Review: Smartphone Experts CombiFlip Case for Blackjack
Looking for a flip case for your Blackjack? Look no further than the Smartphone Experts CombiFlip case - a hybrid leather case with a removable flip lid. It stores two credit cards and has a nice build-quality. It's a great case.
Read on for the full review.
Design and Flip Lid
The CombiFlip case is a leather case that comes in a variety of colors - there’s an all black version as well as a “Brandy” (read: natural brown leather color) that is combined with differently colored flip lids. What’s neat and innovative about the case, the “Combi” in “CombiFlip” is that the flip lid is actually removable - you can use it when you like and leave it home when you don’t need that extra protection (or credit card space).
Next to that snap is another, larger snap that’s used at the top half of the flip portion of the case. Which means that the flip lid is removable. You then also snap the flip lid on the bottom of the case to seal the whole thing up. A lot of folks don’t like snaps but I don’t particularly mind them if they’re easy to use. I’m easily able to unsnap the bottom of the lid with a single finger and open the case up, and then re-snap it.
The lid itself is padded a bit on the front - also on the front is a nice textured feel and a subtle SPE logo. It will hold two credit cards - it’s a touch tight in there but will likely expand with usage. With two cards in, the lid still fits fine on the Blackjack and doesn’t press any buttons.
Fit and Finish
The way it works is that the “base case” slips onto the Blackjack with a nice, tight fit. There’s actually a tiny bit of elastic on the sides - which I like a lot because it means that, unlike with most leather cases, there’s no “breaking-in period” where the case fits too tightly initially but gets better over time. The CombiFlip case first perfectly the first time you put in on. The case then has a strap that goes over the top of the Blackjack and snaps on.
Update:: Forgot to mention it, but this case won't work very well with the extended battery. It will fit (by virtue of the above-mentioned elastic), but barely and not well. Additionally, I would expect it to stretch the case out in ugly ways - meaning that if you use it with the extended battery for even a brief amount of time, the case won't work nicely with the original thin battery afterwards.
The case has a rigid backing which is pretty much necessary for a belt-clip style case. It's lined with a soft felt on the inside to prevent scratches to your phone. Besides being close fitting right out of the box, it's also fairly thin - it doesn't add too much bulk to the thin Blackjack (as long as you don't have the padded flip-lid on, of course).
Obviously, all of the ports and buttons on the Blackjack are available. It's worth noting, I suppose, that there's no plastic screen to protect the Blackjack's screen - but I usually find those plastic screens chinsy anyway. And if you have the flip lid attached, the screen is protected by that.
Belt Clip and Use
The belt clip on the CombiFlip is a good one. I especially like the "button" that the belt clip attaches to, it doesn't stick out as far as most other belt-clip buttons I've seen. Another nice subtle touch is the design of the clip part of the belt clip, if you look at the photo at left you'll notice that the "teeth" of the clip don't line up exactly with each other. That means that this clip will work well on a belt but it will also clip very nicely to the a pocket - I usually like to clip cases like this to my front jeans pocket rather than to my belt.
It ratchets 360 degrees, meaning the case will stay in the position you put it in. It's also as low profile as I've seen this style of clip - doesn't stick out too far off the belt. Finally, it passes the "Sitting down" test with flying colors - once the case is clipped in, no amount of force I could apply (well, within reason, I didn't take a pliers to it) was able to pop the case off its clip.
In terms of every day use, there's a funny little bit to mention about the flip lid. It won't, like most flip lids, easily flip over the top and then to the back of the base. The lid's top is much too rigid for that. Instead, what you want to do, is pop open the bottom snap and then do one of two things:
- For short usage, just leave the lid sort of hanging there above the case.
- For longer usage, you can rotate the lid to the bottom of the phone -- this solution is a little tricky to do one-handed, but with practice I have been able to manage it fairly quickly. The neat thing about this second method is it actually causes the lid to act as a sort of wind-guard.
So it's a little quirky to get used to, but once you do it's alright.
At $39.95, the CombiFlip case comes in at the higher end of case prices, but I think it's a good price for what you get: a very nice leather case that you can use either as a flip lid or a standard leather case. The look and feel of the case is also high end - down to the close stitching around the case in matching brown or black.
So I've been singing a lot of praises for this case - but I think it deserves it. If this is even in the ballpark for the type of case you like, the CombiFlip case for Blackjack is my number one recommendation right now.
|Ratings (out of 5)Design: 5Fit and Finish: 5Belt Clip: 5Usage: 4Overall: 5||ProsRemovable flip LidGood belt clipFits perfectly out of the box (rare for leather cases)ConsPositioning the flip lid a little awkward sometimes|
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