Review: Urban Armor Gear for the Surface Pro 3

When I think of heavy duty protection for smartphones and tablets, I conjure up the image of a bulky, rubberized monstrosity that resembles more of a fat suit than a case. Sure, it will protect your device from nearly any threat, but it also makes it look like a swollen tick with bad fashion sense.

Urban Armor Gear must have had a similar image in mind when designing their tough case for the Surface Pro 3 because it avoids those very pitfalls. Rather than being a tough and ugly movie monster, the Urban Armor Gear for the Surface Pro 3 is the rugged, handsome action star.

The UAG case fits snuggly around the corners of the Surface, providing extra thick padding where it counts. It's so snug, in fact, that I found it rather difficult to put on without feeling like I might hurt my Surface from pushing on it so hard.

But once it was on, I was very pleased with the fit. The case fully protects the Surface's back, corners, and around the front of the bezel. Even the buttons get wrapped with protective rubber, which is raised up to make them easy to push. There are cutouts for all of the ports, as well as for the heat vents.

The skin of the cover, aptly referred to as "Frogskin Technology," is resistant to liquids. It is also very comfortable to hold, even with wet hands.

A huge plus for the Urban Armor Gear case is that it allows full use of the Type Cover including the magnetic tilted keyboard position. The keyboard closes flush to the screen and can be held in place by an elastic that is attached to the case. According to the manufacturer, the case meets military drop standards (MIL-STD 810G 516.6) when coupled with the Type Cover.

Unlike many other highly-protective covers, there aren't many trade-offs between protection and portability. The Urban Armor Gear case is lightweight and doesn't add too much to the overall size of the Surface Pro 3.

The only stark difference between this case and others is that the UAG cover does not allow you to use the Surface's kickstand. Instead, it has a built-in stand that clicks into five different positions. It does an admirable job of filling in, letting you work at various angles, but lacks the smooth movement of the Surface kickstand. It is also T-shaped and does not cover the entire length of the tablet, like the Surface stand does, which makes it more of a challenge to get fully comfortable on your lap.

Urban Armor Gear did an excellent job with their Surface Pro 3 case. It shields your tablet from bumps and to some extent the elements, without making it look like it's in a suit of armor. On the contrary, it feels more like a superhero outfit.

For that reason, you may not feel comfortable bringing into the boardroom with you. Then again, if you work in that type of environment, you probably don't need that much protection anyway. If you use your Surface in more casual settings, the Urban Armor Gear case will fit in just fine.

There are two color schemes to choose from, Rogue (red and black) and Scout (black on black).

Either will run you $69.90 from Urban Armor Gear's site with free worldwide shipping.

Seth Brodeur