Cases for our beloved smartphones are a way to personalize our mass-produced device, and there are a variety of them available. Slider phones, like the T-Mobile G1, present a challenge to case-makers to make a case that protects the phone but still provides unfettered functionality of the slide-out keyboard. Mobi Products Skin Case for the T-Mobile G1, available here in the Android Central Store for $14.95, is a Silicone "skin" case that can help you personalize your G1 while protecting it at the same time. It accommodates the G1's slide-out keyboard and is available in four colors: black, blue, red and pink. I selected the black case for this review and you can see what I think of this case after the break!

Case Design

The are four reasons I can think of to use a skin case for your smartphone: 1) protect your phone from bumps and scratches; 2) add as little bulk to the phone as possible while still protecting it; 3) more grip in your hand and when resting on other surfaces; and 4) add some color and style to your phone. Given that the G1 has a slide-out keyboard, Mobi Products has taken on the challenge to design a thin Silicone case that still allows the slider to slide.

The Mobi Skin case is made of thin Silicone with an anti-dust coating. There are cutouts for access to the trackball on the front, the charging/syncing port on the bottom, the mic, the camera lens and speaker on the back, and the screen and slide-out keyboard are fully accessible.

There is also a cutaway for access to the memory card door, a compromise that provides much easier access to the memory card slot but, in my opinion, compromises the fit of the case in a slightly irritating way. By leaving a gap for the memory card door, the flap of Silicone covering the bottom of the G1 peels back too easily for my liking. I would have preferred a complete covering on the left, over the door, identical to the right side. This would be better for me because I don't ever access the memory card - I just slap a high-capacity card in and forget about it. Others who may swap cards all the time will likely not be bothered by this cutout. The pictures I have included give the case a silvery look due to camera flash, but in fact the case is very black.

Instead of cutouts for the buttons and volume rocker, Mobi has designed generously-raised surfaces to easily press the buttons and adjust the volume. I think they did a great job with this and is one thing I really like about the case.

The way Mobi handled the slide-out keyboard is creative. In order to secure the case to the top of the phone and still allow unfettered sliding, Mobi implemented a very thin band of material that still fits under the sliding mechanism.

Usability

The Mobi Skin case for G1 has a soft satin feel, likely due the the anti-dust component applied to the case. It still has a grippy feel in the hand, making it easier to keep hold of your G1 and help prevent accidental drops. The material of the case is thin and flexible, adding minimal bulk to your smartphone. The case must be applied a bit carefully and delicately on the top of the phone where the thin strap of material is positioned under the sliding screen. 

Using my G1 is easy with the Mobi case on. The raised buttons are excellent and the trackball functions flawlessly. I was concerned that the case might shift around a little bit when working the slider, but if used normally, the slider does not affect the case at all.  Again, my only gripe is the less-secured flap of material at the bottom left where the material is cut away to give access to the memory card door. If this cutout was eliminated, I could give this case the highest marks.

Conclusion

Given the design of the G1, it's a challenge to create a case that protects and allows full functionality, and I think Mobi did a nice job here with a case that accommodates full function of the slider while still offering the G1 some protection, grippiness, and accessibility to all buttons and trackball. For the price, it's a very good case for your G1 and with four color options you can add some pizazz.

Pros

  • Full access to buttons, trackball, camera and slider
  • Adds grippiness, yet still a soft touch
  • Anti-dust coating
  • Four different colors

Cons

  • Cutaway for memory card door compromises secure fit on bottom

Android Central Rating: 4/5

 

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Review: Mobi Products Skin Case for G1

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