OtterBox is known for a variety of so-called OtterBoxes…plastic boxes designed to protect gadgets from water, dust and crushing. Since quite a few of their products scored rave reviews at TamsPalm’s, I was naturally excited to find out that a case crafted specially for the 680/750/755p was available. But can it stack up?
OtterBox ships the 1921 in a well-padded box along with a detailed manual and a few spare parts. Most of the OtterBox can be replaced easily according to the manual – a truly excellent idea.
The 1921 itself is made of plastic and a rubbery substance that ‘stops drops’ – Its overall look reminds me of the Aceeca Meazura: A variety of colors is available, too (yellow Meazura, anyone):
Inserting the Treo into the case is simple. First, the clamp on the back is opened in order to ‘eject’ the bottom. Then, the Treo is inserted. Afterwards, the bottom is installed again and the clamp is closed.
OtterBox did a great job at keeping the Treo usable in the case. Opening the glass door allows you to access the touch screen via a thin, clear membrane, the keyboard and side keys remain functional. A bottom door allows you to access the hotsync port.
The speakers and the headphone port have ‘cutouts’ covered with a special fiber that blocks dirt and water, but allows sound to pass through relatively unhindered. I would not insert headphones, though (see below).
The camera gets a see-through window, however, the window significantly affects image quality. Also, the keyboard layout is fixed to QWERTY, and some of the alternative characters aren’t correct for a Treo 680.
The IR cutout is in the wrong place, too. The manufacturer claims that the case is not waterproof. However, it survived 15 secs under a strong beam of water without a single drop getting in…of course, the headphone membrane was intact and the sync door was closed firmly. OtterBox claims that the case survives drops from up to 1 metres. However, neither of these was tested with an actual Treo as OtterBox takes no warranty whatsoever for the devices inside.
Overall, the OtterBox 1921 transforms your Treo 680/750755p into a device that gets close to the Meazura (aka big blue tank) in terms of ruggedness…if the manufacturer would manage to certify the waterproofness. As it is now, the 1921 still is a good buy for everyone who’s Treo needs the extra protection.