UAG Plyo for Surface Pro review: Nice kickstand and military-grade rugged protection

UAG Plyo Case for Surface Pro 7
UAG Plyo Case for Surface Pro 7 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

Windows Central Recommended Award

The Surface Pro is one of the most popular convertible PCs around, so much so that many businesses and industries adopt them for fieldwork. But how do you protect it when outside from drops, bangs, or just the environment?

The Urban Armor Gear (UAG) Plyo case helps answer that. While the price is high, its ability to work with the Surface Pro 4 up through the new Surface Pro 7 and its excellent design leave me impressed.

What you'll love about UAG Plyo for Surface Pro

UAG Plyo for Surface Pro 7

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

UAG has been making ruggedized protects for technology for years. It's a reliable brand with name recognition who stands behind its products.

The new UAG Plyo is "designed to be featherlight, while still being able to guard against major drops and shocks" and differs from more substantial UAG releases like Metropolis and Plasma, which are better suited for even more extreme conditions.

The case is one solid piece. The Surface Pro slips in with lips around the four corners locking it in place. At no time did I feel the case would come off accidentally. Yet, removal of the case is also easy just by peeling back one corner and slowly working it off the remaining ones.

The corners are very well protected, protruding slightly outward, revealing the extra padding. That's good as corner drops are the most damaging. The case is solid, with only minor flex and a softer silicone that wraps around the display. The case has venting notches on the top and the left side.

The Surface Type Cover clicks in place with no problem. UAG's Plasma case has a cover for the Surface keyboard connect port if you want to use it only as a tablet, but the Plyo does not – it's meant to be used with the Type Cover (though you can leave it off too). The Type Cover can be added or removed with the Plyco case intact.

All the ports are exposed, including the new Type-C on the Surface Pro 7. There is a slight recess due to the case, but cables had no issue making a connection. The same goes for the Surface Connect port and headphone jack, which is all accessible.

The power and volume controls have faux buttons that are gripped. All of Surface Pro's controls felt responsive and were easy to operate with the case.

On top of the case is a pinched slot for holding the Surface Pen. This holder effectively locks the pen in its place for transport and feels very sturdy and satisfying to use.

UAG Plyo Case for Surface Pro 7

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The kickstand is better than expected. While it does not articulate as thoroughly as the Surface Pro's Kickstand, it does support variable angles letting users customize the exact position (versus preset slotted position of some stand with limited mobility). The kickstand is seamless with the design, feels sturdy when opened, and there is a grab notch to pull it out quickly.

Finally, the UAG Plyo is compatible with Microsoft Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro 6, Surface Pro 5th Gen, and Surface Pro 4 (for this review, it was tested with the Surface Pro 7).

What you'll dislike about UAG Plyo for Surface Pro

UAG Plyo Case for Surface Pro 7

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

There's not a lot to criticize with the UAG Plyo for Surface Pro. The biggest issue for some potential buyers will be the price at $70. UAG, while a well-known brand, does charge a premium for its products. The Kensington Microsoft Surface Pro Rugged Case is now half the cost, and while it doesn't offer as much protection (the kickstand is exposed), it still has a MIL-STD-810G drop rating. Likewise, the SUPCASE, which is not up for MIL-STD-810G, is only $24.

Being a clear case, the Plyo keeps the distinctive look of the Surface. But if you remove it frequently, dust, dirt, and particles will get trapped between the Surface's back and the case. While it may look a bit unsightly, it has no impact obviously on performance.

So, should you buy the UAG Plyo for Surface Pro?

UAG Plyo Case for Surface Pro 7

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central)

The UAG Plyo is an excellent case for those who want MIL-STD-810G-rated drop protection, but don't want to ruin the appearance of the Surface Pro. Many similar cases wrap the Surface Pro in all-black rubber or leave parts exposed. This case, though, keeps the Pro's appearance intact while looking quite nice too.

This case is also certified with Microsoft's "Designed for Surface" program, making it an officially licensed and supported product. UAG offers a one-year warranty on the Plyo.

Little features like the band that holds the Type Cover in place or the Surface Pen holder make it feel like a complete package. The buttons and ports all work, and none of the Surface Pro's function feels compromised. Even the kickstand is better than I thought it would be considering it is replacing the Surface Pro's. I also like the ability to remove the case when it is not needed.

For those who want a similar case but with a grab handle on the back, or the ability to add a shoulder strap, UAG's $100 Plasma case is a better choice.

Overall though, I think this is a very well-designed case that threads the needle between rugged protection and stunning good looks.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.