A Case to End All Cases
To start things off, I am not a case person. Cases tend to mar the beauty of what the manufacturer envisioned their device to look like and I didn’t buy it because based solely on it being beautiful on the inside. I love every little detail of this phone; I love the feeling of the metal sliding against my fingertips and I love fiddling with the kickstand when I’m bored. So when I was offered the chance to do a review for a set of cases by Seidio, I was a bit precarious about taking on such a job and especially since the first case I had purchased for it had left me a bit scarred from the experience. Needless to say, the experience wasn’t too bad off.
So I started this little party off with the most appealing of the bunch and the easiest to get out of the packaging: The Seidio Active. This case alarmed me at first because it appeared a bit bulky for my tastes but please note, I had been used to using a Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch (I hate that name) case-less since launch day and the same can be said of my even thinner, HTC Evo 4G LTE. Surprisingly, I wound up taking quite the liking to this case; kickstand and all.
The case has two parts to it: The silicone inner coating that surrounds the phone and a hard plastic shell that surrounds the first part. Since this case surrounds the entirety of the phone and blocks off the Evo’s amazing, built-in kickstand; this case supplies one of its own. This kickstand isn’t quite as sturdy or effective as the Evo’s but it gets the job done nonetheless. The build of the kickstand reminds me somewhat of the one on the original Evo along with the placement except instead of a spring holding it in, it’s magnetically held in when not in use. It’s easy to pop out and back in whenever it’s needed, which is pretty convenient. As a quick note though, unlike the Evo’s, this Active’s kickstand isn’t capable of standing the phone up when it is charging. It doesn’t snap out and stay in place quite the same way; it’s held out simply by a very weak spring.
As I already brought up, I found this case to be a little bulky at first but with time, took a liking to it. It makes the Evo feel solid in hand and as though if it were ever dropped, it would be okay. As a matter of fact, while on vacation the a couple weeks ago, I just so happened to do such an idiotic thing and dropped my phone from about 4 feet off the ground to hard concrete on the very corner of it. I was a little worried but after picking it up and a closer inspection, my phone took no damage although the case did take a little nick to it. Needless to say, I was extremely grateful for this case at that time and continue to use it on a day-to-day basis.
This case was an interesting case: Slim, smooth, allowed access to the kickstand and it was a pretty easy set-up. I loved it all, or at least, I loved the idea of it. The problem came about in actual day-to-day use where it held me back from easily accessing a lot of my phone’s features. The flaps over the buttons were extremely stiff to the point that the two-stage camera button was deemed useless to me and powering on and off the device took more effort than I was willing to give it.
The case, like the previous one, had two parts to it but this time it was just a top and bottom half. You slide the phone into the top half and then slide the bottom half on until the met and that’s it. Now taking it off, on the other hand, isn’t as simple. There’s this little notch on the back that you have to push down in order to pull the pieces apart but the thing is, this case rides tight on the Evo meaning pushing it down can feel like you’re pushing hard on the back of the phone and if you are any bit cautious as I am with my phones, you’d be worried about pushing too hard and screwing up the phone somehow (I’m paranoid, so sue me).
From a build point, I enjoyed the look and feel of it; from a usability standpoint, I greatly disliked it. With time, the button covers may loosen up but I only spent a few days using it at work and going out on the town so I’m not sure how loose they may get. All I know is right out the box, it isn’t something I can use as a daily driver but if you want a slim case with some light protection and can look past the buttons being a little tough to press, this is your case.
Seidio Surface Case with Convert Combo Rugged Add-On
Right off the bat, I found this add-on to be a bit intimidating due to the sheer size of it. This case is a behemoth of pure protection for those who live a heavy-duty life and need their lifeline to the outside world to be protected from even Death himself. It’s a case on a case so you can have protection for your protection and I must say, it keeps everything protected. The add-on keeps every port covered and filled in so it laughs in the face of water. The flaps cover: the camera and flash, the microUSB port, and the headphone jack but there is a tiny hole at the top to keep the secondary mic open to block out outside noise when in phone calls.
This case is, of course, an add-on to the Surface case I’ve already gone over so I still had some issues with the buttons but even more so because of the additional case covering them; I can actually see the muscles in my forearm flex when trying to press the power and volume buttons at this point. How it works is that like the Active case, there is a rubber case that goes around the Surface case and then there is a hard plastic shell that keeps it tight against it. Easy to put on, easy to take off (except for the actual surface case inside as I have already noted earlier). One big gripe I have with this case is that by adding a bit more heft to an already large phone, you would think they would throw in their own kickstand like on the Active but unfortunately, there wasn’t one to be found. If you bought this phone for the ability to stand it up wherever and whenever, you should probably be looking at the Active or just the Surface without this add-on.
Now, there are two other parts to this case; one of which I tried out and the other, I did not. The first being the holster. Due to how large the add-on made the phone, this holster isn’t tiny; not even a little. It takes up a bit of room on your belt and is only capable of rotating around 180 degrees from left to right (or back-to-front if it’s on your hip); so you can’t turn it upside down. Why would that be important? Because to have access to your headphone jack while in the holster, you need to slide your phone in upside down. So, as long as you have a long headphone cord or use bluetooth headphones, you should be set without a fret in the world. I personally, did not like the size of this holster but to each their own. The second part, of which I did not try out, was the static-cling screen protector. Looked nice, seemed simple, but I generally steer clear of applying anything to my screen if I can.
I love the idea of this case but due to the amount of bulk it adds on to the phone, this is a love it or hate it sort of deal and I can’t love it. I purchased this phone for the slim profile and usability so as much as I would like it protected, there is a limit to how protected I’m willing to go before giving up that sleek design and this case goes far past that line. This is something I would recommend to construction workers, those with hyperhidrosis, anyone who loves knowing their phone would damage concrete when dropped, and for people who would like to have their mind’s set as ease when taking their phone anywhere in the world. This case, with the holster and the screen protector, should be able to handle almost any type of damage one might throw at it (I wouldn’t recommend trying that though). So, if you’re willing to sacrifice ease of use with protection, this would be your case.
In the end, I’m going to have to give the edge to the Active as my case of choice but that’s because it fits my lifestyle and my personal preference. All three of these options are great means to keeping your newly purchased Evo well-protected but when it comes down to it, it really depends on what you’re looking for. If you want something slim with minimal protection, grab a Seidio Surface. If you would like something with a bit more to it without adding too much more heft, grab a Seidio Active. If you would like your phone to have its own personal bomb shelter, grab the Convert Combo with the Surface and go scavenge the wasteland for some more bottle caps. If you’d like to pick up your own today, product links are below. Otherwise, give them a shot and enjoy.