After carrying my iPad in the OtterBox Defender Series Case for roughly a week, I got a little tired of it being so big and bulky. So, I decided to swap out the Defender for the Commuter Series case I had received. The Defender Series offered superior drop and bump protection with a front cover that seconds as a stand for the device, while the Commuter Series focuses a little more on savoring the integrity of the original design, lightweight and slim. My favorite cases from OtterBox for my phones have always been the Commuter Series. Defenders have always been a little too bulky for something I tend to carry in my pocket. When it comes to a larger device, bulk really isn't as much of a concern anyway. The Commuter Series looks and feels great on the iPad, but definitely left me wanting more out of a case.
The case is super lightweight and for the most part, keeps the sleek and slim original design of the iPad. It's a lot easier to suit your iPad in a Commuter than a Defender as there is only one plug that you have to worry about as opposed to about twenty on the Defender. The Commuter also comes with the same static-cling screen protector which does make me feel a little more comfortable seeing I'm missing a thick, hard plastic cover that came on the Defender. With the two layers (one plastic and one rubber) we're accustomed to out of Commuter Series cases, you do feel somewhat protected against a small drop or bump, but I definitely wouldn't want to test it out, not with my personal device.
One benefit to this series over the Defender is it plays much more nicely with my Invisible Shield. Like I said previously, static-cling shields don't offer the same protection, so compatibility with an Invisible Shield is important to me. The first time I put this case on my iPad, I ripped up my Invisible Shield (nothing a little solution and a squeegee can't fix though). When I attempted the Defender with the shield on it took me a good five minutes to get it on. I had to ease it on since it grips around, but with the Commuter the only part you have to worry about is the very bottom of the screen. You can angle it just right and slide it on without scraping up the shield, and all is well.
Seeing that almost the entire back of the case is a hard plastic shell, the iPad becomes very slick. I've gone to sit it down on a table a time or two and it's almost slid off of the edge of the table. Of course, I was being careless, but that's when the worst things tend to happen, and we all get that way at one time or another. It also gives me the feeling that I may unexpectedly drop the device if I'm carrying it by hand. Having a slick back really put me at risk of the device getting away from me, and this would be a non-issue if I felt it offered more bump protection.
The two layers of protection included with this case are much more thin that what I grew used to with the Defender series. If I dropped my iPad with it in this case, I'm sure the case would break the fall some, but I'm afraid my screen may take the blunt of the fall. The silicon layer should absorb the shock from a fall, but I'm weary as to how much it would really help. Also, there is also no stand, which I loved and miss, a lot. I'm back to MacGyvering ways to prop my iPad. The stand from the Defender still works with the Commuter, but there's no convenient way of carrying it. There is no way to attach it to the Commuter, which makes it counterproductive to carry separately.
Also, without something covering my screen beyond a screen protector, I can't just toss it around like I could before. Ultimately, after having such a protective case, moving to this really isn't the way to go for me. Priced at $64.95, there are cheaper ways to go about getting roughly the same protection. If the price isn't the issue, there are cases that offer, in my opinion, better protection for the same price.
If I had to rate the Commuter Series OtterBox for iPad, I would give it a 5 out of 10. I would almost rather carry my iPad in a simple silicon case due to the slickness of the back of the Commuter. While it does offer some drop protection, I just don't feel at ease carrying it around with this case on it. A thin, adhesive film being the only thing protecting a 9.7” display really doesn't make sense, and isn't the smartest way to go. Overall, it isn't a bad case, but for a device that I've put a lot of money into, I'd rather spend a little more cash and fully protect it with it's bigger brother, the Defender. If you like the fact that it is thin, lightweight, and having the ability to leave the case on and dock your iPad, you may like this case, but I'm not a huge fan. If, however, you are interested in this accessory, you can visit the OtterBox website for more information on it.