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on March 7, 2012
Protecting a $200 phone is quite a formidable task and a lot of cell phone case companies do not seem to understand protection. They strive for style, design, and aesthetics. To me, this is all nonsense. Otterbox understands the principle of protection better than any other company making these types of products. Fuction is what I am looking for and and this company produces fuctioning cell phone cases. These 4S generation cases share an improved design, mainly with the camera area. I think people were complaining about shadowed pictures and video due to the tight camera cut out. They widened it to ensure the new 8MP camera with not be hindered by a design flaw.

First, the defender technically provides more protection than the commuter and also comes with a handy holster with a clip. However, the defender is bulky and the port covers do not stay as well as the model for the 3GS. Also, I am not a fan of the defender because of the screen protector it comes with. Eventually, particles of dust or grit will work their way into your case and be sandwiched between the screen and the hard plastic film. Then, friction from your finger will scratch the screen up pretty bad (this happened to me). To make matters worse, I put a Zagg shield on it and it basically fused with the screen protector on the defender. I needed to pry the phone off the case and, while doing so, lifted the glass of the phone, creating permanant air pockets in my screen. Not a good scenario at all. The anti-glar films sold at the apple store, however, work fine because they have a smoother, less sticky surface. I would not reccomend this case at all, though, without these screen protectors because without a screen protector, air bubbles will form and distort your view and scratches on the screen will occur. But, if you work construction or another potentially hazardous job, this case with the anti-glare screen protectors may be a better choice then the Commuter series of cases.

The Commuter, on the other hand, offers a balance between versitility and protection. With this case, I can use my Zagg shield and is not peeled up by the case like many do. Also, I love the soft shell on the inside and the hard shell outside. The soft inner allows the port and button covers to be attached to the case and function propperly. This also helps absorb shock. The hard shell allows the phone to slide in and out of pockets very easily, even out of tighter jeans. In addition, it has a much thinner profile than the defender but still provides adequate protection. The ports are still protected from water and it can take a tumble. I've dropped my 4S about 4 times with this case on it, on hard surfaces from pretty significant hieghts (5 feet or so on some) and the case barely even shows it let alon the phone wrapped up inside. Also, by flipping the phone face down, the exposed inner rubber case prevents it from slipping if you needed it to stay put, for instance, in a car. For the average person, the commuter is the superior choice.

However, both cases with the lighter colored silicon soft shells, like white and grey, get dirty easily. They even get stained from dye in jeans. Not a huge deal to me, but might be to some. Overall, these are the two best cases on the market for the iPhone and believe me, I have researched and read up on them all. You must simply decide what your needs are for a case and make your decision.
2424 comments|1,695 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 12, 2011
I am very experienced with all the iPhone Otterbox case designs (the defender series, commuter series, and now the APL4 Commuter series) because I have purchased all three, the first two for my iPhone 4 and then the last for my iPhone 4S. I would definitely have to say the Otterbox APL4 Commuter Series Hybrid Case is the best fitting, most protective, and most practical case for the iPhone 4 and 4S.
The defender series is just too bulky, it takes away from the sleek slim look of the iPhone. My defender series actually broke a few months after purchasing from normal wear and tear, even though that series is supposed to be the best protective.
The first generation of the commuter series was a very good case. It was slimmer, while still being protective, but it didn't fit as well as I would like it to.
Now to the Otterbox APL4 Commuter Series Hybrid Case. It just topped the other otter box cases by far. The case fits perfectly and looks great. It show the slim and sleek look of the iPhone 4 but still protecting it. With the hard plastic outer case it doesn't stick when you try to put it in your pocket or pull it out. With this case you can drop it on pavement without breaking (none from experience). Therefore, I highly suggest iPhone users to buy this case over any others. Don't waste your money on the other cases like I did and go with this one.
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on November 25, 2011
I bought this for my iPhone 4S. I am happy with the case. The color does not look exactly like the picture, however; the case is actually a lighter blue and not as green. Still, it looks really nice and goes great with my white iPhone. I gave this case 4 stars instead of 5 because the plastic is slippery-- I was hoping it would have more grip. I feel like it could easily slip out of my hands. Additionally, it takes some effort to get the silicone to align with the plastic, and it never exactly lines up quite right, leaving gaps and slightly sharp edges where the two materials meet. This is barely noticeable though.

