Lots of people take their phone out of the box the day they buy it and put it directly in a case. Not everyone thinks about covering the screen, mostly because folio covers tend to take away the benefits of always-on features like those found in the Galaxy S9. Samsung's own LED case tries to solve this by giving you a simple LED panel on the folio part of the case to deliver bits of information you would normally have on the display.
This isn't the first time Samsung has made an attempt at an LED folio, but the Galaxy S9 version is the first time this design has ever really been worth using.
Instead of using the light from the display to show you information, the Galaxy S9 LED case has its own LEDs built in to the folio. As soon as you snap the phone into the case, these LEDs light up a small part of the cover and show you the time. This same space lights up every time you close the case, revealing the same information. You can also tap the power button on the phone while the cover is closed and the LEDs will light up to show you a couple of different things.
When it is not showing you the time, the LED case offers some animations for a few different kinds of notifications. Charging the phone will reveal a lit up battery, you'll see a ringing phone when there's an incoming call, and a simple alarm clock appears when an alarm goes off on your phone.
All of these things are designed to make part of a notification visible to you at a glance, so you can decide if it is worth opening the cover to see the full notification. In this updated version of the case, Samsung offers some small color customization, instead of the default white used for everything out of the box. The white is easily the most visible though, so it's what I stick with.
The most useful thing the LED part of this case offers is interactive buttons for media controls. When playing music, you'll see skip and pause buttons on the front of the case, and you can actually touch these areas to interact with your music. If your phone is sitting on your desk, a simple tap will give you basic controls, which is great. You don't get things like track titles or time remaining on a song due to the limitations of the display, but just having the panel be touch sensitive makes a big difference. In fact, it's one of the only times this part of the case responds to touch input, which is a shame. It would be super nice if I could touch the panel to wake it up, instead of needing to close the lid or press the power button.
The LED things are great, but this is also a decent case and folio. The folio section has a small slit for basic wallet functionality, and the case hugs the phone well and covers all of the important parts. This case comes in the three base colors the phone comes in, so you can get the color that matches your phone or mix it up a little. Unfortunately, there aren't any mixed colors or patterns like Samsung did with its Hyperknit case, which would have been really cool.
If you want something a little more functional than your average case, you're going to pay for it. Samsung offers this case for $50, which is far from cheap when you consider the cost of the other cases you can get for this phone. When you consider the value of accessing information from your phone without having to pick it up or open a cover, that functionality is worth it to a lot of people.
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