Review: OtterBox Commuter Series Wallet for iPhone 5/5s
OtterBox has become known for releasing cases for each new iOS device that mostly iterate on its established designs, so Commuter Series Wallet for iPhone 5/5s ($45) surprises us as one of the more original cases we've seen from the company recently. Based heavily on Commuter Series Case, it uses a rubber inner layer and a plastic outer shell. What's new here is the slide-out drawer built into the shell, which can hold credit cards or cash, turning the case into a wallet. The case comes with screen film, an applicator card, and a cleaning cloth.
Viewed from the front, Commuter Series Wallet looks identical to the case it’s based on. The rubber fits into the plastic, creating a deep, cohesive rim all the way around the edge. Ignore the extra hump on the back, and the same could be said of the top, bottom, and sides of the case; they look just like they do on the plain Commuter. This includes volume and Sleep/Wake button through the rubber layer, and flip-open port protectors along the bottom edge.
That extra thickness on the back of the case can’t be ignored though; it adds a quarter-inch, or about 50%, to the size of this case. What you get for that, though, is a drawer that slides in and out and can hold up to three cards and one bill, snapping securely in place when not in use. We found the movement to be smooth, and the cards fit well. To remove them though, you have to lift up at the exposed edge and pull, which may be difficult depending on the size of your fingers and fingernails. It’s good to know they’re secure though.
We understand the appeal of being able to replace, or at least lessen the need for, a wallet. Some cases have pulled this task off extremely well, while others, Commuter Series Wallet included, fall into the “good” category. It’s not that the thickness is necessarily a bad thing, but we’re more turned off by the fact that it feels thick, as if a wallet was simply slapped onto the back. For carrying a handful of cards, it’s a totally acceptable option, if not our favorite, and it earns our general recommendation.