Otterbox Heavy Armor 2000 Dry Box PDA Case Review

Product Requirements:
Cases are made to specifically fit the following
PDAs: iPAQ 3100/3600/3700/3800 series, Palm m500 and V series, Palm III/IIIc
series, Casio E-125, Visor Edge and Visor Deluxe

If you spend more time in the great outdoors than you do behind an office
desk – yet you still need to have access to your PDA, then you have entered into
an area that calls for specialized equipment.

For some, a non-padded product like the Aquapak
that I reviewed last year might do the trick. Then there are those that work in
environments that are so extreme that adjectives such as crushproof,
water-resistant, airtight, and shock resistant are necessary when describing
their perfect PDA case. I am not talking about those of you that every once in a
while will go where it’s dirty or rainy – I am talking about those of you that
are boat captains, ranchers, dock workers, rock climbers, etc. etc…

Up until now, such a PDA user’s options were slim; but with the introduction
of the Otterbox Heavy
Armor 2000 Dry Box
PDA Case, that is no longer the situation. There are
Otterboxes for the iPAQ 3100/3600/3700/3800 series, Palm m500 and V series, Palm
III/IIIc series, Casio E-125, Visor Edge and the Visor Deluxe. I was presented
with a box specifically for the iPAQ. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it
was a gorgeous shade of green – massive points for Otterbox! With a little bit
of lining up, I was able to get the iPAQ’s buttons to fit in the Otterbox’s
screen cover’s button forms.


The Armor by Otterbox is made of ABS plastic and polycarbonate that has been
reinforced with fiberglass. A plastic piano hinge with a metal rod runs down the
left side of the case, and on the right are two heavy-duty plastic clamps.

The back of the case has a removable and adjustable neoprene and Velcro hand
strap. You can even use this strap with gloves on, it is that adjustable. For my
use, gloves aren’t necessary – but I like the sense of security that the wide
strap provides me with.

It’s not necessary to remove your PDA from the case when you
are ready to write something on its screen, because of the recessed plastic
screen cover that allows you to write directly to your PDA’s touch-screen.
While this method works, you do (of course) lose some of your touch-screen’s
sensitivity. However, if you need to use your PDA in a gale-force hurricane,
you should expect to trade something for that privilege.

From what I can tell, the depressions in the screen cover may be what
determines which PDA will fit in each case. This is fine for the larger
PDAs, but I wonder about the additional bulk this will add to a smaller PDA,
such as a Palm m500.

The screen cover looks like it might be replaceable as it is not permanently
attached to the case. In these pictures, you can see that it is held in place
with a replaceable silicon and Buna gasket that fits into its molded edge –
locking it into the lid’s molded gasket.

Even though Otterbox calls the case waterproof, you are not supposed to
actually use it underwater. In my book, that makes the Otterbox
not waterproof – which is still a good thing – just
not the same thing.

In any case, we’ll see just how water resistant the Otterbox is in just a
little bit…

If you are wondering how you are supposed to write on the
screen when your stylus is locked inside the Otterbox with your PDA, there
is an integrated rubber stylus holder on the outside. Personally, I didn’t
like keeping a stylus there as it seemed rather easy to knock off.

Instead, I used a pocketable multi-pen. The option is there for you if you
would like to use it, though.


The Otterbox is quite a bit bigger than the naked iPAQ. In fact, you will
need to use the blank sleeve, a silver slider, or a CF sleeve in order to keep
your iPAQ from sliding around in the case. I would actually recommend adding a
little bit of padding to the top and bottom area, too. By the way, a PCMCIA
sleeve makes the iPAQ too large, and the Otterbox will not close with one
inside. Obviously the dual PCMCIA sleeve will not work, either.

Although there is a clear spot in the general vicinity of
the Infrared port, it doesn’t really line up well enough with the iPAQ to be
useful, so that was another reason I went ahead and added the padding.
For this review, I used the CF sleeve and surrounded the
iPAQ with cotton balls…

As you can imagine, the Otterbox will add quite a bit of bulk to your PDA.
Here are the measurements for this case:

  Height Width Thickness Weight
Naked iPAQ 5.1" (13cm) 3.1" (7.9cm) 0.6" (1.6cm) 6.4 oz (183g)
iPAQ in Otterbox Heavy Armor
(with necessary CF Sleeve)
6.8" (17.1cm) 4.6" (11.7cm) 1.8" (4.6cm) 1.2 lb. (509g)

Okay – that was your overview of the case – now let’s see if the Otterbox
Armor can actually live up to some of its claims!


As of this morning, I weighed 140. I placed my iPAQ 3670
inside the Otterbox, and as you can see in this photo I stood on the case.
What you can’t see is that I rocked back and forth.

My iPAQ survived the ordeal unscathed, so that gives you an idea of how tough
this sucker is.

Water Resistant

I placed my iPAQ in the Otterbox, and put it under the
faucet in my kitchen with the water on full blast…

Once again, my iPAQ lived to tell about the experience!

