OtterBox Defender & Impact Series – The Best Rugged BlackBerry Tour Cases

September 8, 2009

The folks at OtterBox have taken on the challenge of keeping our hand-held gadgets protected.   Having recently purchased the BlackBerry Tour and being notoriously rough on cell phones, I was excited to receive OtterBox’s solutions – the Impact and Defender Series – for protecting one of the most important gadgets I own. 

Last May I raved about the OtterBox rugged laptop 7030 case which unfortunately has been discontinued, as OtterBox is now concentrating their product line primarily on hand-held technology.  I can understand the shift in focus, as it further underlines the ever-increasing, important role smartphones are playing in our hectic lives.

I have been a consumer of smartphones since 2004 when I purchased the Treo 300.  Since then I’ve owned seven different smartphones including Treos, the XV6700 and BlackBerries.  With each phone I desperately searched for the perfect case, and inadvertently became what is referred to in the gadget world as a "casewhore".  That’s fine, I wear the badge proudly, and claim pundit status when it comes to protecting my smartphones.

With that said… I’d like to introduce to you two of the best rugged cases on the market for the BlackBerry Tour:

OtterBox Impact SeriesImpact Series
The Impact Series for the BlackBerry Tour offers both a rubberized skin case and a screen protector. This is not just a rubber-on-phone case.  There’s a little more engineering and thought that has gone into the Impact Series shell versus your cheap $5 silicone cases.  The Impact has grid pockets strategically placed throughout the inside of the case to absorb the shock on impact.  


The skin comes only in black and feels solid in hand. Unlike the plastic two-piece hard shells you see at the mall kiosks, if you drop the Tour the case won’t bust apart at the seams.

The cut-outs allow for easy access to both speakers, the LCD, headset jack, mic, etc. It takes a little extra pressure to activate the left and right side-buttons and volume controls because the Impact shell has rubber covers over these areas.  I actually think that’s a great feature because I’m always inadvertently pressing side buttons on the Tour.

If your smartphone carrying habits are to toss your phone in your bag, backpack or purse – or even if you carry it in a large pocket – the Impact Series offers solid protection for your BlackBerry Tour.

Durable, one-piece, firm grip, screen guard included
Cons: None
Cost: $19.95
Also included: self-adhering clear protective film, cleaning cloth, and installation card
Purchase here 

Impact Series + Protective Film, Cloth, Installation Card

Impact Series



OtterBox Defender SeriesDefender Series

I carry my phone on my hip because it simply makes life easier.  The anxiety that comes with digging through my purse or computer bag in a desperate search to locate my cellphone BEFORE IT STOPS ringing… poof, gone.  It’s on my hip. Just be aware, when you roll like this, fam-n-friends tend to become agitated when you don’t respond immediately to their communication efforts – (nasal voice) "Where is she? She has the phone attached to her hip for crying out loud!"

The OtterBox Defender Series for the BlackBerry Tour is really two cellphone cases in one.  You can use the protective shell as a stand-alone, or pair it with the hip holster like I do. The smartphone casing is comprised of three layers:

First Layer – The silicone skin is made of a thick rubber similar to the Impact Series.  It not only offers you a substantial sense of “rugged” protection but it gives you a good grip on the device.  The silicone seals all ports from dust, allowing you full access by peeling back the rubber flap.  And just like the Impact series, there are rubber bumps covering the four side buttons and the two buttons located on the top of the Tour.  This outermost layer really does seal the deal (no pun intended). 

Second Layer  – This is a two-piece industrial plastic that encases the Tour and protects the cellphone on all sides.  Although it’s rather elusive in the pictures, there are  pieces of clear plastic that rests over the top of the large Tour screen and the camera.  Acoustic seals over the speaker cutouts prevent dust intrusion while  maintaining sound quality.

Third Layer – Kudos to OtterBox for recognizing that the “clear membrane” keyboard protection should be a removable option.  I opted out of the third layer, because I prefer to feel the tactile response from the keyboard.  The keyboard is nestled down about 3 – 4mm inside the case, allowing for a buffer between the surface and the keyboard. Thus, there’s enough raised protection around the outside of the phone to protect the keyboard in case of a drop.   Perhaps if my Tour were to consistently be exposed to water, sand or dust, I would  opt for this additional layer. 

