Review: EcoLife Elements Side Case

Ecolife is a new addition to the WMExperts Accessory Store that puts an eco-friendly twist the their phone cases.  Ecolife manufactures its cases from 100 percent recycled material called PET. What is PET you say?

Ecolife had us worried for a second by describing the fabric as being created from post-consuming PET container flakes. Fortunately, post-consuming PET flakes are not generated by Fido in the backyard. PET is short for PolyEthelenTerephtalate which is more commonly known as the primary material used to create water bottles.

We took the Ecolife Elements Side Case for the HTC Touch Pro 2 out for a test drive and was somewhat surprised at the cases performance. Ease on past the break to see how well a case made from 100% recycled material performs.

First Impressions

I never know what to expect when I purchase anything made of 100 percent recycled material. Is the material going to have the consistency of cardboard or will moss start growing between the seams.

The material created from the recycled PET reminds me of corduroy or a heavy nylon fabric. It was a little rigid at first but appeared very durable.  With a little use, the stiffness in the fabric began to relax and after several days of use, the durable feel remained.

Case Design

The design of the Element Side Case follows suit with your typical side case. You have a large flap that secures the phone in place and cut-outs at the corners and bottom-center of the case to help you remove the phone with ease.

The flap is held nicely in place by two magnets. The case is lined with a soft, felt like material and stitching was solid with no loose or frayed seems visible.

The Elements case has a wide, fabric lined clip that secures the case nicely to your belt. The wider clip helps prevent the case from wiggling off your belt but I do wish it was about a quarter inch longer to better accommodate the wider belts.

For what it's worth, the Ecolife Elements case is "blackberry ready".  A series of magnets are sewn into the front and back sides of the case and as I understand things from our friends over at these magnets trigger features on a blackberry device while the phone is in the case (e.g. ringer goes to vibrate, device goes to sleep, etc.).

If this case is used with a Touch Pro 2, the extra magnets have a tendency to trigger an internal magnet in the TP2 that wakes up the screen similar to the power button being pressed while the phone is in the case. 

Fit and Feel

The HTC Touch Pro 2 fits really well inside the Elements Side Case. Not too tight, not too loose, just right. There was enough give in the sides of the case where you could pull the Touch Pro 2 out of the case or you could push up on the Windows phone from the center cut-out.

The Element Side Case was comfortable to wear. The clip is on the tight side so sliding it on your belt took a bit of effort. Once on the belt the case rode comfortably and securely.

Overall Impression

If you don't need your Windows phone case made out of leather or simply want to be more eco-friendly, the Ecolife Element Side Case is a good choice.

While the initial feel of the fabric was stiff, after a few days of use the fabric relaxed, improving the overall fit and feel of the case.  The case securely held the Touch Pro 2 in place and offered a moderate level of protection for the Windows phone.

All in all, the Element Case is a solid, well built case that is worth consideration.  I think the case would be better without the "blackberry ready" magnets.  While these magnets act in the positive with Blackberry devices some may not like the fact that they act in the negative with some Windows phones by prematurely turning on the screen.

Phil Nickinson

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

  • but it looks like a purse
  • As far as cases go, I need my case to do three things very well. 1) Protect my phone. 2) Be comfortable to wear. 3) Not waste my battery by having the screen turned on in my case so that when I take out the thing, it has half battery and is about to die. I'm not sure how any reviewer could be OK with the fact that the case turned on their phone while it was supposed to be in a low power state to conserve battery. That seems like a horrifically huge failing to me. The Touch Pro2 already has enough problems lasting through the day with 3g and heavy use, the last thing I want is my phone turning on when it's supposed to be safe in my case.
  • Don't complain about somting just because, if the case does this to yopur phone it's not for you. the case does not work with your phone so what the company should have thought about this they lost your bussiness, but not mine I have a blackberry 8900 and these cases are great!! oh and bud thanks for the buzz kill.
  • You are right.
    But remember you must be ecogreen or feel guilty when the planet get destroyed because you bought the wrong case.
  • @pinguino1
    Being sarcastic doesn't help matters either, you know.
    Still I don't get how this case is green when it wastes your TP2's battery. It seems definitely un-green.
  • I doubt Ecolife realized the impact these side magnets would have on the Touch Pro 2. By design, these magnets were intended to conserve power when the case is used with a Blackberry phone. As I understand it, with Blackberries these magnets turn the ringer to vibrate and put the phone to sleep.
    And the magnets don't keep the screen on indefinitely. The screen will eventually time itself out and turn off. This anomaly is no different than the power button being accidentally tripped while in the case.
  • While that may be true, the point here is if the case is "designed for the HTC Touch Pro 2" than they need to check these things - otherwise it should be labelled "designed for the BlackBerry Storm, adaptable to HTC Touch Pro 2 with registry edits from XDA". I have a side case, and where I noticed the power drain wasn't just from putting the phone in the case, but actions like sitting down, or standing up would trigger the magnet too - something that happens far more frequently than a power button tripping in the case. Fortunately, the registry edit does eliminate the problem, and frankly I tend to look over to HTC for this issue - poor design choice to make it that sensitive to a magnet, particularly when most HTC devices I've owned came with a magnet closing case! In Canada, under Telus we've had a real pain finding Touch Pro 2 cases - particularly if you invest in that $15 armour Telus likes to flog. The 'official' HTC case is a belt holster and I can't bring myself to trust a holster, considering that the phone most likely will not survive a naked drop to a sidewalk. That Telus armour case does not fit in the holster. I wonder how well it would fit into this case, and something I don't see in the review - can I use this case with the wired headphones at the same time? A lot of side cases block the 3.5mm port.
  • Gregory... thanks for your comments. To answer your last question, there simply isn't enough room with the fit or openings in the case to accommodate a wired headset.
    For what it's worth, right now I am using my Tilt 2 with the Smartphone Experts P7 case. It was initially on the tight side but the leather stretched after a days use enough to offer a comfortable fit. It is a magnetic closure but the magnet does not appear strong enough to wake up the phone while it's in the case. Keep in mind that the Ecolife has eight additional magnets that most cases don't have.
    The SPE Side case and the Body Glove Landmark Case also perform well with the Touch Pro 2. The fit on the Landmark Case is a little on the tight side though. Again, the magnets appear strong enough to keep the flap closed but not strong enough to wake up the screen while the phone is in the case.
  • Magnet problem aside, when I pay approx. $200 for a smart phone, and am commited to a 2 year data contract... I want a belt clip that can't slip off. This case's clip looks like it is more suitable for say a money clip, but not for securing an expensive Windows smartphone. I can just imagine sitting in an office chair with arms on it and catching the case on the arm... knocking it off without my noticing it...or getting in / out of a car and accidently hooking it on the seat belt or it just working its way off of the belt as I bend at the waist... I'll stick with an over the belt loop and a velcro closure. The one I have now has served me well for over 3 years, with no phone wear. It gets dirty, I just hand-wash it in the sink for a few seconds and let it dry.