I’ve been using an Otterbox Commuter case for a while and I bought it because I heard good things about it. Unfortunately the two that I’ve had didn’t fit my phone properly and I couldn’t be bothered to constantly get replacements. I assume Otterbox has fixed this, but I’ve moved on.
For some reason, the rubber casing of the Otterbox would expand, leaving a gap at either the top or bottom of the phone. This was bad for two reasons. The first, it makes the rubber part, which is supposed to absorb the shock from falls pointless (almost) and second, it’s annoying to press the power button sometimes. The reason I mention this is because the Seido Surface Case doesn’t come with a rubber case, just the hard plastic shell. This means that it’s mostly going to protect the phone from dirt and dust, but offer little protection from fall damage. I’m okay with this since I tend to treat my phone like it’s my baby (no, I didn’t put it in a blender). Upon taking my phone out of the old Otterbox case, it seemed to be full of crumbs anyway… I guess you could say I replaced it because it was… Crummy -_-
Another thing the Surface case didn’t come with is a screen protector. I kept the original screen protector that came with the Otterbox though. It’s just an invisible/clear shield, which can be bought for cheap anyway. Whilst we’re talking about cheap, I got mine for only $27 from Amazon. I think the Otterbox is a little bit more, but they’re the same retail price on their respective web sites. I actually got the Surface case with the kickstand, which is nice to have. My only issue with it, is that it makes a loud “snap” sound whenever you open and close the kick stand. The first time I opened it, I thought I had broken it already! It seems to work fine for portrait as well as landscape too.
The hard plastic case is easy to put on. It comes in two parts and seems very solid. On the Otterbox, the mini USB port thingy, volume, power button and camera button were covered by the rubber case. This is not the case (no pun intended…) with the Seido Surface. It’s no big deal to me, I never had any problems with my previous phone, which I never even bought a case for. In fact, it makes the camera button much easier to press, which I like (still my favorite camera button on a phone ever).
Finally I want to say that the Otterbox was designed in such a way, that if you placed the phone on a table (or other flat surface) the rubber casing would be lifted slightly so that the screen doesn’t actually touch the surface. The Seido Surface doesn’t have this. Not really a big issue, I mean I don’t intend to place my phone, screen side down on anything, but it’s nice to have. Overall I think the Surface somehow feels slightly heavier than the Otterbox too. Again, not a big deal for me.
In conclusion, the Surface mostly protects the phone from dirt and dust, but didn’t come with any screen protection. I also wish it had a rubber case too to further protect against fall damage. A somewhat redeeming feature, and the only reason why I don’t dislike this case, is the kickstand on the back – I like having this. I could tell you to save some money and get the one without the kickstand, but what would be the point? Assuming Otterbox fixed the rubber case issues with the Commuter case, I’d recommend that over the Seido as far as features go. If you’re looking for better protection, the Otterbox, on paper seems like the better choice (again, assuming the rubber case fits), but for cheap protection against dirt, the Seido is probably the better choice.
Having said that, I’d still shop for alternatives to both. Specifically for cases that have a rubber casing, if fall damage is your primary concern.