A closer look at the BlackBerry Z30 Transform Shell case

By DJ Reyes on 24 Apr 2014 11:52 am EDT

One of my favorite cases for the BlackBerry Z10 was the Transform Shell Case. It was minimal and while it didn't offer much in protection, I liked the fact that it could double as a stand. I tend to gravitate towards these types of cases. When I got hold of a BlackBerry Z30 and saw that there would be a Transform Shell Case for it too, I had to get one to try out. We actually did a first look at the BlackBerry Z30 Transform Case back in September 2013 but at the time device was not available yet. With more and more people getting their hands on the BlackBerry Z30, there is no better time than to put the Transform Shell Case through its paces and see how it fairs as a case and stand.

The first thing you notice, compared to the BlackBerry Z10 version, is that when using it as a stand you don't have to take off the case from the device in order to prop it up. BlackBerry designed this one so as you just lift a flap on the back that will act as a stand. The Z30 version also has a more plastic finish on it than the Z10 one. It is still a minimal case that covers the back and four corners of the device.

On the back of the case you have your embossed BlackBerry logo and name. The back also has two textures to it. The outer part of the case is a smooth plastic finish whereas the centre part which includes the flap-stand is a bit more rough feeling to add grip to the case, otherwise it would be too slippery in the hand. There is a cut out for the camera on the back too. Since it really just covers the back and four corners of the device, there's easy access to ports, volume keys and power button, as well as the speakers on the top and bottom. And because the sides of the device aren't covered it doesn't feel bulky in the hand. As you know the Z30 is a big device, even putting on a silicone type case makes it bulky for my small hands but with the Transform Shell it isn't so bad in the hand.

With the look an feel out of the way, let's move on to the case transforming into a stand. As I mentioned earlier, the Z30 Transform Shell now has a flap that will act as a stand. With the Z10 version, you had to slip off the case from the device in order to make it stand. In theory the Z30 Transform Shell is better as the device is still covered up while in stand mode, however, it's not always easy getting it to prop up.

It has been designed so that you can stand the phone in either portrait or landscape mode. I'm not sure when you would want to prop it up in portrait mode but you have the option nonetheless. When standing it up in landscape mode, the flap occasionally wants to slip back depending on the surface you're on but for the most part it sits there just fine even if you accidentally nudge the table a little. In portrait mode however, since you're working with a narrower area, a little nudge and it falls. Again, the rougher the surface the better it stands but getting it to sit nicely in portrait mode can be a nightmare sometimes. Like I said though, I can't think of too many times you'll be propping it up in portrait mode anyway.

A nice little touch on the case are the tiny stud-like bits on the bottom and the side of the case. They're on the sides of the case that you would sit it on when in stand mode. This helps to keep it in place when propped up. They're not too big that they are unsightly but it's a nice design touch that didn't go unnoticed on my part.

The Good
  • Doesn't add bulk
  • Lightweight case
  • Doubles as a stand
The Bad
  • Doesn't stand well on slippery surfaces, especially in portrait mode
  • Minimal protection
The bottomline

If you're looking for a minimal case for your BlackBerry Z30 you may want to give the Transform Shell case a try. If anything, I use it for its ability to double up as a stand. Great for when I want to watch a video or two when around the house. Since it doesn't add bulk that's another win for me and my small hands. I can keep the back protected from scratches too. Obviously, being minimal and only really covering the corners it's not going to be a case for those who want that extra protection. You're going to want to look elsewhere. The Transform Shell case is more for those quick runs where you just want to cover it up a little.

The Transform Shell case for the Z30 comes in three colors - black, white and blue/black. You can get it from Shop CrackBerry today.

Purchase Transform Shell Case for BlackBerry Z30 from ShopCrackBerry

Reader comments

A closer look at the BlackBerry Z30 Transform Shell case


I have just bought this case. Looks nice enough, but certainly not very good for propping up the phone. The back kick-out stand has a tendency to come back in again.

One major flaw that was not mentioned is the fact that in the landscape position, it cannot be charged because the ports are at the bottom. Major Engineer design flaw. I do have one though and it is a great case otherwise.

Posted via CB10

I was just about to post the same thing.. Drives me nuts. I use it as my alarm clock (because the OLED is great for that) and I want to put it landscape but I can't because of the freaking charging cable...

yeah that's probably the worst flaw, I don't buy cases that do that because when I put one on I intend for it to be there awhile.

Posted via CB10

At least the Z10 version has both sides open so the charging port area is not blocked and you can flip either side to use as a prop.

I have the Z10 version and I like that it's not bulky and does its job but I wish it had a more prominent BlackBerry logo so others could tell it's a BlackBerry even with the case on.

Posted via CB10

That's a hot case. Love it. Such a smart kickstand.

Probably inspired by Adam Zeis' BlackBerry Bold 9900 battery door cover kickstand.

Surprised no one mentioned that the kit includes an OEM screen protector (rare for BB!)...sounds like this would be a great additional selling point on the 'pro' side?


The biggest issue I have with this case is that it fits so tight that it makes my power button stick, so when I want to lock the phone, it would end up resetting the phone instead.

Posted via CB10

I have been using it for a few months now (bought it from Crackberry store. Yes, I'm sucking up). The flap was annoying me too but it does get better with use. To answer the charging aspect of it, I also bought a small prop-up stand for bedside so I can plug it in and use as my alarm. It works very well and folds up to take with me on trips or to use elsewhere if I need it. I think the heat from the battery has separated the layers of the case in the back as I now have a small bubble. I will definitely get another one if it gets worse or I get tired of it.

Posted via CB10

The reason why I use bumpers for my phone, is because it is less clumpy for the phone. Also I find these newer phones to be beatiful, why would you want to cover up your beautiful phone. I can't tell you how many compliments I have gotten about the carbon weave back.

