OtterBox 1920 Palm Treo Case Review

During my review of The OtterBox for iPod nano 1st Generation Case, I called it armor for your iPod. Today I will be looking at the OtterBox 1920 Palm Treo Case which can only be described as Kevlar for your PDA Smartphone. I have used many different cases for my phones and gadgets, but this one is the most durable one I have encountered. Lets get started and look at the features of this industrial strength case.

OtterBox 1920 Palm Treo Case

By Tomas Ratas

Sponsor: OtterBox


Tech Specs,Features or the Basic Info:

OtterBox 1920 Palm Treo Case

Features of 1920 Case:

  • – Accommodates Palm Treo 650 and 700 series models.
  • – Polycarbonate/ABS shell for maximum strength and rugged durability.
  • – Rubber over modeling for maximum grip.
  • – Sealed access to keypad, touch screen, volume and program buttons.
  • – Easy open top cap provides quick access to SD card slot.
  • – IR and antenna usable through case.
  • – Headphone, sync and charge connectors accessible through case.
  • – Rigid screen cover protects LCD and flips up for access to flexible, interactive touch screen.
  • – External stylus holder.
  • – Compound latch for easy opening and secure closing of case.

Environment Protection:

Drop and Shock: – MIL-STD 810F, method 516.5, Procedure 4, (transit drop).

Water Protection: – MIL-STD 810F, method 512.4, Procedure 1, (heavy rain).

Dust Protection: – MIL-STD 810F, method 510.4, Procedure 1, (blowing dust).

Dimensions (Case Only):

– 5.16 in (131 mm) long (not including antenna).

– 5.65 in (144 mm) long (including antenna).

  • 3.0 in (76 mm) wide

  • 1.71 in (43 mm) thick (not including latch).

  • 1.96 in (50 mm) thick (including latch).

A Better Look at Things

The OtterBox 1920 Palm Treo Case arrived in a white card board box with a sticker affixed to the front indicating the case model. Inside the box, you will find the OtterBox 1920 Palm Treo Case, an instruction sheet and a small catalog booklet for the latest OtterBox line of products.

The case itself is impressive. Its appearance is reminiscent to the design style of a Hummer SUV. The case is composed of a Polycarbonate/ABS shell with rubberized grips on the sides and on the back. There is little chance of this case slipping out of ones hands.

On the rights side of the case, there is an external stylus holder. The left side features elevated rubberized buttons for the volume and mute controls.


The Treos screen is protected by a rigid plastic screen cover, which flips up to access the touch screen. A clear rubber membrane protects the LCD. This hermetically seals the Treo inside the OtterBox case for maximal protection.


Below the protective screen is a set of eleven buttons that correspond to the send, power, phone, calendar, messaging and applications buttons and the 5-way navigator control. Found below these keys is a rubberized QWERTY keyboard.

On the rear of the case, there is a compound latch for easy opening and secure closing of case. The Treos camera is protected by a circular opening covered with clear plastic.


The bottom of the case has a rubberized panel, which can be flipped down to access the earphone jack, the sync connector and the power input. This panel is attached to the bottom of the case and can be removed and easily replaced by snapping the rubberize attachment from it T shaped insert.


Installation, Testing and Comparison

Like the OtterBox case for the iPod, installation is a simple. From the back of the case, lift up on the latch, then detach the lower half of the case. Next slide the Treo into the upper half of the case until the camera window is lined up. Finally, replace the lower half of the case and hook the top part of the latch into the clear latch indentation and lower the bottom part of the latch closed.


The Treo lines of PDA phones are not small by any means, but placing it in the OtterBox makes this phone even bulkier. When in the 1920 case, the unit is reminiscent of the Tricorders used on the original Star Trek series. Captain I am getting some unusual readings.

The plastic protective screen flips into place and locks down with a palpable click. It will not open accidentally and provides am outer shield for your LCD. Underneath the flip-up screen cover, there is a rubber membrane for the touch screen. I found that the membrane did affect the accuracy of the stylus in the lower parts of the screen. This may have also been affected by the Boxwave ClearTouch screen protector that is applied to my Treo 700Ps screen.

