Review: OtterBox Defender Series Case for BlackBerry PlayBook

OtterBox Defender Series Case for BlackBerry PlayBook tabletWhen it comes to tablets many people don’t realize how fragile they can be. Since the launch of the iPad, OtterBox has been protecting tablets with their popular Defender Series case. The Defender Series sports three layers of protection to protect it with natural elements, like drops, bumps, dirt and dust.

Today we’re taking a look at the OtterBox Defender Series case for the BlackBerry PlayBook. As you may know the BlackBerry PlayBook is a compact 7” tablet that is slim and has touch sensitive bezels along the sides. I decided it was only right to take a look at OtterBox’s first case for the PlayBook and see how it performs.

First Impressions

At first glance you will notice the Defender Series is a big tough looking case. The Defender Series case has an optional shield casing that can clip over the front or back of the case to protect the screen when not in use as well. The best part about the shield is that when its not protecting your display, it can act as a kickstand to prop your device up and watch movies, play music, or even have a video chat.

Once you get use to the size of the case you won’t believe the amount of protection it offers. While I did not physically throw my PlayBook during this review, we have seen videos of people testing the Defender Series cases and throwing them down streets, dropping them from heights, etc. I’m just not willing to take a chance on harming my PlayBook, I love it too much.

The Layers

As I mentioned above, the Defender Series is made of three layers of protection. The first layer is a clear membrane which is built into the case. This membrane protects your PlayBook’s display from getting scratched. The second layer is a Hi-impact polycarbonate shell. This shell is the brain of operations and will securely wrap your device to ensure it doesn’t get harmed. The third layer is the durable silicon skin. The silicon skin wraps over the polycarbonate shell to provide maximum protection, some style, and grip so you don’t drop your tablet. Technically there is a four layer of protection with the PlayBook’s Defender Series, because you do get the hard plastic shield that clips over the display, when not in use to ensure the screen doesn’t get damaged.

As I mentioned before, the silicon skin wraps over the polycarbonate layer and fits into the grooves. I found with day-to-day usage the silicon skin often popped out of place. It’s slightly annoying, but you get over it.


The Defender Series for the PlayBook offers an amazing amount of protection. While it might be slightly bulky, I can definitely see myself using it in certain situations. As I stated above, the first layer of protection is a clear membrane that is built into the case, which protects the screen from getting scratched. Personally I could do without this layer. I found it to be a little annoying when trying to navigate around on the screen or even type. It might be something that you will get use to over time, but its on my list of negatives about the case. I am happy to report that the case doesn’t interfere with the touch sensitive bezels. I know that this was a question from a lot of people, before the case was available. I had no issues using any of the swipe gestures with the case on. Finally ever PlayBook owner knows how hard the Power button can be to press down with any case. Unfortunately the Defender Series doesn’t make it much easier to press down on. It takes a quiet the press from my finger nail to press it.

The Shield / Multimedia Kickstand

This was a great idea for Otterbox to include! The protective shield can clip over the front or back of your Defender Series case. When clipped over the front of the case, you will have solid protection to ensure your screen doesn’t get damaged. When clipped onto the back of the case, it protects your camera, with a slider to allow camera access if needed. The bonus of the shield is that it also acts as a kickstand for watching multimedia or video chatting. It’s a awesome bonus with this case!

How to put the Defender Series on your PlayBook

The folks at OtterBox have actually posted up short little video of how to install the Defender Series case on your BlackBerry PlayBook, so check that out below if your curious.

Final thoughts

The OtterBox Defender Series is a highly protective case. I am yet to find a product from OtterBox that I don’t like. With that being said this particular case may not be ideal for everyone. Because the Defender Series case offers so much protection, it’s big and bulky. It’s not easy to slip it in your pocket like it was before. Personally I prefer my PlayBook being small and compact for day-to-day use, however with that being said, I do use the Defender Series if I’m taking it out somewhere where I know it might encounter some bumps or drops, for example Camping. This case is perfect for anyone who works in construction, or will be carrying the PlayBook on job sites from whatever occupation. With your BlackBerry PlayBook in the Defender Series you don’t have to worry and it certainly gives you peace of mind.

Our rating

We have rated the OtterBox Defender Series for the BlackBerry PlayBook a solid 4.5 out of 5. As shared in our final thoughts, we feel that this case may be a little too bulky for every day use, but it makes up for it with the amount of protection it offers.

Rating: ★★★★½


  • Device feels very solid in the case
  • Protective Shield/Kickstand is very handy
  • Price seems to be fair $69.95 (when compared to iPad case at $89.95)
  • Case doesn’t interfere with touch bezels


  • No color options
  • Screen membrane layer can be annoying when typing or navigating
  • Power button is hard to press (even more) with case on
  • Silicon skin sometimes pops out of groves

Where to buy

You can pick up the OtterBox Defender Series case from for $69.95 USD.

Questions about the case?

Do you have questions about the Defender Series for the BlackBerry PlayBook? Post a comment below with your question and we will be happy to answer it for you!


3 Responses to “Review: OtterBox Defender Series Case for BlackBerry PlayBook”

  1. MrSimmonsSr

    May 19. 2011

    I have found the membrane to be so good I don’t even notice it is there. And I find the power button easier to press with the case on. I wonder if they reworked any of the design since you got yours to review? Strange!

    Reply to this comment
  2. seadug

    Nov 14. 2011

    Can A rapid charger be used on a playbook while in the Otterbox case?

    Reply to this comment


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