Not much to say about it other than it does the job it was intended to do, which is to hold the phone securely in place.  At first it took a little effort to remove the Tour from the holster but over time it became easier. There’s a belt clip in the back that ratchets 360 degrees.  Belt clips are so important when you carry your phone on your hip. There are clips that dig into your skin, and clips that are too short, easily detaching.  I like the OtterBox clip because it not only has a tight grip, but it’s long enough to tweeze/pinch ample clothing or belt to keep it from falling off. 

The Defender Series is the most rugged BlackBerry Tour case in existence.  Your phone is completely protected while remaining completely functional.  After carrying my smartphone inside the Defender Series for the past two weeks, I would challenge any manufacturer to present a more durable, sound piece of engineering for the BlackBerry Tour.  OtterBox backs the Defender with a 1-year warranty. For the amount of engineering that went into making this product, I think it’s very reasonably priced.

Pros:  Durable, rugged, functional, very reasonably priced
Cons: A tad bulky
Cost: $49.95
Purchase here
Defender Series Case & Holster

Defender sans plastic keyboard membrane


Defender’s three layers of protection + holster


See OtterBox Commuter Case article here.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

James Otis Williams September 9, 2009 at 8:10 am

I have seen this product from a friend and I like what I see. Is this product available from anywhere else? For example, a store or cell phone shop. I’m in the process of purchasing the Blackberry Tour 9630 and I want to protect it to the fullest. If you have any extras, I can be a walking spokesperson for your product. In a manufacturing facility your product is perfect for protecting my investment. I’m anxiously awaiting your repsonse.

Thanks in advance,
James Otis Williams
Cummins Inc. Operations Manager


Robin September 9, 2009 at 11:36 am

Check with OtterBox ( for additional resellers or Google the product.


Ken September 11, 2009 at 7:28 am

I’ve had the defender for my 8830 for two years now, and I can even guess how many times it has saved my phone. The case has a number of small cracks now. Imagine if it hit hard enough to crack the case what it would have done to a piece of electronic equipment. The case is certainly well worth the cost.


Robin September 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Ken I agree – a lot of manufactures are charging twice as much for leather skin cases and fancy custom pouches. The fancy cases look nice and are appropriate for certain situations, but if your main priority is protecting your BB, the OtterBox Defender is unrivaled in my opinion.


Alfred September 14, 2009 at 6:53 am

I purchased one of the defender series for my tour at the airport. the man who put it on put it over the screen protector I had already installed. Now I want to remove the plastic cover to remove the screen protector which is dirty. How do I do this without damaging the plastic protector cover. Anyone had experience? Salesman threw out instructions. Thanks


Alfred September 14, 2009 at 6:56 am

Never mind 🙂 got it.


Jay September 18, 2009 at 7:20 am

I am a police officer and this is the best thing that ever happen to my phone in this profession. After chasing a bad guy and wrecking my previous phone (HTC Touch Pro) I needed some piece of mind after purchasing my Tour (almost $500). I wear body armor to protect me why shouldn’t I protect my phone. Otterbox is my phones body armor. Thanks OTTERBOX!!


Robin September 18, 2009 at 10:21 am

Jay – I’ve dropped the Tour several times within the case. Now, I don’t even check for damages. I just pick it up, pop it into the holster and keep on going. So I absolutely agree, there is a peace of mind that goes with the OtterBox. I know my phone is well protected.


Daniel Mendiola September 23, 2009 at 9:38 pm

This otter case is the best @$#%in !@#t! thats ever happened to my phone its awsome!!!!!


James Best October 3, 2009 at 7:12 am

I’m a pride owner of a otterbox case for blackberry and loving it


Julie October 5, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Hi Robin,

I just ordered the Tour, and am planning on getting an OtterBox. Do you have an opinion on the Commuter case? I’m kind of torn between the Commuter, and the Defender…



Robin October 5, 2009 at 6:16 pm

They are both rugged cases. Both will protect your Tour. However, the Commuter does not come with a holster, so if you carry your phone on your hip the Defender is the better choice.


Will October 7, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Julie, I bought an Otterbox Commuter for my Curve 8900 about a week ago, and while I haven’t had it long (and have never used a Defender), I still feel as though this is the best mobile phone case I’ve ever owned. Period.

