The Nokia Lumia 1520 is an absolutely massive phone. With hardware so impressive (and a fairly sizable price tag), you’re going to want to take excellent care of it. And the Lumia 1520’s beautiful 6-inch screen also makes the device excel at video playback. Failing to take advantage of those playback capabilities would be a form of neglect, you might say. So perhaps a method of propping the 1520 up for hands-free playback is in order.
Enter Minisuit, a company who makes a wide range of mobile accessories including cases for the Microsoft Surface tablets. Minisuit offers a solution to both protecting the Lumia 1520 and keeping it upright during movie playback: the Rugged Hybrid Kickstand Case for Lumia 1520. I’ve been using the case exclusively with my new 32 GB Lumia 1520, and come away impressed with its quality and value.
The Rugged Kickstand Case comes in any color you want, as long as it’s black. That matches the AT&T 32 GB Lumia perfectly, since the monolithic carrier only sells that model in black. But the colored 16 GB models would look good in it too – what little of the phone remains exposed when using the case, anyway.
As the case’s full name indicates, it utilizes a hybrid design. That means it runs on a combination of gasoline and electricity. No wait, in this instance it signifies that the case consists of two separate pieces: a hard inner shell made of polycarbonate and an outer trim made of rubberized TPU. The pieces come put together, but you can snap them apart easily enough by pulling at any corner of the outer trim.
The inner shell bears a white Minisuit logo, the only place the logo appears on the product. That way it doesn’t call attention away from the design of the case, but you still know you’re using a Minisuit product when you apply I to the phone. Speaking of which, you’ll want the outer piece removed when snapping the inner shell over the 1520. With the two pieces assembled, the fit will be too snug to get the phone in or out.
That two-piece design brings more benefits than just a tight fit. It also offers more shock absorption than a traditional single-piece design. Protection is important because not only is the 1520 a valuable electronic device, it’s also a big one. More surface space means more phone for objects to bump into when you’re carrying it around.
When viewed from the front, the case has a distinctive series of ridges all around the left and right sides of the phone. Turn around to the back and those ridges continue for about a centimeter. Most of the remaining back’s surface features a tire pattern of semi-rectangular shapes protruding from the surface. These are meant to provide extra shock absorption and traction. Again, the 1520 is a big honking phone. With the Rugged Case, you’ll have much less chance of losing your grip or the device sliding off of surfaces.
The front of the case features a raised lip that extends past the edge of the screen. This allows users to place the phone face-down on flat surfaces without damaging the screen.
Cut-outs and buttons
Returning to the back of the case, you’ll first find a cut-out for the device's third microphone. Below it are two perfect cut-outs for the Lumia 1520’s 20-megapixel camera lens and vertically-positioned flash. Some cases fail to properly account for the camera flash and end up distorting the image when taking flash photographs. Minisuit’s case won’t interfere with the 1520’s flash at all, so you can still capture excellent night-time images.
Further down the rear, the Kickstand occupies an approximately 3 inch x 1.5 inch section in the middle of the case. We’ll describe its construction shortly. Down near the bottom of the phone are two more cut-outs for the device’s wireless charging connector, speaker, and fourth microphone. That's a lot of mics!
The right of the 1520 holds the device’s volume, power, and camera buttons. Rather than providing cut-outs for those buttons, the Rugged Kickstand Case has its own button covers built in. You’ll have to apply slightly more force to press the buttons than if they were naked. But the covers protect the buttons themselves from drops or spills, in fitting with the case’s emphasis on defense and durability.
The left side of the case holds no cut-outs, just the ridged grips I described earlier. Thus the case blocks access to the phone's nano-SIM and SD card slots. Luckily those aren't things we need to access frequently.
At the top of the case you’ll see a recessed cut-out for headphones and headsets. I’ve owned cheaper cases that prevented larger plugs from fitting in the headset jack. Not a problem here. So far, everything plug I’ve inserted has fit without issue.
At the bottom lies a recessed and rectangular cut-out for the phone’s micro-USB port. The recessed design on both the headset and micro-USB cut-outs looks quite snazzy at close range. The bottom of the case’s front also has a tiny notch for the phone’s second microphone.
Kickin’ it with the kickstand
Even if you’re not especially concerned with guarding against bumps and drops, the kickstand part of the Rugged Kickstand Case could prove a stand-out feature.
On the backside of the case, the kickstand normally remains tucked flat into the rest of the shell. One end of the kickstand construction bears a small indention. That’s where you’ll pull it out with a fingernail to use the kickstand.
My kickstand requires a little too much force to snap out of the shell. The first time I tried to open it, I feared it would break. It seems to be getting easier with use, however. Hopefully the tightness will go away before long.
After snapping the kickstand all the way out, you’ll be able to stand the phone upright in a landscape orientation. The kickstand only supports one angle, but it’s perfect for watching videos or reading while the phone sits on a desk or counter.
Of the Rugged Kickstand Case’s design, the kickstand is the only component with an air of fragility. It’s not poorly made, but I could see a piece snapping off or the hinges wearing out over time. Yet this is a highly affordable case, so we’re lucky it even has a kickstand at such a low price.
As always, either you’re a case person or you’re not. Some people hate the added bulk that cases bring, or the way cases cover a mobile device’s natural beauty. Those same people also have to buy a new phone when they drop theirs, which I’d rather not do. Besides, anyone who buys a phone with a 6-inch screen like the Lumia 1520 has already decided to put up with a little bulk.
The extra size and weight brought on by the Rugged Kickstand Case are insignificant in the long run. It still fits in a pants pocket (snugly). And if you could get your hand around the gargantuan 1520 before, the case won’t stop you either. The extra grip, high potential for shock absorption, and kickstand feature all make this case a worthwhile purchase for the security-minded Lumia 1520 owner. And the surface ridges and tire pattern will lend your phone a cool and distinctive appearance to boot.
- Rugged Hybrid Kickstand Case for Lumia 1520 – Lumia 1520 (16 GB or 32 GB models) – $5.95 – Minisuit Store Link