When we first encountered the brand Otterbox, it was a brand dedicated to making sure your phone survived an encounter with the hard, hard ground at any cost. That hasn’t changed a few years on, but at least the company has learned something about keeping things slim.
This year, Otter is showing us that ruggedisation and resistance can come without blowing out the size of a case too much, and without making the phone look too unsightly or not fit in the pocket nicely.
It feels like a new breed of case for the company, and it comes with a name that is less heroic than we’ve previously seen from the company.
If you needed something strong and rugged, you previously went with the “defender”, and if you needed protecting from the rigours of everyday transit, you went with the “commuter”. These are names that bring an image to life in your head, visages that do what they can to stop your phone from meeting the demise we’ve all had nightmares of.
But the Strada doesn’t give off that expectation, and in our heads comes off feeling more like it goes with a car or form of hand luggage, and that actually might be the point.
A new line for the brand, the Otterbox Strada is less about resistance and more about looks, featuring a leather stitched case with magnetic holder clinging to a polycarbonate case still built to the Otterbox expectation that it will survive a drop.
That important stuff is still there, with reinforced corners, a thick plastic casing, and a rigidity to the design that practically tells you the phone isn’t going to fall out of the case at a moment’s notice and ruin your life in that heart beat.
Otterbox is instead improving upon that necessary design with the inclusion of the leather wrap, which doesn’t just sit on the front protecting the screen, but also covers the back letting you know the fabric runs its way all around the body and isn’t just some shoddily glued in bit of material that’s going to fall off.
There’s also a slot inside that front leather cover for a card, making it exceptionally handy if you happen to have a card you use often, say that of an Opal card or some other transit specific card that can be bumped to a terminal without needing to show its face.
In the days since we’ve been using the case, we’ve found it to be exceptionally useful, and while it does increase the thickness of the iPhone 6 — it’s a case, so adding dimensions is more or less a guarantee — its function and durability makes this less of an issue.
One thing that is worth noting is the magnetic bump on the edge.
This design element means the cover can latch closed quite easily, with the magnet inside the cover sticking to the magnet on the outside the way they’re supposed to.
It does need to be noted, however, that the iPhone isn’t built like the iPad, and it doesn’t have a magnetic screen kill switch, so when you do close the iPhone cover, it won’t switch off the screen the same way it will for the iPad.
That’s more of a problem with the iPhone than it is with the Otterbox Strada itself, but it’s something you’ll want to keep in mind if you happen to leave the screen on for longer periods of time than normal.
If that’s not an issue, however, and you’re a user of the Apple iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S6, the Otterbox Strada is definitely worth checking out, though we’d like to see it for more than just the two devices, because we’re sure iPhone 6 Plus owners, as well as the more common Galaxy S6 Edge would love to try this for themselves, too.
Otterbox’s Strada will be available soon for a recommended retail price of $59.95.