Otterbox’s new case provides a battery, audio system, Sq. reader and different swappable performance

Otterbox’s new case offers a battery, speakers, Square reader and other swappable functionality

I noticed an Otterbox case on the practice journey on this morning that kind of confirmed my emotions concerning the firm’s merchandise: massive, cumbersome and protecting. Swaddling one’s telephone in an Otterbox case for a New York Metropolis subway experience is the smartphone equal to sporting a bulletproof vest in public. It’s sort of uncomfortable and barely awkward, however hey, you by no means know, proper?

However whereas there’ll all the time be a spot for hyper-protecting instances (I do know what I would like my telephone within the subsequent time I’m going crab fishing), the corporate has clearly been in search of a solution to supply up safety with out successfully encasing the factor in Lucite.

Otterbox took steps towards shedding that picture with the launch of its commuter collection and the 2013 acquisition of LifeProof, a San Diego-based mostly firm that has largely executed a very good job designing protecting instances that do a superb job providing safety with out including an excessive amount of bulk.

Otterbox’s new case offers a battery, speakers, Square reader and other swappable functionality

In its undressed type, the uniVERSE extra intently resembles LifeProof’s output than the type of factor most of us have come to affiliate with Otterbox, and the rep I met with forward of the product’s announcement was fast to level that out. This isn’t the usual water, mud, and drop-proof fare we’ve come to anticipate from the case-maker. It’s a lot slimmer and, if I do say so, higher wanting than lots of Otterbox’s different choices.

There’s nonetheless some strong bumper safety within the corners – sufficient to guard the telephone from a regular bumbling drop on the aspect. With the display and backside absolutely uncovered, nevertheless, it’s not going to be a lot safety from water, mud and the like. However for as soon as, that’s not likely the purpose. The purpose, as a matter of reality, is on the again of the case, that little piece of plastic that slides out that I’ll in all probability find yourself dropping inside the first 5 days of proudly owning the telephone.

Or extra exactly, the purpose is what slots into that spot: a battery pack, a selfie stick, a storage-extending dongle, Bluetooth audio system. The sky’s the restrict, actually, and Otterbox is popping out of the gate with a powerful set of equipment for the iPhone/iPhone Plus case helped alongside by some excessive-profile partnerships. Polar has created the lion’s share of the plug-ins right here, however different companions embrace a card reader from Sq., Olloclip’s 4 in a single lens Inflow’s WiFi booster and Search Thermal’s thermal imaging digital camera.

Otterbox’s new case offers a battery, speakers, Square reader and other swappable functionality

The case begins at $50 and the equipment actually run the gamut, from a $20 cellular pockets to the 128GB model of SanDisk’s iXpand Flash Drive, which runs $one hundred twenty (the identical MSRP because the standalone model).

The uniVERSE isn’t the primary modular smartphone case we’ve seen. Actually, Olloclip launched its personal tackle the area, final yr. However Otterbox’s case-making know-how and its willingness to work immediately with quite a few different corporations has resulted in a reasonably compelling product. It’s not good – the battery pack is awkwardly formed and the audio system don’t sound nice, however the entire system slots collectively properly, and there’s one thing to be stated for not having to accept a one-trick case. In fact, as with all telephone case, there’s nonetheless a bit psychological arithmetic to be carried out close to whether or not the system is value your whereas.

Otterbox’s new case offers a battery, speakers, Square reader and other swappable functionality

For starters, how most of the totally different perform do you propose on utilizing frequently? I might definitely see myself utilizing the battery and, sometimes the speaker, although I want a standalone Bluetooth sound system. And within the case of quite a lot of the merchandise just like the iXpand Flash Drive, being constructed into the case doesn’t supply an enormous benefit over getting the product as a standalone.

Nonetheless, it’s a compelling product – and one that may solely grow to be extra in order extra companions and merchandise are introduced.