What I like about this case is that it feels sturdy, yet it isn't so bulky that it cannot fit into my tight jeans. I obviously try to avoid dropping my phone so I haven't seen how well it protects from impacts. Still, I'm pretty confident it'll protect my phone when I inevitably drop it. The silicone plug covers are nice, although the USB cover never seems to fit quite right. Also, the USB cover makes it impossible to dock the phone into an ihome unless you take the case off. Also, the hole on the back of the case that exposes the apple logo leaves the back vulnerable to scratches. I already have a front screen protector so I cut a hole in the back of the otterbox screen protector for the camera and put it on the back of my phone to protect from scratches.

Overall, I would recommend this case to friends and am happy I purchased it.

!! UPDATE: So I've been using this case for about a month and I have to say I still love it. I've dropped it a couple times from waist height onto both tile and hardwood, and the case fully protected my phone. The case is also in perfect condition despite the drops. I recommend this case to clumsy people like myself. :)
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on November 14, 2011
Got a new 4s and originally bought the Defender Series Case. While that is a great case, it just wasn't the type for me. The Commuter case is. Still feels like you are holding an iPhone in your hand. All the buttons still work great, and the headphone and charger cover fit and stay snug until you are ready to use it. That was one of the issues that I had with my defender case. The covers wouldn't stay in place all the time and kept coming out. Overall, I highly recommend this case.
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on March 29, 2012
I have the white version of the iPhone 4. I had originally ordered an Otterbox defender, because I wanted maximum bang for my buck when it came to protection. I had some problems with that, while not advertised on the Amazon site (at the time maybe this has changed) the Defender WILL NOT FIT the iPhone 4 white version. So i shipped, that back and opted for the Commuter shown here.

I don't overly abuse my phone. I'm not mountain climbing. I'm probably never going to be in a circumstance to use my phone as cannon ammunition. And I doubt I'm climbing to the top of the Empire State Building and accidentally knocking my phone off the edge and into the city below. BUT I am prone to setting it in my lap in the car forgetting its there and throwing it to the street by accident as I rise from my seat. Actually, I've done this more times than I'd like to count :3 I have knocked it off a table, had it fallen out of my pocket, actually just been down right clumsy and fiddled it right out of my hands (its not slippery in design I'm just THAT good when it comes to dropping my phone).

Well, alright, in all fairness I'm not really all that abnormally clumsy, this is just what happens when you handle something as often and for as long as I handle my phone. Stuff is going to happen because Life happens. Well, first few times i dropped this (especially when it accidentally makes itself acquainted with pavement) I was sick. No waaaay the phone was going to escape unscathed. To my delight and great shock, there was never so much as a scratch on the actual phone. So hip hip HORRAY!! Now when it drops, I just roll eyes at the convenience of having to pick the darn thing up.

I've had the case now that I'm using for 9 months and my phone is still in excellent condition. At the price Amazon sells this product you can't afford to say no. I do keep insurance on my phone through my cell provider just in case (cause I'm a firm believer if you have something you probably won't ever need it if you don't have it thats when you find you will). I believe my deductible from accidents is $100+ to replace my phone and truly believe that without Otterbox protection I would have had to meet that deductible by now at the very least once.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

So quick outline of the PROs and CONs

PROs:
*Fits the iPhone 4 white version
*More compact than the Defender (fits in a wallet phone case or in your pocket)
*Its not annoying silicon that if you put it to your ear you might find it sticking and pulling your hair (yeah I'm a girl and that does matter)
*Definitely holds up to its end of the durability bargain- Without a scratch to my phone its been dropped onto hardwood floors, pavement, etc.

CONs:
*Not heavy duty as the Defender- don't even look at this if you find yourself working on construction sites. The Defender is a FULL casing. The Commuter is NOT. Consider the Commuter as normal wear and tear dropping insurance. The only reason you want to be a bit more protective of phones now is that they really are mini computers. Phone's today aren't the tanks of cells from days gone by like Nokia flip phone's- that people will probably be using as brick substitutes in the future.
*Drop it too hard and the outer hard plastic casing can/will crack. This is what happened to me. My phone is very happy and in perfect condition. My case hit the ground so hard that it cracked. I am very happily replacing mine with another Otterbox commuter (in another color-yay a bit of variety) just because I want to make sure that the weakness of a cracked case won't hurt my phone in the long run. This isn't an uncommon problem in these cases. But come on lets be honest with each other.... I'm sure every one of us would much rather replace a $20 case every so often verses a $700 phone (and yes ik you probably paid $200 at the time of your renewal for your iPhone but without that resign up discount these fabulous phones pack a whopping $700+ price ticket)
*While there are a variety of colors and combinations to chose from. The Otterboxes are kind of plain when it comes to displaying personality. Sometimes I'm a little sad :( at the fact I don't get the cute happy cases like I see some people toting but even so I find functionality to trump fashion any day of the week.

