A good mobile phone deserves a good case — ideally one that it never has to be removed from, so that it’s always protected from dirt and droppage. So I invested in a Body Glove “Scuba Cellsuit” for my K750i (got it on eBay). Here follows a review with some pictures.
For me the important things about a case are, in order:
- Doesn’t impede usage of the phone while in the case.
- Provides some protection if dropped.
- Doesn’t make the phone twice as big.
- Provides extra grip, making droppage less likely.
You’ll notice the absence of any requirement for it to look good. In fact, I’m quite happy for a case to look rubbish if it fulfills all the above criteria. Not least because it makes it look less worth stealing.
The Body Glove however manages to succeed at all the above and looks alright too. Not as good as the phone looks without it, obviously, but that’s fine by me.
Phone in case (without belt clip — see below) next to household objects for comparison.
When I got the case I was concerned about the belt clip. This can be turned 90 degrees each way, in 45 degree increments, with a reassuringly solid click. But when added to the depth of the case, it makes the phone twice as fat. I’d rather it fitted in my pocket than on my belt. The clip doesn’t look removeable. But…
But I found some comments on the web implying that other Body Glove cases did have removeable clips. By a bit of trial and error, I found that this one was the same. You have to turn the belt clip to a 45 degree angle to the left, as shown here.
Then gently but firmly prise it upwards all the way around. It should come away without too much force. Here you can see the notch in the socket which ensures it will only come off in that 45 degree position:
And this is the clip itself, with the corresponding sticky-out bit that you’ll have to align with the notch if you want to put the clip back on.
Here for comparison are the naked phone, and phone in case without and with belt clip attached:
Here’s a full frontal. You can’t see much of the screen in this photo because it was taken outdoors, but rest assured the case doesn’t cause any visibility problems — the full screen is easily visible through the plastic. It reflects about the same amount of ambient light as would the naked screen glass itself — but obviously as the surface is not perfectly smooth, the reflections are more broken up. The case is a snug enough fit that the plastic clings to the screen somewhat, which can cause bubbles but I don’t find these offputting. It also makes the phone a little harder to remove from the case.
All the front panel buttons are perfectly usable through the plastic due to the snug fit — no problems there. The bottom seam makes it slightly harder to get a thumb to the bottom row of buttons, but I don’t think it will cause a problem for anyone who doesn’t have a problem with the K750i’s keypad normally.
There are holes wherever holes are required. This includes over the joystick, which is another reason why I wish Sony Ericsson would give up on the joystick idea — I just find them much less usable than d-pads anyway, and they can’t be used at all under plastic, so have to be left exposed. Dirt and pocket fluff are going to accumulate in there.
Anyway, these pics show the holes for the shutter button and zoom/volume control on the side, and the on/off switch and IR port on the top. The play/pause control on the other side is visible in the same way as the zoom/volume control is. The alignment of holes to controls is not perfect, but it’s good enough.
I was really sceptical that it would be possible to use the camera while encased, because of the need to slide open the lens cover. But it does work, just. A rectangular hole is provided below the lens hole to access the cover — by using a fingernail, you can slide the cover open and closed. This becomes easier with practice and/or with the belt clip removed.
The hole for the flash LED is so close to the seam that the small bit of case remaining there folds in somewhat. There probably isn’t much they could do about this other than reinforcing that hole with extra material or completely changing the seam design. It spoils the line of the case a little but it’s not a big deal as far as I’m concerned.
Despite the alignment of the hole not being perfect, the case doesn’t get in the way of the lens at all. What does get in the way is the damn belt clip — at least in the normal upright position. You have to turn it to one side to get it out of the way. Or take it off, and save yourself a lot of bother!
That little hand logo is slightly raised above the surrounding surface and the logo itself is textured. It may not just be for show — it happens to be in exactly the place where my thumb naturally rests when holding the phone to my right ear, which provides a bit of extra reassuring grip but also helps to position the phone correctly to the ear. To a lesser extent, the Body Glove lettering on the other side does the same job for the other fingers. Obviously if you use your left ear you won’t get this.
Overall the case has a really nice “feel” to it. The material and shape provide good grip, but it still feels comfortable against the ear. My one criticism is in respect of the drop protection it offers — the top corners are rather exposed, something which could have been avoided by making the top flap a bit wider or using a slightly different shape around the play and volume controls. There’s about a 35-40 degree range of angles on each corner where the phone would take a direct hit. What’s the betting this happens to me?