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Mozo Folio case for Surface Pro delivers protection and professionalism

One of the side benefits of Microsoft's Surface Pro becoming a modern computing option for the masses is the abundance of accessories. Mozo has been around for a few years, getting its start with unique cases for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL.

Besides its Surface Sneaker sleeve, the company has a new option in the brown or black Folio for your Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4. I've been sporting one of my Surface Pro 4 for a few weeks now. Here is what I think of the $54 (€49.90) add-on.

Materials and design

Approved through the "Designed for Surface" program, the Mozo Folio is a unique. The Mozo Folio is form fitted for the Surface Pro 3 and 4, and it reminds me of the Huawei MateBook's protective case, including its color and functionality.

Made from colored polyurethane leather, the Mozo Folio comes in brown or "black golf" colors. The base of the Folio is stiff but somewhat flexible. The reinforced bi-cast leather is what gives the Folio its protective abilities, as well as a base for the Surface to stand on during use.

Some adhesive strips hold the Folio in place.

Some adhesive strips hold the Folio in place.

The Folio oddly attaches to your Surface via some special adhesive on the upper back. In that sense, the Folio is something you put on and plan to leave on for the foreseeable future. The benefit of such a system is that the Folio feels more integral to the Surface and acts as an extension of the design rather than "just another case." No slipping, sliding or readjustments are ever needed.

A magnetic flap keeps the Folio latched closed, and it protects the rear camera during travel.

One of the satisfying benefits of the Mozo Folio is that it creates a solid base between the Surface and the kickstand, which is usually left as an open gap. Some people don't quite like the somewhat sharp Surface kickstand putting pressure on their legs when used in the lap, and this case fixes that.

Taking it for a flip

Using the Mozo Folio for the Surface is straightforward, but it requires some slight finesse. You just open the flap, push up the Surface and then extend the Surface kickstand. That last part requires the finesse, because the Folio somewhat obstructs the kickstand – not fully, just enough that you must reach in to open it.

Despite the back of the Folio covering the Surface kickstand, the Surface can still slide forward leaving it unhindered. That means you can lay the Surface down at any angle without encumbering the kickstand.

In day-to-day activities, the Surface Pro loses a bit of speed from going closed to open due to the Folio, but it's not a major drawback. And closing the Surface with the Folio is quite satisfying. My Surface Pro 4 now feels 100-percent protected and secure in the Folio.

Besides being able to just toss it into a backpack without worrying what is at the bottom, the Surface with Folio feels great in hand. The Surface keyboard no longer flops open on its own, and the system has more grip.

Finally, one of the biggest complaints about the Surface is that it's unclear what specifically you should do with the Pen during travel. The pen's magnets notoriously do not hold up when in a bag, making it something extra to concern yourself with (and later dig out). With the Surface Folio's magnetic flap, you can attach the Surface Pen to it and have it secured during transit. And it looks great.

Wrapping it up: Should you buy the Surface Folio?

I recall once putting my Surface Pro 3 in one of those airport bins to go through security. When it came out from the scanner, there were some minor scratches on the Surface, likely due to the rigid plastic of the bin and the Surface sliding around. I'd had the device for only a week. Situations like that one make the Folio an excellent choice. Obviously, had I had it in a Folio such an incident would not have happened.

Mozo Folio for Surface Pro 4

The magnetic flap lets you clip the Surface Pen during transist.

I like the design and functionality of the Mozo Surface Folio. It's different than traditional sleeves or separate bags, both of which take up more room if you pack them. It's also one of the thinnest solutions to protect the Surface that I have come across. If you don't like bulk, this Folio is a solid choice.

I also like the way the whole thing looks when closed, including when the pen is locked down.

The two downsides I see are pricing — $54 is not cheap — and the permanent nature of the Folio, due to its adhesive. I'm not too concerned with removing it because the adhesive is modest and won't mar the Surface's chassis. But it does it mean that once you put the Folio on you will have to leave it there. I should also mention that the brown version is more susceptible to "leather wear," giving it a worn look with some "distressed" marking. Some like that look, others do not.

That permanence may be a good thing if you, like me, appreciate the classy look and functionality of the Mozo Folio. The Folio is the kind of case that feels like an extension of the device and not an external wrapper.

  • See Brown Surface Folio at Mozo
  • See Black Golf Surface Folio at Mozo

Pros:

  • Neat and thin design.
  • Looks professional.
  • Locks down Pen during transit.
  • Provides a larger, more comfortable base for Surface.

