Usually, I’m very much opposed to any type of case or accessory for my phone. From the results in this poll, you’re also pretty confident that your devices are indestructible. Well, with the purchase of my Nexus 5, I got suckered into purchasing a case.
Believe me, I normally wouldn’t buy an in-store sales item without some extremely rare gimmick. But let me introduce you to the Tech21 gimmick (the good stuff starts at about 4 minutes):
The T-Mobile sales guy performed a similar drop onto concrete, twice, with his phone. I’m not saying that two drops from arm’s height was enough to damage his device, but his willingness to drop the phone on its side was enough to help sell me on the idea of a case.
Here’s a quick run-down on how it works:
As the video describes, the Tech21 cases include some substance called, D3O. It’s minimalist in nature inside the case, but if the substance lives up to its “rock hard” claim, I’m enthusiastic about the prospect for protection.
The D3O acts as a shock absorber, diffusing the impact energy away from device. In theory, this case would have protected my HTC Droid DNA and I probably wouldn’t own a new Nexus 5.
I also like that the back of the case is clear, giving me the ability to brag about my Nexus 5 ownership.
Now when someone says, “Cool iPhone,” I can quickly retort, “Son, please, this is a Nexus 5, not some dumb iPhone.”
But what about size?
The biggest drawback, at least for me, is the bulk that most cases add to any phone. Generally, I’m okay with a bulky tablet case, since a tablet’s already bulky. But when we’re talking about phones, thinner is better. The Tech21 Nexus 5 case doesn’t disappoint in thinness.
The Tech21 case adds minimal thickness to the Nexus 5’s profile. I didn’t measure, but I’d doubt there’s more than an extra 5mm. It’s still pretty thin.
This case is also cut in such a way as to permit easy access to all the key port holes, including the charging, microphone, and audio output ports. Tech21 included stiff button covers (perhaps too stiff), which means you won’t have to fumble around for the power or volume.
And now for the bad news
I’m a little disappointed in the durability of the clear plastic. You can definitely see the wear and tear on my cover, even after only a few days. I guess that’s better than scuffing up the phone or face, but the rubberized back of the Nexus 5 already minimizes those scuffs.
You’ll also only find the covers in two colors: black/smoke or red, which you must purchase at a T-Mobile store or online from T-Mobile’s website (black or red) for $29.99. Outside the US, you have a few more options; see all of Tech21’s retail partners. Incidentally, Tech21 also manufactures cases for Samsung devices and a Nexus 7 case that looks pretty sweet.
Thus far, I’m pretty impressed with the Tech21 Nexus 5 case. I did drop my phone one small time, and if that few inches is any indication of the strength, then I’m even more sold. If you’re looking for a case that doesn’t bulk up your phone and can give the false sense of protection you’re looking for, check out the Tech21 line of cases and screen protectors.
Update: I just weighed the Nexus 5 with the Tech21 case: 6.06oz (171.8g). My uncased Nexus 5 weighed 4.78oz (133.51g).