.

I must say I was surprised at my initial reaction: I preferred the ACTIVE case at first. After a few days of use, however, I believe I am back on board with the Commuter case. I t end to prefer a slicker surface that does not pick up quite as much lint. The Commuter is also slightly less bulky and, of the cases I have used thus far, provides the greatest amount of protection while adding minimal bulk to the phone.

If you are one of the many people who have driven an OtterBox before, you will not be disappointed. As in the past, the company has provided another solid product.

The OtterBox Commuter Series Case for the HTC EVO 3D is available now for $34.95.

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David Carleno

David is a former contributing editor at Good and EVO, which was merged into Pocketables in 2012.

Avatar of David Carleno

23 thoughts on “Review: OtterBox Commuter Series case for HTC EVO 3D

  • I would have chosen the commuter over the active if the commuter had a belt clip holster that worked with it. Due to the commuter not having the holster I chose the active. I think the commuter case looks sleeker and like pointed out in the review it is slightly thinner. Oh well. Maybe they’ll add a holster in the future.

  • I am disappointed in the Otter Box case. The silicone cover on my phone has stretched out to the point that i can slide the Evo 3D in the case with the plastic shell on it. It also “pops” out of the case very easily. The fatal flaw here, I believe, is that the shell only covers the side of the phone. if it clipped over the bottom, it would be far more secure.

  • I agree that keeping some form of plastic shell grip at the bottom would have been better. Even though the silicone chin flap was irritating on the EVO 4G version, the design of the plastic did hold it in place a little better. That said, I have not yet experienced any “slippage” with the plastic.

    The silicone does seem to fit more loosely from the start than the Seidio ACTIVE case did. Time will tell. Happy so far.

  • I had Otterbox Commuter cases on my last three phones (Blackberry Curve 2, HTC Hero, EVO 4G). This time, I was disappointed with this Commuter Case because the both camera lenses are exposed leaving the protective screen very vulnerable to scratching. So I did a bit more research on the net and discovered the Case-Mate Tough Case. It’s very similar to the Otterbox Commuter with a gel layer and a hard outer shell. The Tough Case selling point is the gel and hard shell layers cover the entire circumferences of both lenses.

    I bought the case for a little less than $24 on and it’s worth every penny.

  • I have this case but hardly ever use it. The hard shell is WAY too slippery for my liking. It’s to the point where I don’t even bother putting the case on anymore. Sad to say I regret this purchase.

  • Avatar of angieanger

    Speaking of Seidio cases…. I got the 4000 mah extended battery and the power button is next to impossible to press on the replacement battery cover they send!! Just seems very cheaply made. I called to complain, describing the condition, and before I even told the woman it was for an EVO 3D, she said, “EVO 3D, right?”. They are just advising people to keep using the cover, pressing the unpressable button to try to “loosen” it up, and they “might” issue a recall… This is totally unacceptable… 80.00 for a battery, they could at least spend more than .30 to engineer a working back cover. Anyone else with this problem?

  • Avatar of angieanger

    sorry…not sure how to start a new thread on this…

  • Avatar of Product F(RED)

    Call up their 888 number on their website (“Contact Us”). In 2 minutes, no questions asked, they’ll ship you a new one and let you keep the old one. I had the same problem and they mailed me a new one 100% for free. They have amazing customer service.

  • Loved this case my only complaint is that the headphone jack is difficult to use with thicker audio auxillery cords. Standard headphones like my earbuds fit fine but larger ones like the one on my home stereo barely fit and pop out during use. The same applies to the one in my car but i use bluetooth most of the time so it doesn’t matter. Really annoying having to take off the case for music. Other than that 10/10!

  • Avatar of HoustonGuy

    The Case-Mate is a great case! It’s the one I bought on launch day after looking at all the other ones. A word of fair warning though, if you’re like me and take the case off every so often for various reasons, the outer hard shell may develop a crack in it. Mine has one right next to the shutter button and I worry that I may end up having to warranty it the next time I take it off.

  • I like the case except that I wish they had a cover for the headphone jack and 2d/3d switch like they have on the Defender.

    I also didn’t care for the camera lens opening since I wanted to protect the lens as much as possible. What I discovered is that you can take a cheap plastic or silicone case (one that is molded to cover the camera lens except for the two holes for the cameras and one for the flash) and cut out that raised section with about a 1/3 inch border. You can then insert that cutout under the Commuter case opening for the camera and it will stay in place beautifully – and protect the camera lens!

  • Avatar of HoustonGuy

    Same problem I ran into with the Case-Mate case, which is this style. I ended up taking an Exacto knife to the inner layer around the headphone port because my 3.5mm audio cable is too thick.

  • Hello,
    I have stuck with the Defender in spite of how large it makes the Phone. The Protection offered to the Camera is absolute and the Silicon Cover offers good grip.

    I have not used the Holster as I am not a Holster Guy and it makes the form factor gargantuan. Without the Holster I do not feel it to be too large to comfortably fit in my Pocket.

    I really wish Vaja made a Case for the 3D, but as they ignored the 4G, I would be shocked if they did for the 3D. And it also makes me sick that Exovault only makes their amazing Cases for the iPhone.

  • Second that, Bjorn! Don’t believe the hype everyone. Otterbox for Evo is total crap. It’s creaky and the silicone cover won’t stay put for more than a minute. Arrgh! Thankfully, I converted to the Trident Kraken and it rocks. About 9.7 times better than Otterbox. It’s everything I’d wished OB would have been. Plus, the screen protector had a few hairline scratches on it (from the reseller) out of the box so Trident overnighted a new replacement screen protector for free (it can easily be swapped out when/if the old one gets scratched). Release the Kraken!

