Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Review: Seidio Innocase II Surface for HTC Evo

Seidio is one of the leading 3rd party phone accessory companies catering to gadget freaks everywhere. From extra batteries and cables, to protective screen guards and cases. They were kind enough to send me an Innocase II Surface for my Evo to review, and I'm kinda glad they did.

Couldn't be easier. Slide on the top half, then slide on the bottom half. Boom. Done. I recommend cleaning the phone of dust/fibers/lint before installing, as sliding the parts on with anything abrasive caught inside could potentially scratch it.

The quality is great. The case is solid, with a good grip, and feels very sturdy. You certainly feel safer with this case on. After using it a few times during a call, I did notice a bit of creaking if I shifted the phone around in my hand. Nothing major or distracting, but thought I would mention it. This creaking is due to the fact that it is made of two separate peaces snapped together. There are tolerances involved, and even the tiniest gaps would cause some creaking. Is it a problem? No. On the plus side, I was informed by Seidio that they are now inspecting all cases thoroughly before they ship as a precaution to eliminate any possible defective cases. Can't ask for more than that.

A big plus is the inside felt lining, which helps prevent scratching and cushions the phone nicely. However, I wish it would span across the entire inside of the case. For some reason, it only covers the inner parts, leaving the edges unfelted.

There's nothing like using your phone in its natural state, unencumbered by anything that adds size or weight. That being said, the Innocase II Surface adds just enough to protect the phone from scratches or minor drops, but not enough to make a huge difference in size. I'm not saying it's not noticeable...you will certainly know you are using a case...but the trade off is only minor for the feeling of safety you will gain from keeping it on.

To put it in perspective, I originally bought the HTC Messenger Vertical Pouch from HTCPedia since I wanted to use my Evo bare. And that pouch is quite nice. What I didn't forsee was how big that pouch was in my pocket. It was significantly larger than the bare phone. The Innocase, however, is MUCH smaller in my pocket...almost as comfortable as the bare phone. Almost.

Removing the Case
At first, I was having trouble removing the phone from the case. The two pieces interlocked and it seemed extremely challenging to try to remove it. The instructions that came with it said to hold the top half and wiggle the bottom half. Well that just didn't work for me. A successful method I came up with was to use a guitar pick to slide into the crease between the two halves...but that was not practical, and it was still a little difficult to get it right.

I finally saw a post on an Android forum that mentioned pressing down on the middle part of the bottom half, then sliding the top right off. Brilliant. Basically, the bottom half contains a little plastic clip that grabs on to the top half. By pressing down on that spot, the clip loosens and the top slides right off. Watch the video to see how it's done. Very easy.

Seidio tells me they have listened to the feedback of their customers and have included a better install/remove instruction sheet for the case. That's good, because what they suggested in the original instructions was near impossible to get to work. Hopefully, the new instructions will mirror what I have suggested :-)

Generally, the case is a matte color, so you would think it doesn't pick up too many fingerprints or smudges. It certainly picks up less than the screen, but it does pick up some. You can see it a bit in my video. Now I don't know if my fingers are greasier than most, but they certainly do leave prints all over my phone, bare or in this case. It's less on the case, but they still show up. I'm not overly concerned here, however. The prints wipe off easily, especially with a moist towel (with the case off, please...don't "wash" your case while the phone is still in it!)

Overall, I give the Seidio Innocase II Surface a solid 8 out of 10. It's size is great, and it provides great protection, while managing to stay stylish in the process. I got the black one, but Seidio offers them in blue, pink, burgundy, and more...a nice touch. I wish it didn't pick up my fingerprints so readily, and the slight creaking when squeezing your phone a bit are really the only two minor issues I had with this case. For now, this is my main case (along with a Seidio Ultimate Screen Guard - review to come). My leather messenger pouch is good for when I need to pack my phone in my gym bag, for example, since it will offer a bit more protection as it fully covers the screen, but for day to day use, I highly recommend the Seidio Innocase II Surface.

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