Hard cases

Hard-shell cases have become arguably the most popular solutions for protecting your smartphone. They offer decent protection from dents, dings and scratches while adding negligible heft and girth to your device. As the go-to choice, the market has become flooded with offerings from countless manufacturers, ranging from colorful and fashion-centric to the conservative and refined. Two great options for the Galaxy Nexus are from Mobi Products and Seidio. Both have great reputations for building quality products, but which of their basic hard-shell cases is the best solution to protect your Nexus?

 

Seidio’s Surface Case line is available for nearly every smartphone under the sun, and offers basic protection in a slim and light profile. It’s both flexible and sturdy, and features a felt  inner-lining to protect your device’s battery cover from plastic-induced scuffs. Where other cases seem either shiny or dull, the Surface Case strikes a balance with what Seidio calls a “soft-touch finish."

Mobi Products’ Hard Shell Case is similar in design but lacks some of the flash and detail that Seidio has included. You won’t find a soft-touch finish or a felt lining here: Mobi Product’s solution is a bare-bones alternative. It also lacks an opening for the Nexus' 3-pin dock connector which, depending on your setup, may be a deal breaker.  But with its lack of detail comes with a lower pricetag: at $20, it’s priced $10 less than its Seidio competitor.

 

Neither product can be faulted for adding heft to the Nexus’ slim profile. Both are built with sturdy precision and clean cut-outs for the phone’s ports. But unfortunately, both suffer from one major flaw: removability. Prying apart the front and back plates is at times impossible, and is regularly an exercise in patience. Quite frankly, there is no easy or safe way to go about it. Using a penny, pen, or pin to leverage pry the two pieces apart will undoubtedly result in bends, cracks, and even discoloration.  This difficulty could be considered a pro by some who don’t want the case to come apart upon a fall, a viewpoint that does carry some weight. But for those who carry a spare battery and need to swap out at least once a day, these cases can be downright aggravating. It should also be noted that after struggling numerous times, the plastic on both products loses its shape.

This issue may be a necessary trade off for protecting your phone from bumps and drops, but it is certainly something to keep in mind considering how often you swap batteries or SIM cards. Removability is such an issue that I had to cut my Mobi Product’s case off of my Nexus with a knife to reach my battery door. Yeah, it’s that bad.  If removability isn’t an issue for you, it’s hard to pick one over the other, as both look great and come with details appropriate to their price tag. However, if easy access to your battery door is a must, it might be best to stick with a soft case until both companies come up with a better system.