In closing: Otterbox Commuter ROCKS as a day to day regular use insurance policy for your phone.
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on January 4, 2013
I ordered this earlier this week, and it arrived tonight (Friday) while I was eating dinner. After dinner, I went to RadioShack, payed the full $40 for another case, and I just submitted the return request for this product from Amazon.

1) On the main page, it lists Otterbox as the seller...I was almost certain that I was purchasing it from Otterbox through Amazon...but when I filed the return, it says I purchased it from Audio online...how'd that happen?

2) When I opened the box, the packaging of the product was damaged, the corner was crushed, even though the shipping box was fine.

3) The silicone on the product purchased from Amazon is filmsy...I used a Commuter Otterbox on my last smartphone and it protected it for two years without a problem...the silicone for that case was thicker and sturdier. The silicone also attracts dirt/dust/etc like crazy. I had it out of the box for 5 minutes and it ended up covered in white specks.

4) The plastic shell from the case I purchased at RadioShack has a different texture on the outside than the Amazon one does, and it also feels sturdier than the Amazon one

Do yourself a favor, spend the extra $20 to get this case at RadioShack/Best Buy/etc so that you receive a genuine product that will properly protect your phone.
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on April 18, 2012
PROS: This case provides good protection (more than typical silicone skins, not as much as hardcore cases like the Defender or Griffen Survivor) without adding too much bulk. The thick silicone is strategically exposed from the outer hard shell to help with grip, so it doesn't feel too slippery in my hands. Color options are excellent; this teal combo looks great with my white iPhone and helps prevent misplacement due to the bright color. The Noise cancellation mic, speakers, light sensor, mute & home buttons are fully exposed for functionality. Power on/off & volume buttons easily accessed through silicone coverings. The phone jack is covered to prevent dust & (more importantly) moisture from ruining the device & nullifying the warranty. These cases are also decently priced.

CONS: Biggest con is that most of these Commuter cases are defective; many seem warped in the packaging so that there is poor alignment between the silicone and hard outer shell. This leaves gaping corners and sharp edges. Even in retail locations, many of the Commuter cases I've seen do not align perfectly as they should. I've had to send 2 cases ordered online back because of this issue (see photos). I finally found a non-defective case, and it gives off a chemical odor. Thankfully, it has subsided with regular use over the course of about 3 - 4 days. The Apple logo is also fully exposed on the back sans protective covering, which is offered with the Defender. Definite design flaw. The silicone does get dirty quickly from general use & contact from pockets etc. Annoying but easy enough to clean off. Included screen protector is not that good; I cut it & put it on the back of my phone to protect the exposed Apple logo. It is a thicker plastic and the adhesive seems weak. The case is a bit difficult to remove; frequent removal & installation of the case seems to ruin alignment between hard shell & silicone over time.

Overall, I really do like this case. It just took some time finding one that fits together well enough to keep. I honestly think the color is well represented by the 2nd & 3rd product photo of the case alone. If anything, the case is a shade or two lighter than the 2nd & 3rd photo. Deep teal/light teal is a good description. I did not find the case to be too "blue". The first product picture makes the case look more like a spruce green, but it is definitely a teal. Would recommend this case for daily protection, as long as you don't work in construction or something like that.

UPDATE 08/21/2013
I've been using the case for a little more than a year now. It hasn't held up as well as I expected, but I've dropped my phone plenty of times & the case has prevented any damage. Unfortunately, the plastic cracked in 3 different spots (both upper corners, one at the base near the charging port), and the silicone covering the charging port ripped right off. I decided not to deduct any stars since it has protected my phone after many drops, but don't expect the case to be whole after frequent use.
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0Comment|13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 7, 2012
Protecting a $200 phone is quite a formidable task and a lot of cell phone case companies do not seem to understand protection. They strive for style, design, and aesthetics. To me, this is all nonsense. Otterbox understands the principle of protection better than any other company making these types of products. Fuction is what I am looking for and and this company produces fuctioning cell phone cases. These 4S generation cases share an improved design, mainly with the camera area. I think people were complaining about shadowed pictures and video due to the tight camera cut out. They widened it to ensure the new 8MP camera with not be hindered by a design flaw.