Cons:

  • Not cheap.
  • A little clumsy to open.
  • Adhesive makes it a semi-permanent solution.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

27 Comments
  • The only thing I don't like is the pen hanging off. I see how he placed it in the flip piece, a good idea.
  • If this didn't use adhesive I'd be all over this! There's lots of times i pop the keyboard off entirely and pass my Surface to someone in "tablet mode" It looks like this would get in the way of that. If they made the exact same thing with a pop-on pop-off solution I would buy in a heartbeat, It would look great sitting with my 950XL with matching leather MOZO cover!
  • Issue is not only the glue, but this cover will hold heat inside the tablet. The body of Surface Pros dissipate heat at the upper right corner. With this cover installed, the device will only be relying on the fans.
  • I use the Type Pad cover and keep everything together inside an excellent Waterfield (SFBags.com) Surface Pro 4 SleeveCase.
  • The Maroo Leather Folio is the one I have. Adds a level of protection from falls as well as a super secure pen loop. Looks sexy too.
  • Should offer this in a form that doesn't have a flap. Adheres to, and covers, the back only. That'd be sweet!
  • Not sure if your comment means this, Dan, but can the folio easily accommodate the full range of kick stand motion on the new surface pro? Can you update the review with a pic of it all the way back? Making this potentially more usable on my lap makes this seem like a well executed great idea.
  • it can as the Surface just pushes forward away form the folio. The only part that's attached is above the kickstand, otherwise the folio is free from it.
  • Oh. So does that mean the folio can get damaged where it is not securely attached to the tablet?
  • What about heat dissipation though? The device does need the shell to dissipate some of that heat or it throttles the CPU. I sometimes have to cool the shell down to keep the speed up (usually when I'm doing something intensive... and in our hot Aussie summers)
  • That's what the radial vents are for. There's no restrictions on Surface Pro or Book about covers/stickers/cases layered on the back of the device. While that can dissipate some heat, it's not the main cooling area.
  • Yep, but it does impact performance. I regularly encounter it in our summers. The vents are the main areas to dissipate heat, but the shell on the Surface line is and always has also been used as a secondary heatsink.
    If it overheats, you get CPU throttling. I've, on occasion, sprayed the back with compressed air to get the temperature down quickly. Not sexy, and probably not a good thing for long term health of the unit, as it decreases structural integrity, but you have to do what you have to do. Hence my reluctance for a cover.
    Maybe up north with your cold winters and ordinary summers, it's different! :p
  • I agree 100%. SP devices drop their performance if the upper right corner in the back (when looking at the screen) gets hot. Even if I have to place it on a table or bed, I extend the kickstand all the way so that the back is not touching any surface, allowing it to radiate some of that heat away.
  • I've had the Toast wood back on my SP4. Everyone said the same about a somewhat insulating material on the back. Its never been an issue and I live in Texas where it gets pretty hot. I have the fanless m version - maybe it just doesnt heat up much.
  • The 55$ price tag seems cheap to me, but is listed as a downside. I haven't watched many of these before other than that sleeve recently featured. How atypical is this pricing? What's the range i should expect for a premium case/cover?
  • It's worth the $55 pricing. He was just referring to the fact that some people aren't willing to put down that amount for basically a glorified flappy thing, no matter how nicely made and well designed it is. The build quality is great and it has clearly been created with a lot of thought, so it's a premium product worth investing in if you can live with the few drawbacks. I may consider nabbing one in the future. I already bought the amazing Brent Collins bag Dan recommended a while back.
  • Thanks for the feedback! Mind if I ask you for a suggestion? After looking at the Brenthaven bag you mentioned, I think that's too big for me. I think I'm looking for something Like this Mozo Folio, but can also have a folder/slot for holding papers and/or a pad of paper. That would make it awesome for going to meetings!
  • You're looking for a folio case that also has an extra pocket. Unfortunately I cannot help you there as I really don't typically use cases and such.
  • Gotcha. Thanks for the reply!
  • Looks nice and I would consider buying it but not after my recent experience with Mozo. I bought a 950 XL back cover from them that was defective. I contacted them and was told by 'Brian" that they were going to send me a new 1 and he asked me to send them pictures of my current cover along with my order #. I have heard nothing since then and they will not respond to any emails. I was actually going to buy a 2nd back cover for my 950 XL as well until this happened. At this point they have permanently lost a customer.
  • I rarely take the keyboard off my Surface but rather just fold it all the way back to use the Surface as a tablet. Does this cover prevent that being done, i.e. does the Folio itself fold all the way back and can the keyboard then be comfortably be folded back over it?
  • Yes. The folio isn't attached to the keyboard or even the kickstand, so you can move it around freely. It may take a little bit more fiddling but it's highly doable.
  • Can this be used without the type cover? If so, how is the usuability as a tablet?
    Does the adhesive leave residue after long time use?
    If you use this, and then take it off, will/how this [can]be able to be reattached? Sorry if the last question is confusing... Being lazy
  • Are you able to put the surface in the original style docking station with this attached?
  • I bought a Mozo case of the same style and I assume, material for my wife's L650. It has a really nice feel to it. Cleans up easy, with just a dry napkin and after 5 months in my wife's pocketbook still looks great with no sign of wear. I like the soft feel of it and it is a very light yet durable material.
  • I have a question about the ability to fold the folio and keybord back completely, allowing the Surface to be used as a tablet (as intended). No pictures or comments on that usage. Looks like it would interfere, being too thick folded back to allow the keyboard to fold back as well. Good be a significant Con to some. Would to me. I'd have no reservations on buying a Mozo otherwise. Love the ones on my 950 and 950XL. It is how they should have come ;)  (Actually not forcing everyone to shell out for luxury cases was the right thing for MS to do. The backs of the Lumias were utilitarian and fine for most, but if you wanted more flash you could find it. Probably hurt the first impression in the store though.)
  • Mostly use mine as a tablet when not traveling so the question is can the sleeve be totally bended to the back of surface? did some google, but I have run into a user experience? Anyone??