Review: OtterBox 7000 series Laptop Cases

Almost indestructable, this laptop case protects! (December 15th, 2006)

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Product Manufacturer: Otter Products, LLC.

Price: $169.95 US

The Good

  • The Humvee of notebook cases. Amazing durability and big bold design. Three models fit most laptop sizes. Heat, water, dirt, dust, drop, ice, snow-proof design.

The Bad

  • Only stores laptop, no room for peripherals or papers. Heavy to carry.

MacNN has reviewed a variety of laptop bags and cases, but never have we covered a waterproof laptop case. Otter is known for its robust cases, as you can see in our iPod case review, but their laptop case is a rugged product in its own class. Imagine what the Ford Hummer of notebook cases would look like and you are probably not far of from imagining the OtterBox 7000 Series Laptop Computer Cases. The case is not ideal for storing documents but there is room for a limited number of papers. It is not designed to pack peripherals, it is purely for storing your notebook, and that is it.

The Look

When you first view the OtterBox 7000 series case, it looks like one of the props out of the movie Mission Impossible. It is made of a tough polypropylene plastic, which in theory can withstand temperatures up to 160 degrees Celsius. A waterproof seal prevents your expensive laptop from moisture damage and its customizable shock absorbers make this a Fort Knox in a brief case. The case truly belongs in a product hall of fame for over the top protection, which is fit for even Rambo to use when he is in a bad mood. The OtterBox means business, which you realize when you first see it, and everyone else knows it when you walk in to a room.

The black exterior has a striking design with minimal logo or branding apart from the small discrete Otter logo on the lid. The ergonomic rubber handle attaches to the substantial body with a tough nylon material and it has a rock solid feel to it when grasped. A key works the lock that sits behind the handle on the front of the case.

The case can probably survive a nuclear blast, but if you prefer to avoid that, then be comforted that your laptop is safe and secure if it goes under water. Two water drainage holes are located on the underside. When this case is removed from underwater, any water that makes its way in to the pressure equalization chamber drains away, making it safe to open the case.

Unique Features

An access port on the rear of the case feeds cables through to the laptop. This is plugged via a substantial rectangular rubber stopper. It is not one of those thin rubber stoppers that are on mobile phones that are meant to protect the memory card access. This is a thick piece of rubber that stops water from entering the computer compartment.

A Velcro strap inside the laptop compartment prevents the laptop from moving about once it is secured. Rubber bumpers that keep it away from the edges of the case also protect the laptop. Otter includes extra bumpers that attach to various locations inside the case. Since the OtterBox 7000 series is designed to fit many sizes and shapes of laptops, Otter implemented a Velcro rubber bumper system. You get three different types of these bumpers. Two are for the corners and two are for the length of the laptop, so it does not matter what size laptop you have, if it fits in the case, then you have got it covered. This is a smart design, because it is not custom made to fit just one size laptop, it screams that it wants to protect every laptop.

The rubber case latches are big and bold, with a substantial feel. These are no ordinary latches; they use a double hook system. You have to hook the latch on to top of the case, and then bring it back to latch on to the bottom of the case. This guarantees that the case stays shut in any scenario, under water, snow, or kid's feet. An included shoulder strap attaches to the case with heavy duty swivel clips.

Tests performed

Not being much of a gambling man, I did not dare put this case through any of the extreme tests that you see on YouTube or on those TV experiments. However, the tests I did perform on the case should be enough proof that Otter has produced one highly stable and tough case that will survive most, if not all calamities.

I put my MacBook Pro in the OtterBox and gave it three drops on to carpet at various angles from about 2 meters high. The laptop survived with no mark or damage, and remained secure in its comfy position inside the case. The case itself suffered a few scratches, but no actual physical damage where parts came loose or the plastic Next, I ventured into the water test.

First, I submerged the case under water without the Mac for a few minutes. Due to the air pressure inside and no weight, you have to really push it down to submerge it; otherwise, it is just a floating black box. After I was satisfied with the empty test, I put in my Mac and down into the depths it went. I left it in for a few minutes, pondering as to whether I should make a doctor’s appointment for submerging $2000 worth of non-waterproof equipment and going against my common sense. Lo and behold, the OtterBox did the job as advertised. The water stayed outside and the Mac inside was as dry as before it went under. (Editor’s note: Kudos to Oni for this bit of insanity and really testing the product! The case is not made to use the computer underwater though and it is only waterproof to three feet.)

Evaluation

The OtterBox 7030 case is the Humvee of laptop cases. It is simply the ultimate protection for almost any laptop, and shields it from heat, cold, water, ice, drops, dust, snow, and pretty much any other weather element. It is a fantastic case that does not cost an arm and leg. It does need a strong arm though, because empty it weighs about five pounds. A separate case fits a small, medium, and large (17") laptop.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Onwah Tsang


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