The name OtterBox has become practically synonymous with quality and protection for any number of smartphone and tablet owners over the past couple years. As such, when one of their cases was announced for the Amazon Kindle, it seemed like a great option for people who don’t want to have to worry about accidental damage or wear and tear. Unfortunately, the reviews that have come in so far are overwhelmingly unimpressed by the end result.
Compared to cell phones, which are likely in any given day to be dropped, scratched, and generally worn out by their constant presence in the lives of owners no matter the situation, I would guess that the average Kindle is astoundingly well cared for. For many owners, as a result, the important factor in deciding on one of these cases would have to be durability without loss of functionality. Basically, people care more about their Kindle working properly than they do about how impervious it is as a general rule. To me, this makes perfect sense. Apparently it was overlooked.
Customers are complaining about the experience for any number of reasons. The screen protector seems to greatly increase experienced glare. The page turn buttons tend to stick and lose their responsive feeling when being pushed. The silicone of the sleeve itself is a magnet for any lint, oil, and debris that it happens to come into contact with. That aside, once the sleeve is on it is difficult to even make out the button functions in most light since they are identified by recessed and uncolored symbols. On top of that, it adds a noticeable amount of weight to the Kindle and gets to be quite obtrusive.
The majority of these negative reviews come from people who declare themselves fans and former owners of OtterBox products who are simply astounded by how mediocre this particular item turned out to be by comparison. Yes, it does what it is meant to do. Once you get it to fit properly, your Kindle is going to be protected very well. It just manages this in such a way as to make you more aware of the case than seems necessary. That limits the potential uses for it, in my eyes.
This might make an excellent investment for high damage potential situations. Want to get a kid a Kindle? The OtterBox case will help it last longer and costs less (as of right now) than most Kindle cases! Want to keep one in the garage? I would want one of these. But it really only works in situations where durability is the absolute most important factor.
The Kindle was intended to be, and manages in general to be, a device that doesn’t get in the way of what it was made to do. When you are using one, the experience is meant to be pleasant and allow for the same kind of reading experience you would get from a paperback. The OtterBox Commuter Case for the Amazon Kindle, by all accounts I’ve seen so far, fails to allow this. This is not what one would hope for when they hear about something like this.