The QWERTY keyboard works wonderfully and has a better feel than the the Treos natural keyboard thanks to the rubberized keys. One of the nice things about this case is it is designed so it can be used by, the Treo 650, 700P or 700W. Since these models have slightly different key labels and layouts, the 1920 keeps the top rows of buttons unlabeled except for the green and red phone buttons.

The top left and right buttons corresponding to the green and red buttons on the Treo 700P, were the most problematic. Because they are so closely spaced to the messaging and applications buttons, invariably when you hit the upper buttons you would activate the lower ones also. For instance, every time I tried to power up my phone, I would open my email client because the email button was also being pressed. Only if I carefully hit the button with the edge of my nail, would I power the phone without going into the email client. This was quite frustrating at times while driving.

The slide control buttons worked perfectly controlling the volume and customize buttons.

Using the phone with the OtterBox 1920 case does affect the volume of the phone. The rings and conversations are noticeably muted compared to when the phone is outside of the case. This problem is not inherent to the OtterBox, but to any type of sealed enclosure for a phone.

The Bluetooth and Infrared capabilities are not impaired by the clear plastic cover. Pictures taken by the built in camera are not affected by the clear lens on the 1920 case. The first picture is with the naked Treo 700P and the second is with the 1920 case in place. Not a huge noticeable difference.


Charging and syncing the phone does not require the removal of the phone from the case. Pulling down the rubberized door at the bottom allows access to the charging, syncing and audio inputs.

Accessing the SD card and the ringer control switch was a bit problematic. The OtterBox website does lists: Easy open top cap provides quick access to SD card slot. However, the latch from the back hooks into part of the clear plastic cap, so to access it, one needs to remove the back cover and then flip off the cap. In the end, it seems easier to just pull out the phone to access the top and then replace it.

Testing the OtterBox 1920 Palm Treo Cases durability involved dropping the case and phone (gulp), from a height of five feet onto various surfaces including wood, concrete and carpet. Unless you are climbing ladders for a living, I believe that five feet is the highest altitude the phone will be located.

(Editor’s Note: OtterBox has mentioned to me that the actual rated drop is three feet for this case -KB)

First I dropped the phone and case onto the carpeted floor of my basement. Other than a muffled thud, both were no worse for wear. Next, I took the phone and knocked it off my kitchen counter onto the wood floor. Once again, there was a louder thud, but no damage. Finally, I took the case and phone outside and proceeded to drop it onto the concrete. The case was scuffed on the bottom edge but no damage to the phone. Mission accomplished. The phone was protected as advertised.

The OtterBox 1920 Case is listed as being water resistant, but not water proof. The website mentions, if the case and phone do fall into the water, they will float, so if it does come to that extreme situation, there is still time to save your phone from harm. To test the water resistant claims of OtterBox, I decided to put a piece of tissue paper in the Treo 1920 case and then place it in a sink full of water.



Happily, I can report that the tissue was bone dry after spending five minutes floating in the sink. I then took my Treo and case and ran it under the spray of the shower. Once again the phone was totally dry. OtterBox comes through once again.

Summary and Comments:

The OtterBox 1920 Palm Treo Case is the ultimate case to protect your smart phone! It can withstand the elements, and most any hazard that you encounter. This case is by far the best Treo case I have encountered in terms of protection. If you work in an environment where your phone is at risk for dust, dirt, water and sudden impacts, this is the case for you.

I did find for the price, it was strange not to include the belt clip, since most people would want to wear this on a belt, since it is cumbersome to carry in a pocket or elsewhere.


DragonSteelMods gives the OtterBox 1920 Treo Case a 4 out of 5 score.



  • +Built like a Sherman Tank
  • +Can withstand pretty much any trauma or hazard
  • +Water Resistant
  • +Total protection for the Treo
  • +Fits multiple Treo models


  • – Very Bulky
  • – Belt Clip not included
  • – Difficult access to SD card slot
  • – Sound quality affected by case
  • – Expensive