One major difference between Commuter and Defender: the Commuter has the plastic shell on the outside and the rubber inside. This makes it easier to slide in and out of your pocket since the rubber doesn’t “stick.”

The protection remains substantial. You don’t have the keyboard protector or a hard lens over the screen or camera, but it comes with an adhesive scratch shield for the screen and raises a lip of rubber around the face to protect it from falls. The corners are all thick rubber, and the plastic shell is tough.

If I were working construction or were outdoors a lot or even just wanted the most bulletproof case available, the Defender would be my choice. For everyday use and a tough shell, though, all in a (slightly) slimmer package, the Commuter does the trick for me.


PAUL October 18, 2009 at 8:00 am



Robin October 19, 2009 at 11:24 am

Paul – If you are referring to removing the Defender from inside the holster, give it a couple of weeks. As I described in the article, I had a similar difficulty, but it became easier to remove the phone over time.


Michael b October 28, 2009 at 12:40 am

I get my otterbox denfeder case for blackberry tour tommorrow. I have hear nothing but good things about this case. I cant wait untill i have mine.


Jason M October 29, 2009 at 3:08 pm

I purchased the Otterbox Defender for my Tour 9630 roughly one month ago. I had never owned a smart phone before the tour, and never really saw the need to thoroughly protect a cheap phone like the flip phone I had. But I am always fairly rough on my phones so I always keep my old one as “insurance”.

Well, this go round I decided that instead of paying for Verizon’s insurance, I’d rather just buy a sturdy cover. Boy am I pleased. I’ve dropped the phone off a roof onto my concrete driveway, dropped it out of my truck (roughly 3 foot fall), and generally beat on it. There is absolutely no damage to my phone and the case itself is hardly scratched because of the silicon on the outside.

I do like the clear membrane because I’m a “pocket phone holder”. Jeans pockets lint like crazy, and the first place it attacks is the phone. So I’m excited that I can keep lint/dust out of my phone.

One thing I don’t like is the push button over the lock key. It seems that I have to push way too hard to get my phone to lock and unlock, but the Tour can lock and unlock via the keyboard, so I just don’t use the lock button.

All in all—fantastic cover.


Robin October 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Jason – your experience with the Tour resembles mine. I love it! However, like Alfred (above) I have difficulty removing the phone from the case to do battery resets if the phone starts performing slow. To circumvent, I downloaded the free app QuickPull which accomplishes the same thing (reset) without pulling the battery.

BTW – Since you carry the phone in your pocket, I’m surprised you chose the Defender over the Commuter which has more plastic on the back for easy removal from pockets and pouch cases.


Jud November 3, 2009 at 1:16 am

Outstanding case. Very snug fit. The case was built with attention to details. This case is on my Blackberry Tour and I find nothing that hampers any use of the phone or keyboard. One of the best cases I have every purchased and I have purchased a lot of them.


Carlton November 22, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Do you have the defender with a duty rig holster for police applications? I have the case and regular holster I bought from a Sprint store, but my son tells me ya’ll may have a holster that fits on duty rigs.


Tracy November 22, 2009 at 7:37 pm

Check with and select Contact Us and then ask the question. The Founders’ Blog just reviewed the cases, they don’t sell them.


paul November 23, 2009 at 8:17 am

Can the defender fit in the original leather holster that comes the tour?


Robin November 23, 2009 at 10:34 am

Paul – It fits like a pig wearing a poodle’s collar. Tight. Because the defender is rubber it probably won’t loosen up. You may want to try the hardshell of the Otterbox Commuter in combination with one of these pouches ( The link showcases extended battery (i.e. extra large) cases for the Tour.


Robin November 28, 2009 at 12:50 pm

For those having trouble removing the Tour from the Defender case here’s the secret: With the phone facing up, pull down on those two rectangular-shaped tabs located at the bottom of the plastic shell (one has hole for mic). This releases the top half of the shell from the bottom half.


Gilbert December 1, 2009 at 10:50 am

Purchased the Otter box Defender series, great case and holster, however the clip on the holster broke, how do i replace?


