- Editor Rating
- Rated 2.5 stars
- OtterBox iPhone 5/5s Commuter Series Wallet
- Reviewed by:
- Published on:
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- Cosmetic AppealEditor: 50%
- Design & Build QualityEditor: 60%
- FeaturesEditor: 60%
- FunctionEditor: 40%
- Value For The PriceEditor: 60%
The OtterBox Commuter Series Wallet is an iPhone 5/5s case that features built-in storage.
OtterBox is notorious in the tech industry for making excellent rugged smartphone cases, but they also have a new line called the Commuter Series Wallet which ditches the rugged features in exchange for a built-in storage compartment perfect for your license, business cards, credit cards, or some cash.
The Commuter Series is available now for the iPhone 5/5s as well as the Samsung Galaxy S4 with a MSRP of $44.95. I have tested a sample Commuter Series Wallet for the iPhone 5/5s in black for the past couple of weeks so I'll give you a low down on how my first-hand experience has been throughout this review.
Design & Build Quality
As you can probably tell, the Commuter Series Wallet is based off OtterBox's original Commuter Series case with a specialized rubber insert that fits within the plastic exterior shell. However, the design differs greatly on the rear as the Wallet series features a built-in storage compartment that slides in and out. The case is thicker due to this storage compartment, but on the same level as the Defender series and nothing unreasonable. While this compartment has a relatively decent amount of room and is easy to access, there are a few issues with the design which I'll touch on in the “Function” component of this review.
The build materials are durable yet lightweight and I would expect them to last long through regular daily use. Something I did notice was the plastic exterior lacks any real texture to it thus making it slippery especially if you have moist hands. The quality is on par with OtterBox's Defender Series case which has achieved great success and is currently one of the highest rated iPhone 5/5s cases on Amazon.
Size Comparison With Defender & Preserver Series
Th Commuter Wallet Series is far from its feature-packed Preserver Series sibling, but has all the basic protective features most consumers are looking for. With every new Commuter Wallet Series, you get the two-piece case assembly plus a free self-adhesive screen protector. The external plastic casing helps prevent scratches or dents and the internal rubber housing provides excellent shock protection if you accidentally drop your phone.
Of course, the most important feature for this case is the slide-out “wallet” compartment. This is a unique characteristic and OtterBox is the only well-known manufacturer producing a case that offers the same benefits. Of course there is no water or dust protection, but you really can't complain about the features or lack there of for the $44.95 price tag.
Installing the Commuter Series Wallet only requires you to place your iPhone within the rubber case then insert the combination into the plastic shell. The adhesive screen protector is easy to install and is applied just like any other screen protector on the market.
I quickly realized that though the built-in compartment is useful, the limited size capacity keeps it allowing me to ditch my bulky wallet. OtterBox advertises the compartment to be capable of holding up to three cards and one bill. I've found this to be accurate although storing all of that results in a rather tight fit.
A better use I found for this case is holding business cards instead of money. The compartment keeps the them from becoming bent or damaged (as they often get in your pocket/wallet) and due to a business card's thin size, it can hold a large amount at one time.
One of the biggest issues that I have with the OtterBox Commuter Series Wallet is how easily the tray can be accidentally opened and the lack of any way to latch the tray in a “closed” position.
Like most men, I keep my phone in my pants pocket in the face down position (bottom up) the majority of the time. When I want to get access to my phone, I must reach in to grab the back of my device and pull. When I have the Commuter Series Wallet case equipped, I almost always end up grabbing the storage portion of the case which results in the wallet tray opening up and causing a hassle in getting my phone out of my pocket.
There isn't much of a way around this unless you place your phone in a different orientation or simply use a backpack (or purse for women). Personally, it just feels uncomfortable placing it in my pocket any other way especially since I lose access to the headphone jack when place my phone with the top side up.
Ideally, this case is designed for runners, cyclers, or any minimalists whom want to travel very lightly. If you're able to make due with the limited space and carry the bare essentials than it just might be able to remove that bulky wallet from your everyday life, but for me it just doesn't offer enough space for me to feel comfortable doing so. However, I could see this case becoming increasingly more valuable when the revolutionary Coin device releases this Summer.
In the end, I think the OtterBox Commuter Series Wallet looks excellent on paper, but underperforms in the execution. While it does an adequate job protecting your phone from accidental drops, dings, or scratches, I don't think the wallet portion is all that practical given the limited storage space. Additionally, the design is prone to accidental opening of the storage tray which caused issues when trying to remove the device from my pocket. If you're someone looking to add some storage to your iPhone and understand the case's limitations then the Commuter Series Wallet might be a suitable fit for you. Personally, I was not all that impressed and would rather stick to a more traditional option like the Preserver or Defender Series.
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.