Just got a black one of these with my white Z30. Looks good. Personally, I've not found the stand to not stay stood at all, and I watch vids on my train journey, and it's a very smooth surface and can be a bit wobbly as you can imagine...

I initially had a gripe about not being able to have the unit on charge whilst using the stand also, but I guess if you could, the volume/pause keys wouldn't be accessible, which I think need to be as the point of the stand is to watch stuff. Also, these buttons are pretty sensitive, and I think there would be a a fair chance of unwanted pauses/volume adjustments with the case being so snug.

Posted via CB10

I was not a fan of this case for the reasons stated above and sold mine for a small loss. I then bought a $10 aftermarket KiDiGi charging pod for placing my Z30 on my nightstand in landscape mode with or without removing my case, but I see they sell for like $25 now on ebay and amazon. Still worth it in my opinion.

We have the white transform shell on a black Z30. Rarely use the kickstand. But it has provided good protection. So we're happy with it.

Posted via CB10

Maybe it should be an upcoming deal of the day?? Have yet to see a single Z30 deal of the day......

Posted via CB10

Have had my Zed30 for over four months now. This device is too pretty to cover up. That said, I dropped it on the coffee table and now have a fine scratch that's barely visible, but I know it's there. D'Oh!

Posted via CB10

I would consider buying a charging pod though if it allowed access to the side ports while charging, unlike the charging dock for the PlayBook.

Posted via CB10

I have the Z30, all the BlackBerry official accessories, as well as Otterbox cases. I would say the BlackBerry Transform case provides only minimal protection. Moreover, the flip out stand on the back is too flimsy to hold the phone upright in either position. Although I would recommend most other BlackBerry accessories, as well as the Otterbox cases, I would not recommend the BlackBerry Transform case, unless you can find it on sale. Note that it comes in three colours: black, white, and black/blue.

Posted using my Z30

I have this case and when I try and prop my Z30 in landscape it always, always falls over. If I swipe the device when it's propped in landscape, it falls over. Wish I had never purchased it. I wanted the flip case but you can charge it (well it's not easy to insert the charger with the case on) so I'm stuck with this one.

I also rock the Z30 Transform case. I love the minimalist protection, but the case is really slippery. I can't count the amount of times it's slid out of my hand. The prop stand does get better with repeated use, but it still is a tad tricky to get it to stay up sometimes. And to venture an answer to your question about why you would want to stand the phone in portrait, I would say BBM video comes in as a strong contender there! ;)

Got this case since day one and its pretty good.

Even dropped my phone a few times with the case on and it does protect the screen and phone.

A must buy. No doubt.

Yes it's a BlackBerry. If you have something bad to say... speak to Easton!

By far the best case! I've got two of them one in black and the all white one. Actually protects really well. I've dropped my phone a few times with no damage done to the phone. Surprisingly! Not even the sides are scratch, bent dinged or whatever. Guess the weight of the phone helps that fact on impact it hits the corners first. If it wasn't for the case my corners would be smashed. Highly recommend.

 BlackBerry Z30  Z30STA100-5/

Somehow I have managed to loose 2 of the rubber studs... so kickstand is not an option anymore..

Posted via CB10

I use mine in portrait mode all the time. Sits on my desk next to my monitor.

Posted via CB10

Case works well as a minimalist case. So-so as a kickstand.

Surprised how few cases are available for the Z30.

This and the OEM Holster were main cases I've found other than generic cases.

Posted via CB10

I bought it and honestly it was terrible hands down the worst blackberry case I ever bought thankfully I got on the carbonite trial and that case is awesome...

Posted via CB10

My z30 was two days old when I had its screen broken because I was replying on it
Couldn't find a leather pocket pouch for my z30 and the cost was harmful..
I will never buy a phone again if I don't find a pocket pouch for it before buying it

Posted via CB10

Otterbox defender. I've had mine on for a couple months now and it's already showing wear. I'm not super hard on phones but I want them protected more than the transform will. Costs too much not too

Posted via CB10

Why no front view?

I am always worried about the phone falling flat on its glass face, so I'd like to see the front view, how well the corners are covered and how this might help in case of such a drop.

"No Q10?" -> "Buy from Chen... "

If it's like the Z10 transform case I can tell you it actually protects pretty well. Has my phone in this case over the last year and it took some falls landing on the screen side down. No damage. The 4 corners keep the screen raised up. It's really a great case.

Z30 / STA100-5 / / T-Mobile USA

The Z10 version protected my phone really great and I loved it even though I never really use the stand part of it.

I'm waiting on the Z30 version. It's a shame they didn't make it exactly like the Z10 so you could chose what side to prop it up on but the review seemed to say it protects in the same way. Will be glad to get my hands on it because just a day naked and I already scratched the paint on the aluminum colored chin. :(

Z30 / STA100-5 / / T-Mobile USA

I have this shell. It is most useful in landscape stand mode and maybe adds some protection.
My main complaints are its ugly and the grip is not as effective as with the bare back cover, the phone gets hot with the transform shell unless in stand mode, network reception is not as good as without, and the Z30 does not fit in the leather pouch anymore.

The best case I have purchased thus far is the silicone Z30 sleeve from Verizon Wireless. This case does not ads bulk, fits snuggly and protects against drops and bumps. All this for only $19.95.

Posted via CB10

It's alnost completely useless. The stand is on the wrong side to allow charging. The stand is too flimsy to trust. The only redeeming factor is that the package contains a decent screen film.

Just wanted to chime in too, I got this case and all the problems describe above I have the same issues too. A kickstand should work period!

The stand's not great but protection is decent. I've dropped my Z30 several times in this case, sometimes on pretty hard surfaces, with no damage whatsoever.

Posted via CB10