See above…


Yep, your PDA will float in this case…

After all of the water abuse I dealt it, my iPAQ remained bone dry. YAY! :0D

Shock Resistant
I dropped my iPAQ from a height of 5 feet…I guess the neoprene liner in the
back of the case really was enough to protect it from blowing up.

Outdoor Use
As evidenced by the Otterbox’s water resistance, there
should be no problem keeping out dirt, water, humidity, or snow.  If you
are really planning on going out into a hurricane with your PDA, and you are
feeling a bit paranoid, you can even attach a tether or lanyard to the Otterbox
through the provided holes.

Do I recommend this case for the average weekend warrior? Certainly not!
Other than the obvious difficulties of writing through a sheet of plastic, and
the fact that the case seems to be a bit too big to perfectly fit the PDA it is
designed for, this case is simply so hefty that you wouldn’t want to carry it –
unless you really needed it. But, if you really need it, the Otterbox can not be

You can order the Otterbox
Heavy Armor 2000 Dry Box
PDA Case directly from the manufacturer, or from
other retailers.

Price: $49.95
Available to fit the following specific PDAs: iPAQ 3100/3600/3700/3800 series,
Palm m500 and V series, Palm III/IIIc series, Casio E-125, Visor Edge and Visor
Comes with a
Lifetime Guarantee – "Otter Box will replace the case for any reason at anytime
if the product fails
Available in Midnight Black, Fluorescent Yellow, Forest Green and Sky Blue.


Ultimate protection for your PDA


Case is too big for PDA, may wish to add insulation to keep it from moving
Infrared port cutout in case does not line up with PDA’s Infrared port
Must use a sleeve with case, but PCMCIA sleeve is too big

4 thoughts on “Otterbox Heavy Armor 2000 Dry Box PDA Case Review”

  1. you, Judie. 😮

    Paypal says they are a “worldwide” service, yet they NEVER confirm the ship-to address of foreign buyers (I’m in the US). Just read their fine print. And, as stated in their fine print, if the buyer’s ship-to address is not confirmed, we sellers are at risk (not Paypal) — that the buyer has used a fraudulent credit card, or other means to make the purchase. (I can’t believe Paypal actually takes the money back!) What other financial intermediary would do this AND charge you a fee?

    (For the record, I lost money on a sale to a European buyer because of Paypal’s bogus “international service”. I couldn’t get a confirmed ship-to.) on the other hand will take this risk themselves. They mail you a perfectly good money order after THEY check out the buyer — usually in a matter of minutes. This is the reason for the fee. With Bidpay, sellers have no risk of a fraudulent buyer. This is the way it should work. Paypal has got us all brainwashed. (BTW, I don’t work for Bidpay. I’m just one of their happy customers.)


  2. Daniel,

    I am the first to admit that I fell into a comfort zone with PayPal. After over 175 transactions using it without a hitch, how could I not? But needless to say, this one bad experience has opened my eyes.

    I am interested in trying out the BidPay service that you mentioned. It appears that I would not be out any additional fees this way, which I definitely find attractive!

    I was interested in the fact that since I had already deposited the iPAQ money in my checking account, PayPal is now telling me that I have a negative balance. I half expected them to just reach into my checking account and take the money back – which hardly seems legal, but some of the horror stories I have heard recently led me to believe it could happen! Instead, they are keeping running negative balance which is dissapearing as I sell other items. I can live with this.

    We all live and learn, right?

    Judie :0)

  3. Originally posted by Judie

    I half expected them to just reach into my checking account and take the money back – which hardly seems legal, but some of the horror stories I have heard recently led me to believe it could happen! Instead, they are keeping running negative balance which is dissapearing as I sell other items. I can live with this.

    Can’t they, if they have your bank account ‘verified’? This is why I still have not verified. Also, I am not as forgiving as you — I would find no reason to use them if the next item I sold would go to pay Paypal for this ‘negative balance’, which should have been their responsibility in the first place. But they are now owned by eBay, aren’t they? So can one still use eBay if one has a long standing negative balance with Paypal?

    My trust of Paypal is very low right now. 😡

  4. I will keep you posted on what happens, but as of right now they have not taken any money out of my checking account. In fact, even though they say that having a negative balance is against their user agreement, it appears that the only thing that happens if you have one is limited PayPal usuage.

    What this means is if someone sends me money, it goes to the negative balance – not to me. If I try to buy something with PayPal, the price will most likely include my negative balance…inconvenient things like that.

    The fact of the matter is that I got my iPAQ back (thanks to Mary Ann and Harvey at FedEx Manila), so perhaps I am not as bitter about the whole experience as I might have been had PayPal taken back the money after I had lost my iPAQ. Make sense? I will use PayPal again, I will just be more careful. In the future, my auctions will include these lines…

    [b]I ship very promptly via UPS with insurance included and online tracking for your convenience. U.S. Only, please. I can only ship to your confirmed PayPal address. No exceptions. This is for your protection as well as mine.


    If you cannot comply with these terms, please be kind and do not bid. [/b]

    Hopefully this will help…

    Judie :0)

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