First, the defender technically provides more protection than the commuter and also comes with a handy holster with a clip. However, the defender is bulky and the port covers do not stay as well as the model for the 3GS. Also, I am not a fan of the defender because of the screen protector it comes with. Eventually, particles of dust or grit will work their way into your case and be sandwiched between the screen and the hard plastic film. Then, friction from your finger will scratch the screen up pretty bad (this happened to me). To make matters worse, I put a Zagg shield on it and it basically fused with the screen protector on the defender. I needed to pry the phone off the case and, while doing so, lifted the glass of the phone, creating permanant air pockets in my screen. Not a good scenario at all. The anti-glar films sold at the apple store, however, work fine because they have a smoother, less sticky surface. I would not reccomend this case at all, though, without these screen protectors because without a screen protector, air bubbles will form and distort your view and scratches on the screen will occur. But, if you work construction or another potentially hazardous job, this case with the anti-glare screen protectors may be a better choice then the Commuter series of cases.

The Commuter, on the other hand, offers a balance between versitility and protection. With this case, I can use my Zagg shield and is not peeled up by the case like many do. Also, I love the soft shell on the inside and the hard shell outside. The soft inner allows the port and button covers to be attached to the case and function propperly. This also helps absorb shock. The hard shell allows the phone to slide in and out of pockets very easily, even out of tighter jeans. In addition, it has a much thinner profile than the defender but still provides adequate protection. The ports are still protected from water and it can take a tumble. I've dropped my 4S about 4 times with this case on it, on hard surfaces from pretty significant hieghts (5 feet or so on some) and the case barely even shows it let alon the phone wrapped up inside. Also, by flipping the phone face down, the exposed inner rubber case prevents it from slipping if you needed it to stay put, for instance, in a car. For the average person, the commuter is the superior choice.

However, both cases with the lighter colored silicon soft shells, like white and grey, get dirty easily. They even get stained from dye in jeans. Not a huge deal to me, but might be to some. Overall, these are the two best cases on the market for the iPhone and believe me, I have researched and read up on them all. You must simply decide what your needs are for a case and make your decision.
11 comment|96 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 14, 2012
I already own a Otterbox Commuter case for my Iphone 4s and I love it. I purchased the same case in a different color for my boyfriend, and I immediately realized it was a fake. First, the box was halfway open, and the case was backwards in the box. Second, the silicone case was very cheap and flimsy. It did not fit snug around the phone, and the sides were really loose. As a result, the hard case would not snap onto the silicon case, especially on the sides. If you order a case, make sure it is not a fake! Fake cases are "made in China" and you can read the Otterbox symbol through the inside of the outside case. You can also see the seam running along the edges of the silicone case. The hard case is also really pliable. A real Otterbox case is "made in the US" and the silicone case does not have a seam on the edges. You also cannot see the Otterbox symbol through the back of the hard case. I ordered my product from Amazon Prime, assuming I would receive a quality case. I do not know if I would have realized this case was a fake, but since I compared it to my case, I could immediately tell it was of subpar quality. If I wanted a fake case, I would pay way less than 20 dollars for one, however, I do not want to risk dropping my Iphone while it only has the protection of a fake case. Amazon has a great return policy, so I will return this product, and hope that next time I will receive the real product, and not just a cheap imitation. The actual Otterbox will receive four stars from me, but the fake version receives one star.
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on November 30, 2011
I was really looking forward to receiving this case. It was not available for shipping when I bought it but I was adamant that this was the one I wanted so I patiently waited over a month for the case to become availbale. WLoved the purple color of the case and the fact that the case is both silicone and polycarbonate appealed to me, being as I'm a huge fan of silicone cases. I also liked the fact that this case was less bulky and easier to store in my pocket or purse. I feel like it offers adequate protection without adding unnecessary bulk. I also like that the case doesn't have a clear film in the front and instead just has a standard screen protector. Now on to the problems. The back of the case, where the cutout is for the apple logo is not protected by a clear film, as is the case for the Defender series of cases. This sincerely freaked me out because I am so afraid about anything happening to my phone. I cut out a piece of a screen protector and placed it over the opening. but it would just be so much better if the case already provided such protection. While I like that the case has silicone plugs to cover the base and the audio jack, the one for the audio jack is kind of difficult to lift and once you're done it doesn't nclick into place it just kind of sits there all crooked. Perhaps my biggest grip with this case, and girls, beware, is the fact that the white detailing on the phone is made of silicone. For the Defender cases, the white is polycarbonate and the exterior is silicone. With this case what encases the phone is white silicone, which eans every time you touch it, it gets dirty. I've only had my case for 3 days and it is already grimy. This is especially upsetting because as a girl, every time you hold the phone or hold it up to your ear makeup comes off and stains the case. I find myself constantly cleaning it off throughout the day because I hate that it always looks dirty. This is a real problem for me and I wanted people to know that before purchasing the case. It's a good case, but just be ready for it go getdirty right away. Had I known about this, it would have probably made me think twice about getting this case.
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