OtterBox Moto Z Commuter Series review: Solid protection for your phone

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Smartphone cases are a dime a dozen these days, and like most things you usually get what you pay for. When it comes to protecting your smartphone, like the Moto Z, you definitely don’t want to cheap out on a case. Our OtterBox Moto Z Commuter Series Case review takes a look at one of OtterBox’s offerings for Motorola’s latest smartphone.


The OtterBox Moto Z Commuter Series Case has the following features and specifications:

  • Slim design: sleek profile easily slips into pockets and purses
  • Dual-layer: soft inner and hard outer layers absorb and deflect impacts
  • Port covers: block out dust, dirt and pocket lint
  • OtterBox Certified Drop+ Protection
  • Synthetic rubber slipcover
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • 1 year warranty

What’s in the Box

  • 1x inner slipcover
  • 1x polycarbonate outer shell


I used to use OtterBox cases way back when with my Samsung Galaxy S Skyrocket II, and the design doesn’t seem to have changed too much since then — which is not a bad thing. The OtterBox Commuter Series Case for the Moto Z comes with two layers: a soft inner slip cover and a polycarbonate outer shell. The inner slipcover covers the power and volume buttons on the side of your phone and also has a port cover for the bottom USB Type-C port.

The OtterBox Commuter Series Case comes with an inner and outer layer.

The outer shell clips on over the inner slipcover on the top and bottom of the phone, as well as along the lower two-thirds of each side. The cutouts in both layers align nicely with the camera, mic, and USB Type-C port on the bottom, and the case fits snugly against the phone. The outer shell has a slight texture to it with some smooth highlights and the OtterBox logo on the bottom. Even with the textured surface though, it does feel a bit slippery when holding it and slides fairly easily across a desk or table with minimal effort.

OtterBox Commuter Series Case for the Moto Z side view.

The major issue with this case and the Moto Z though, and I’m certain that the same issue will be present for the majority of the Moto Z cases out there, is that you cannot use the Moto Mods with the case on. If you want to quickly slap on the Hasselblad True Zoom, Incipio offGRID Power Pack, or other Moto Mod, you’ll have to remove the case completely first. I’d seriously love it if someone came out with a case that would allow you to easily swap out the back for your Moto Mods as it definitely is one of the key selling points of the Moto Z.

The case does add a bit of thickness to the incredibly thin Moto Z, but I actually didn’t mind the extra thickness as it gave the phone a bit more heft.

The case definitely adds a bit of thickness to the ultra-thin Moto Z.


Installation of the OtterBox Commuter Series Case is pretty simple. Slide the soft inner slipcover layer over your Moto Z. Next, slide the hard polycarbonate outer shell over top and snap it into place. I did find the case to be a bit finicky to install around the port cover for the USB Type-C port and found the best way to install the outer shell was to pull the port cover tab through the hole in the outer shell and snapping it in place from the bottom of the Moto Z up.

Installation is fairly easy and the case is snug on the Moto Z.


According to their website, OtterBox runs 24+ tests and 238+ hours of testing on their cases to maximize fall protection. I’m not one to toss my phone around to test this out, but the case definitely feels solid and the tight fit alongside the lip over the front screen gave me confidence that my phone would be well protected. I mentioned previously that I’ve used OtterBox Commuter Series cases on other phones, and they definitely held up to accidental drops and bangs on those devices.

The hard outer shell coupled with the soft inner slipcover should protect your phone from bumps and minor falls.

While the port cover for the USB Type-C port is a nice feature, it prevented me from being able to use my USB-C docking stand with the case but that will definitely be a preference issue.

The OtterBox Commuter Series Case includes a USB Type-C port cover.


With an MSRP of $34.99USD, the OtterBox Commuter Series Case for the Moto Z offers fantastic protection for the price.


If you’re looking for a solid case that will protect your Moto Z from drops and bumps without adding too much bulk, the OtterBox Commuter Series Case should fill your need. If you use your Moto Mods a lot though, you’re probably going to want to look for a different solution.

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*We were sent a sample of the OtterBox Commuter Series Case for the purposes of this review.

Last Updated on December 3, 2016.


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