  • Matt I am gonna have to beg to differ with you. Today I called Otterbox because my screen protector came unglued. I was met by the MOST AMAZING CUSTOMER SERVICE that I have ever encountered. Tara H. was my associate if I may be so bold as to say her name. She and I had a little exchange where I asked her about the silicone case for the Evo 3D and she had explained to me that there is indeed an issue with the first run of these cases and well they are replacing my entire case with the belt clip included. This goes above and beyond the call of duty in my book especially since i did not buy the case from them and that it was purchased through Sprint. My friend I suggest you simply calling them at their 1-800 number and they will most assuredly get you a REVISED case out. OTTERBOX TOTALLY ROCKS!!!!!

  • Hey James,
    To each their own. It’s a free country. But in my experience, I’ve already done that twice with Otterbox and once at the Sprint store and they’ve all been equally bad experiences. BTW, my wife has an OB iPhone case and it IS awesome. But how many times am I supposed to go back to OB on this? No more times, that’s how many. I’ve got better things to do. I don’t care if their customer service IS great (which it is, I know) if the damn silicone case keeps sliding right off, you know? Can’t remember where I saw Trident Kraken first, but after I got it, it wasn’t even CLOSE to the OB build quality. I suggest you try both for yourself, like I have. After which I’m sure you’ll agree that OB = A Chevy while Trident Kraken = Mercedes. It’s just a fact. But until then, you only have half the story since you haven’t actually handled a Kraken case in person.

  • That is very true. I guess my point above the customer service statement is that. Otterbox did admit to the flaw and that they have switched vendors. Not a lot of companies are cool enough to do that at least in my dealings. I will check out they Kraken case can’t hurt to look and see. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. Chevy .vs. Mercedes. HMMMMMM…..numbers don’t lie. How many more Chevrolets are on the road compared to Mercedes? Also look at the sales numbers over the past two years. Quality is ramped up along with sales :) I like both but I am just sayin.

  • There is hardly any correlation between numbers and quality. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s good. So while numbers don’t lie, they usually only indicate how popular something is, not how good it is. Surely you don’t think Chevys are as good as Mercedes? Alienware computers are ten times better than your standard PC’s but only a few are sold. The best TV’s on the market are usually amongst the bottom sellers, etc. Same with cars and phone cases and wine and beer and watches and restaurants and everything else. Just because the Taurus is one of the best-selling cars doesn’t mean it’s the best car to have. It’s pretty much a piece of crap. Quality is NOT ramped up with sales, that just cuts profits on something that’s already a best-seller. Production is usually the only thing that’s ramped up with sales. I worked for GM. This is a fact. Quality costs more and (almost) always makes something less popular as a result since the vast majority of the buying public simply can’t afford it. Just ask any Ford Neon or Chevy Malibu owner if they wouldn’t rather have a Mercedes. But best of all, the Kraken case is so much better yet STILL costs about the same. That makes it even more attractive.

  • Ok its like this you can go to any Mercedes dealer and they will tell you that the 2004 Mercedes Benz E-Class was the worst vehicle in the history of the company resulting in them falling from the number one spot. Just because you pay more for something does NOT mean it is better look at what Toyota accomplished with Lexus and look what the Koreans are now doing with Hyundai and Kia. LOL look at Verizon with the Droid Charge 299.00 price point gets me a single core phone I don’t think so. 199.00 gets me dual cores, 3d, HTC Sense 3.0 and the fabulocity that is the EVO 3D. You were on the bad end of some cases that have now been revised. I am willing to give anyone or anything a second chance. Fortunately for me Otterbox hit it out of the park on the first try. Chevrolet had dark years now they are seeing the light with the most sales they have ever had. Government is paid back. They make great vehicles NOW and I had a 69 Impala with over 270,000 miles that I drove the wheels off of literally. I have no complaints with Otterbox or GM. Now Ford, never made the Neon. Dodge brought that to the public and well in a few months a rebadged Alfa Romeo will be taking the place of that and the Caliber. :)

  • ROTFL! I never said paying more for something means it’s better, that was all you. I said that quality usually costs more – that quality is not “ramped up” because of popularity – there’s a difference. Using your previous “proof” of quality example of there being more Chevys on the road than Mercedes because Chevys are better cars, then that I guess McDonald’s is the best restaurant ever, a $10 Timex is the best watch ever, a Ford Fiesta is the best car ever and a $20 Pre-Paid Boost Mobile cell phone at 7-11 is the best cell phone ever. Besides, if you seriously think Hyundai (whom I also worked for), Kia and something like a Chevy Aveo are actually overall higher quality cars than Mercedes, BMW, Infiniti, I think we’re at an impasse. We’re really in the weeds here anyway. So guess I’ll pack up my Kraken and move on…

  • Avatar of Ricky

    I second this. After my experience I say this case sucks. My phone recently fell out of my pocket while walking down the street. I figured it would be fine but because the silicone was so stretched out when it bounced it caused damage to the top and bottom on the front of my device. The lack of all around security is what disappoints me about this case. Had there been some sort of lip on the top or bottom the silicone may not stretch as it does. It’s fine if you never drop your phone on it’s face (the most important section of the phone), but then again who plans on dropping their phone… That’s what I bought the case for.


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