Otterbox Notebook Case

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We’ve reviewed some tough cases here on the TechCast Network before with the Matias Laptop Armor, but never have we reviewed a tough and waterproof laptop case.

Otterbox has made its way in to our offices here at TechCast with another one of their rugged products. Imagine what the Ford Hummer of notebook cases would look like and you’re probably not far of from imagining the Otterbox Notebook Computer Case.

What does it look like
When you first see the Otterbox, you think it’s one of the props out of Mission Impossible 3.

Made of a tough polypropylene plastic which in theory can withstand temperatures up to 160 degrees celsius, a waterproof seal that prevents your expensive laptop from getting damaged and customisable shock absorbers and you’ve got yourself a Fort Knox in a briefcase.

The case truly belongs in the hall of fame products for over the top protection which would be fit for even Rambo to use when he’s in a bad mood.

The all black exterior has a striking design with minimal logo or branding apart from the small and discrete Otterbox logo in the lid of the case. The ergonomic rubber handle is attached to the rest of the body with a tough nylon material and it has this rock solid feel to it when you grasp it. It definitely gives you a manly ego boost when you carry this around the work place.

Two water drainage holes are located on the underside so that when this case is removed from underwater, the water which makes it way in to the pressure equalization chamber can drain away, making it safe again for you to open the case.

The Otterbox means business, you realise it when you first see it, everyone else realises it when you walk in to the room with it. All that’s missing is a pair of handcuffs and the outfit is complete.

What are its features
Apart from it being able to survive a nuclear attack, or if you prefer to avoid that then you could take this case with your laptop inside under water and be comforted by the fact that your laptop is safe and secure. Add to that the ability to lock the case with the supplied set of keys, there’s not a lot more this case wants or needs to do.

It’s not ideal for storing documents but it could be done I suppose. There is room for it but it’s not a designed to take anything like that. It’s purely for storing your notebook and that’s it.

At the rear of the case, there’s an access port for feeding cables through to the laptop. This is ‘plugged’ via a rubber stopper which I realised was quite substantial when I pulled it out. It’s not one of them rubber stoppers that you often find on mobile phones that are meant to protect the memory card access. This is a decent sized piece of rubber which will stop water from getting in.

Inside you will find a hold-down strap to prevent the laptop from moving about once it’s secured inside. With the Otterbox you will also find some customisable bumpers which attach to various locations inside the Otterbox. Since the Otterbox is designed to fit many sizes and shapes of laptops, it needs to be flexible, so the boffins at Otterbox have decided to implement a velcro attach rubber bumper system. You get three different types of these bumpers. Two of these types are for the corners and two are for the length of the laptop, so it doesn’t matter what size laptop you got (as long as it fits in the case) then you’ve got it covered. This is smart in that it’s not custom made to fit just one size laptop, it’s screaming that it wants to protect everyones laptop.

The rubber latches are big and bold, with a substantial feel to it, these are no ordinary latches. It uses a double hook system, so you have to ‘hook’ the latch on to one of the end of the case, then bring it back to ‘hook’ on to the other end of the case. This guarantees that the case will stay shut in any scenario, nuclear attack or none.

Tests performed on the case
Not being much of a gambling man, I didn’t dare put this case through any extremities that you often seen on YouTube or on these TV experiments, however the tests I did perform on the case should be proof enough that Otterbox have produced one highly stable and tough case that will survive most if not all situations.

I put my MacBook Pro in the Otterbox and gave it three drops on to carpet at various angles and from about 2 metres high. The laptop survived with no marks damages and remained secure in its comfy position inside the case.

The case itself suffered from a few scratches but no actual physical damage where parts were coming loose or the plastic getting chipped.

Next was the water test. Before I did this I submerged the case under water without the Mac for a few minutes. Because of the air pressure inside and no weight, you have to really give it a push for it to go down, otherwise it’s just a floating black box.

After I was satisfied with that test, I put the Mac in and in to the depths it went. I left it in there for a few minutes, pondering as to whether I should make an appointment to my doctor for submerging over ?Ǭ�1000 worth of non-waterproof equipment under water and going against any common sense I had.

Lo and behold, the Otterbox did the job as it should do. The water was left on the outside and the Mac inside was as dry as before it went under.


Otterbox have produced the Humvee of laptop cases. Simply, the ultimate protection for any portable device which will shield it from heat, cold, water, ice, drops, dust, snow and pretty much any other weather element you can think of. A fantastic piece of kit which doesn’t cost an arm and leg.

The Otterbox Notebook Case gets the TechCast Recommended Award. I can’t wait for the second revision – the bomb proof laptop case!

2006-12-05 Onwah Tsang

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