A few weeks ago, we mentioned that you could buy third-party knock off replacement covers for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL that came in matte orange, blue, black or white. Obviously, it was the first two colors that sparked interest for readers, and I promised that once we had the replacement covers in-house, I'd review them.
That day has come.
What you need to know
- Cost is about $4 USD
- Free shipping to the US; Ours were delivered in ten days
- They do not have Qi or NFC built in, however, they do have space for them so you could add them yourself
- They are better than expected
After reading some reader reviews of similar replacement covers, I was worried that I would regret the purchase. Far from it. While the cases are not metal and lack the quality of the Mozo ones (see our hands-on below) they do not feel all that much different from the official covers from Microsoft.
The biggest thing I can say is they are fragile and light especially since there is no Qi or NFC pads on the inside. This design makes both phones feel even thinner and lighter than before and frankly, I like the change.
As an example of the weight difference, the official Lumia 950 XL cover is 20 grams (0.70oz) while the replacement ones here are just 13 grams (0.45oz). The majority of that weight difference is no doubt attributable to the lack of Qi coil and the NFC sensor, but some of the difference is also likely due to thinner materials used in the new shell.
All the appropriate cutouts are there, and nothing was machined badly. I did have one of the power buttons feel a little sticky, but it always worked. Right after we shot the video, however, with some fidgeting, I got the button to click as it should. They are not the best feeling buttons out there, and your experience may vary, but it is better than I anticipated (low expectations, after all). More importantly, when I depress the button I got the desired result, which is what matters.
While I wouldn't recommend this cover for always taking on and off if you are looking for something to toss on for just a few dollars to get some color, well, this is it. Being so thin the replacement covers could crack under wear and tear from removal, so heed caution.
While the cover does not raise the feel in quality like a Mozo, I am more than fine with the thinner, lighter and more colorful look.
Bottom Line: Hey, you get what you pay for and, in this case, you are talking about $4 replacement covers for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. While they do nothing for the feel in quality, they do not lessen it either. Considering these covers are about 6% the cost of a Mozo (plus they ship faster, ahem) they are not a bad solution at all.
I plan on rocking these on our Lumias going forward until something better comes along. In any case, you should order up a few just in case.