Case reviews – A comparison study

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to review six different cases for the Nexus 7, I just wanted to give some brief thoughts about each case.  I will link to each of the reviews here on my blog.

NOTE: This entry was originally written in January 2013. I am just now getting around to posting this. 🙂

ASUS Travel Cover for the Nexus 7

This case is the official case, manufactured by ASUS for the Nexus 7. It is a very slim and lightweight case. It does not add any bulk to the tablet.  I recommend reading my full review.  There isn’t much else for me to say that I didn’t say in the full review. Unlike all the other cases that I have reviewed, this case I paid for myself. The other cases have been furnished to me by the manufacturer for the purpose of review. As soon as I received another case, I took the ASUS Travel Cover off the Nexus 7 and it just sits on a shelf. In my opinion, there are far better cases available and I urge you to save your $20 for something else.

Caseen DESIGNO

The Caseen DESIGNO is a very nice portfolio style case. I like to keep my devices in the case and very seldom remove it, but you can easily slide the Nexus 7 in and out of the case. The DESIGNO unfortunately, was not designed very well for the Nexus 7. Except for a cutout for the camera, the bezel is covered completely. It is very difficult to access the “swipe” areas for the “Notification Shade” and Google Now.  Trying to stand the case up for viewing in “tent mode” is not very stable and makes me very nervous. The case with the Nexus 7 in “tent mode” falls over very easily. I really like the Caseen, however these drawbacks outweigh the good points to make this my case of choice for the Nexus 7.

INCIPIO Feather Ultralight Hard Shell Case

As the title says, this is a hard shell case for the Nexus 7.  The Nexus 7 just snaps into the hard shell case and it just protects the back of the tablet. A screen protector was included in the package, but I’m not planning on putting a screen protector on my tablet. There is also some side protection, but I don’t think I would trust it if the Nexus 7 takes a tumble. I desire a full protective case for my Nexus 7. If hardback shell protection works for you, then go for the Ultralight. I’m sticking with a full case.  I was hoping to be able to secure a review unit of the KICKSTAND from Incipio, but I haven’t been able to get a response to my inquiries from Incipio.

BLUREX Ultra Slim Portfolio Case

If you’re looking for a very basic, non-frills case for your Nexus 7, then the Blurex Ultraslim is the case for you.  I feel that this case is very suitable for someone looking for a case like the ASUS Travel Cover (the official OEM case for the Nexus 7).  This does not add bulk to your Nexus 7. It is still slim enough to fit into your back jeans pocket and it adds features such as a viewing/typing stand, wake/sleep function, a clasp to secure the cover closed, and even has a hand strap for holding the case and tablet in portrait orientation.

I am going to stop here and just mention that both the Blurex Ultra Slim and the Caseen DESIGNO appear to have many “copies” out there.  If you look on eBay and Amazon, there are many duplicates to the style and design to cases by Blurex and Caseen.  I am not privy to trade secrets, licensing deals, etc. Since I don’t know the agreements these companies may or may not have, I am not going to get into a discussion in that regards. I am just mentioning this to make you aware that there are other case manufacturers that do have cases on the market that are very similar (or in some cases, exact duplicates) to cases by Blurex and Caseen.

Speck Products FitFolio

After the FitFolio was released, the chatter about this case on the Android/Nexus discussion forums I frequent really got kicked up a notch. After I received my FitFolio, I immediately saw why.

The FitFolio is a slim case with a hardback shell.  Read a few paragraphs north what I wrote about the Incipio Ultralight and it’s very clear that this case is the one I was looking for.  I like it so much better than the Blurex.  It’s slim, so it doesn’t add bulk and it has the protection of the hardback case.  I really like the clasp that holds the cover closed. It is very easy to secure.  Also, the FitFolio does not require you to take part of the Nexus 7 out of the case in order to stand it up like you do with the Blurex.

Portenzo BookCase

The Nexus 7 is something I am planning on hanging onto for a number of years.  I need to keep it safe from harm.  The Portenzo BookCase is a premium case. It is hand-made in St. Louis, Missouri.  It uses a wood frame for housing the Nexus 7 and then uses buckram (book binding material) for the case and cover. When the cover is closed, the maple wood frame looks like book pages.  My case is held closes with magnets and an elastic strap.  I also have the IntelliStand option that allows you to put the Nexus 7 at a viewing angle.  This case is high caliber and fine workmanship.  I know that there are other hand-made Nexus 7 cases available, but the Portenzo wins.

You’re probably wondering which of these cases I eventually settled on as my favorite.  My “Top 2” case choices are the Speck FitFolio and the Portenzo BookCase.  If all these cases were available in a store and I walked in to purchase a case, I would walk out of the store with the FitFolio.  My decision is based entirely on cost.  As I already said, the BookCase is a premium case. If you were to purchase the BookCase with ALL the available options, it would cost you about $85.  With the exception of the ASUS Travel Cover, all of these cases were provided to me for writing a review.  If I had to purchase a case for my Nexus 7, I would go with the FitFolio.  The BookCase is my current case of choice.  The Nexus 7 is sitting next to me right now resting in its BookCase.

I would have to say that the FitFolio and the BookCase are probably the most popular cases on my blog.  If you had access to my stats you would see that some days the posting about the FitFolio received the most traffic and on other days the BookCase review received the most traffic.

Thank you Caseen, Incipio, Blurex, Speck Products, and Portenzo for providing cases for me to review.

I do wish to continue providing reviews on Nexus 7 accessories.  If you are a manufacturer of a Nexus 7 accessory that you would like to see reviewed, please contact me.

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