OtterBox Commuter Wallet — Accessory Review

OtterBox Commuter Wallet

We’ve all dropped a mobile phone and felt the fear as time slows down while your precious mobile phone, brain and life companion tumbles to the ground. Knowing that in a split second your life and bank balance may change dramatically is often motivation to think about protecting your phone a bit better in the future with a case that can help your phone withstand the bumps and knocks of daily life — perhaps even, if you’re a particularly active and outdoors type, a “rugged” case. Enter OtterBox.

The company has a range of protective covers and accessories designed to protect your consumer electronics, including completely submersible cases and multi-part cases that can protect your phone from pretty much anything you can throw at it.

In my volunteer role with the SA State Emergency Service, I’ve been unfortunate enough to watch my phone gracefully slide down from a second storey roof, clip the gutter and finally explode as it hit a the ground on a concrete driveway. I’m not about to test this with my new phone despite OtterBox’s claims, but I’d suggest that the phone probably would have been functional had it been in an OtterBox case.

OtterBox kindly sent through one of their new Commuter Wallet cases for Ausdroid to review. They’ve also promised a look at the Preserver, an all-weather case that covers almost anything you could possibly do to damage your phone (including dropping it in a swimming pool, or an unfortunate fall out of your pocket into the toilet) – we’ll be taking a look at that in the coming weeks.

Commuter Wallet

The Commuter Wallet is an evolution over the company’s original Galaxy S4 Commuter case. It’s intended as a general protection against the clumsiness, dust and scratches can occur in any smartphone user’s daily life. It has the added advantage of a slide out drawer for storing three cards (credit card / ID size) and room for a folded note. For what’s on offer, the Commuter Wallet is not outrageously priced, retailing for $44.95 at a number of retail locations.

The case comes in two parts – an inner silicon sleeve that slips over the device and cushions it, protecting against drops, and a hard outer shell constructed of polycarbonate which the silicon sleeve rests in. It doesn’t look very different to the original Commuter case despite the added space for cards/notes.

The outer shell has a patterned back and curved edges, making it easier to hold in your hand and providing a good grip. The USB and headphone ports are covered by flaps, and there’s also a traditional screen protector you can apply to protect the front of your device. While the case won’t make your device waterproof or dustproof, it’ll provide a bit of a barrier against rain or splashes.

One of the issues I’ve had with other cases of this sort in the past is that they’ve got such a massive edge to them that you can’t easily access the extreme edges of the screen, the volume or power buttons. Not so with the Commuter Wallet – OtterBox has hit a very happy medium between protection and functionality of the phone whilst it’s in the case.

A couple of people have asked me about the bulk of the case, my response to them is grab your phone AND wallet as a “single item” and tell me whether they still think the Commuter Wallet case is bulky. Due to my being a desk jockey at work, I don’t personally have a need for a case like this in my daily life, but when I was dashing around on weekends while reviewing the OtterBox Commuter Wallet, I found the convenience of grabbing my car keys and phone only a great convenience.

The wallet tray open

The wallet tray open

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Commuter Wallet to someone whose lifestyle suit the design. Given how critical I usually am of cases and phone accessories in general, I’d say that’s pretty high praise, and well deserved.

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About the author

Phil is an Android enthusiast who spends most of his time reading up on U.S. Android news so he can get the low down on what could possibly hit Australian shores. Coming from a background in IT & T sales,... (read more)


  • Greg

    Say bye-bye to NFC I guess. Except your travel card which will be constantly triggering on your phone.

    • Harpersneil

      Exactly what I was thinking!

    • http://www.philtann.com/ Phil Tann

      My Metrocard (pictured) still worked through the case, but wireless charging and NFC from my phone weren’t working. I don’t use NFC very often, but use wireless charging.