Robin December 1, 2009 at 10:56 am

contact OtterBox through their website


Mike December 4, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Just wondering if when you place the tour equipped with the defender case on to the belt clip does the phone go into sleep mode?


Robin December 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm



Toby December 13, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I bought the Blackberry Tour 9630 along with the Defender series Otterbox at the end of last month. I work in industrial maintenance and love this case. I was sitting at a conference table with my boss and he asked me what I had in my hand. I slammed the phone to the table, then I told him it was a BB tour and that’s why it has the Otterbox. I think I made a believer out of him. It’s armor for your investment.


Keith December 31, 2009 at 4:39 pm

You can purchase the Otterbox Defender and all the other models at Sears.
See link above, copy & paste it in address bar.
If you go to the store and order it there online they will ship it for free.
I paid $37.09 USD total.
Can’t wait to wrapped my Blackberry Tour in this baby, I will not handle it until the case arrive!
Happy New Year!


Penny January 7, 2010 at 4:32 pm

I bought the BB 9630 last year, Dec. 30,2009. TheOtterbox Defender is hands down the best protective case ever, egineered to perfection!


edyts January 11, 2010 at 12:46 am

I just won one on a website i frequent i can not wait to receive it i’ve dropped my tour so much i just hope i don’t break it before the case arrives


william January 12, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Need to feel bb tour vibrate. can that be done while in the defender and on the clip? what about hearing the phone ring encased so well in defender?


Robin January 12, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Yes you can feel it vibrate. It’s not as strong as the naked phone but you can feel it. I have my calls and emails set to vibrate twice and then ring. I usually feel the vibrate within the holster and pickup before it gets to a ring. You can customize the length of vibration and also the ring volume with the Tour.


Andy February 3, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Cheapest price I’ve seen for this case, $27.42 shipped (24.99+ 2.43 ship)
Also pretty funny, worth clicking just for kicks…one/Detail

They also have it without the sock for the same price:…ase/Detail


mith February 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I have blackberry storm2 and I like to place it in my jean’s pocket every where I go. Which one should I get, Ottorbox impact or Ottorbox defender?


Robin February 5, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Neither. I would look at the OtterBox Commuter because it has the rubber protection with a smooth hard shell to help it glide in and out of your pocket.


Jones February 22, 2010 at 7:47 am

I recently forgot my Blackberry Tour on top of my car half way down the high way at about 65mph the cell phone flew off I didn’t think anything of the sound until I realized that my phone was gone I looked through the ditches for two hours couldn’t find it so I gave up for that day and came back in the morning and finally found the phone there was absolutely nothing wrong with it even after hitting the highway so hard that it flew about 15 feet into the ditch and there was not one scratch or problem with the phone the ditches were full of snow and it managed to keep the water out as well. The Otter box Defender is probably the best purchase I could have made for my tour and I highly recommend it.


Robin February 22, 2010 at 11:46 am

Great story Jones. The case paid for itself.


Tylor September 10, 2010 at 8:34 am

I am very pleased with the Defender case for my Tour.  However, the clip itself on the holster seems a little fragile.  It is only held on by two small plastic tabs that break easily.  I have had three of them break when I either sit down or get out of a chair.  I wilsh they would come out with a heavy duty clip like they have for the Curve.  Other that the clip, I am very pleased with the case.


Aaron Thomson April 21, 2011 at 12:32 am

"otterbox case is mobile case manufacturing company for all mobile brands" no doubt however still few ppl claim abt otterbox cases getting broken easily(well it happens with all other brand cases so almost i dnt care so much )…i have a frnd who bought otterbox 3gs commuter case and the quality with which the case has been made have impressed me  well i m a person with not so costly phones and recently i bought BB Pearl and will like to mention that this is the first time i bought a phone beyond my budget but already I bought it now i wish to buy a quality case made by otterbox (like the one my frnd bought 3gs commuter case i want the same if it could fit to my bb pearl) but again cost matters me however the site from where i bought my BB pearl online also offers me specially made blackberry accessories like bb case for my pearl here  :   but i find it bit expensive according to my budget limitations and i have made up my mind not to compromise so i am looking to buy it from otterbox if available at low cost and same kind if available  (i have already tried it on my phone and i know it fits well.) any recommendations will be appreciated….


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