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OtterBox Defender Series for Centro

Tue Jan 6, 2009 - 10:22 AM EST - By Neal Martin


I was recently contacted by someone at OtterBox inquiring if I'd be interested in reviewing one of their fine cases - the OtterBox Defender for Centro. I was familiar with OtterBox, but visited their Website so I could pass along a bit of information about them on to you. From the OtterBox Website:

Our cases are dedicated to all the klutzy, spontaneous, chaotic, graceless individuals who have broken a device or valuable due to their active lifestyle. Like our customers, we've been there too! From the beginning, we have protected valuables through innovation. This "innovative spirit" has allowed evolution in our product lines to safeguard the hottest technologies such as iPod's, smartphones, PDA's, Tablet PC's, laptops and other devices. We take the idea of a protective case to the next level so customers can find the ideal solution for any work environment or adventure!

I love my Centro, so I'm always receptive to a case designed to protect my favorite mobile device - so I agreed and anxiously awaited the arrival of my new case! When it arrived, it was in 6 separate pieces and I wondered what was in store. Read on for my review!

In the Box

As I mentioned, the OtterBox Defender box included 6 pieces and I wondered just how well the case could protect my Centro as I stared at the various pieces. The box included a clear plastic moisture guard, 2 pieces which form the inner shell, a black silicone skin and a hard plastic holster with removable belt clip. Eager to see my Centro in my new case, I studied the pieces and began the assembly process!

Building the Case

The first layer of protection is the moisture guard, which is basically a flap you fold across your Centro from front to back. The guard has cutouts for the camera lens, vanity mirror and the speaker ports on the back of your Centro. The guard is a pretty decent moisture guard with screen protector - nice and thick without interfering with the ability to use stylus. As you can see in my picture of the guard, it's not a precise fitting protector like the BodyGuardz or the invisibleSHIELD, both of which I reviewed here. But both of these protectors are designed solely to protect your screen, while I believe the protective shield of the OtterBox Defender was designed for protection from the elements, on the go - with the ability to quickly remove the protection at a moments notice. The guard is actually held in place with the initial two polycarbonate pieces you put together to form a shell. Let me mention, these pieces fit together precisely, as this is a precision case to be sure!

The next layer of protection is the aforementioned polycarbonate shell. At the bottom front of this shell, where your microphone is, the folks at OtterBox designed a nice-looking vent perfect for letting ample sound through to the microphone. The same is true for your earpiece, with a perfectly shaped cutout in the case, as well as a hole through which you can see your LED indicator light. Both the microphone and earpiece acoustical vents allow for excellent sound transmission! On either side of the shell, towards the bottoms, you have nicely designed plastic finger grooves - which give you a nice feel as you hold your Centro while making a call or just playing games, etc.! There are also cutouts for your side buttons, sync/charge jack, earphone jack, camera lens, vanity mirror, speaker port, ringer on/off switch and stylus. At first, I thought the two pieces fit together rather loosely. That is until I inserted my Centro and snapped the two pieces together! What a difference that made. These pieces won't just fall apart. In fact, I spent a while trying to figure out how to separate them, hehe. This polycarbonate shell just looks and feels like it can keep your Centro safe from harm!

The third layer of protection is the high-quality silicone skin, which is designed to absorb shock. I love the look and feel of this skin! It's soft with a nice, flat black finish that isn't tacky. The skin attaches to the shell by anchoring on strategically placed tabs on the polycarbonate shell and stretches itself just enough to provide a nice, tight fit! There are cutouts in the skin for access to your keyboard, screen, sync/charge jack, stylus, ringer on/off switch, side finger grooves and also the nice Otter Box logo on the back of the inner shell. Along the sides of the skin are raised buttons which provide side button functionality for your volume up and down buttons as well as your convenience button.

A touch I love is the flaps for the stylus and ringer on/off switch at the top and sync/charger jack and earphone jack on the bottom of the skin. These flaps fit perfectly and tuck nicely into the provided grooves in the inner shell for a perfect fit! The slight difference in color between the skin and the inner shell, along with the difference in textures makes for one AWESOME looking case!

And, it doesn't end there. The case also comes with a hard carrying case with a detachable belt clip. This case is designed so that you snap the case protecting your Centro into this outer case, with the phone facing inward. It just so happens that the top of the outer case exactly covers your touch screen and keyboard areas, protecting your phone even further! You can even feel AND hear the cases interlock, assuring you your phone is securely held into place - I love that added security! The belt clip is also adjustable and has 24 positions into which you can rotate your phone, assuring that you can have your phone ready in any position you desire. Just rotate to the desired position and press and the clip locks into place! Although it only covers the bottom half of your Centro when your phone is locked into place, the silicone skin and inner polycarbonate shell should offer more than ample protection should you happen to drop your case/phone.


The more I look at the intricate design of the OtterBox Defender, the more I am impressed. The folks at OtterBox left no detail to chance. Every part of the case is precisely manufactured to exactly fit any connecting pieces. There is no 'almost' right fit anywhere on the case(s)! I can see myself using this case as my only case, in fact. The moisture/dust guard is easily removable and I probably wouldn't use it on a daily basis - just when it looks like rain in all likelihood, but it's available if I should need it!

Of course, to access your battery and/or your microSD storage card, you'll have to remove your Centro from the case - but, that's a given for every Centro case I've ever seen. Other than that, the only thing I noticed is that I sometimes accidentally pull my phone out of the case as I'm trying to unclip the tight-fitting belt clip from my belt. I suppose that could be avoided if I simply removed the phone from the case first though, hehe. Keep that in mind so you don't accidentally drop your phone when removing the case from your belt or even your pocket, pants themselves or your purse strap. I'm sure the case would protect your Centro in any case should it fall to the ground - but, better safe than sorry.

Please note: While the moisture/dust guard does a great job keeping moisture away from the keyboard and screen, it was NOT designed to WATERPROOF your Centro. Do NOT intentionally immerse your Centro into water thinking the OtterBox Defender will keep your Centro safe - it won't.

At $49.95 in the TreoCentral store, I'd say this case is DEFINITELY worth every penny if you're looking for a great looking case that will definitely protect your investment - your precious Centro! Get one today!!

Treo accessory store



Design 5
Functionality 5
Protection 5
Cost/Benefit 5
(not an average)
  • Perfectly designed for the Palm Centro
  • Screen protector/water barrier
  • Access to all buttons/ports
  • Nice silicone outer skin, smooth and not tacky
  • Holster protects screen and keyboard when phone is inserted
  • 24-position belt clip
  • Cons
  • Like other cases, you will have to remove Centro to remove battery or access storage card

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