When travelling with more than one handheld, keeping all your stuff in one place can be difficult. OtterBox has a nice selection of boxes that are intended to do just that-and in addition, protect your Palm and other valuables from impact and water. We received a yellow 3250 for review, but many others sizes are available as well.

The OtterBox shipped with UPS. It was packed up well:
box1 The OtterBox review box2 The OtterBox review

There was no manual included with the OtterBox we received for reviewing. However, it shipped with a foldout card describing the rest of the OtterBox family:
setcard The OtterBox review

The OtterBox is pretty big compared to a Palm OS handheld (Palm Tungsten T3, Palm Tungsten E2):
top1 The OtterBox review top2 The OtterBox review packedup The OtterBox review

Our OtterBox is closed with two clamps at the front of the box. Opening them for the first time is a bit tough, it took me quite a bit of effort to get them open (I am a very weak man though). By the way, the clamps need a bit of pressure to “click” closed-if they don’t click closed, water can still enter the box. By “clicking” them in place it creates the airtight, watertight seal. This 3gp video shows the opening process:
lock The OtterBox review

The inside of the OtterBox is cushioned with foam padding. On our review sample, it was peeling of the edges-but to be honest, this is not a real problem.

You can fit loads of stuff into the box. The stuff immediately gets water, dust, and dirt protected, however, it can still scratch itself. So, we used Boxwave ActiveCases(review for T3, review for E2) to protect the handhelds from damaging one another:
full The OtterBox review

This image is the tour de force, it contains the following products:
madfull The OtterBox review

The box still closed, but if the handhelds were a tiny bit thicker, the combination would not work out.

For example, the Palm Easy carrying case alone became a showstopper. It really pays out to use slim cases when storing handhelds in the OtterBox:
palmeasy The OtterBox review

We had no problems fitting in a few classic Palm OS handhelds though:

iiic The OtterBox review v The OtterBox review vii The OtterBox review

Enough on OtterBox capacity. The OtterBox had no problems diving in the TamsPalm bath tub-so, waterproofness is no problem (if you close the clamps correctly). This video shows the OtterBox swimming.

The biggest problem that I see with an OtterBox that isn’t 100% full is “slide scratching” of the contents. The handhelds contained in the box can slide around freely, damaging one another. However, as said, ActiveCases and fill-up material can help!

Overall, I like the Otterbox and will take it along on my next trip. However, it has a few flaws that one needs to know about. Forgetting to close the clamps properly leads to drunken Palm OS handhelds, forgetting to use protective cases and fill-up material (if you have more than one device enclosed) leads to scratched Palm OS handhelds. But the positives outweigh the negatives by far. When used correctly, you will not want to miss your OtterBox!

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3 Responses to “The OtterBox review”

  1. I’ve been using my Otterbox to carry Palms for the past 5+ years, but from the beginning I got a size fitting the Palm (something similar to today’s model 2000). Every of the Palms I had (V, Vx, T3) moved only a bit inside but had no scratches.

    I used a separate Otterbox to carry my Canon G1.

    So my suggestion would be to use the box just for handheld and possibly a separate one for other items.

    All in all I found Otterbox a great product. You pay the price but you get an excellent quality.

    P.S. By the way my only problem with the bigger Otterbox was that after the plane flight it gets so sucked up that it takes a great amount of force to open it up. I believe that one of their competitors solved this by mounting a valve.

  2. Hi Alex,
    good, insightful post!

    Thank you!

    Tam Hanna

    P.s. I sent this to a company rep from Otterbox. Lets see what she says…

  3. Hi Alex–

    Our larger cases do have a purge valve to release the air and allow ease of opening after flying for example. These larger models however are no longer in production. For a current line you can visit http://www.otterbox.com. If you’re looking for a rugged PDA case that you can actually interact with we have a complete line that fits 99% of devices.

    If you have any questions you can call us at 888-695-8820.


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