When it comes to cases, I have a love-hate relationship with them. I do feel like I need to protect them from accidental drops (which I am prone to doing) but there are always times I prefer the naked feel of the device, especially when the device offers some nice aesthetics, such as the BlackBerry Q10. Now that I have the BlackBerry Z30, I feel the same, since the back cover is made from the same material as the Q10, however, I thought I'd give the Leather Flip Case a go and see if it would be my go to accessory.
The BlackBerry Z30 isn't the first BlackBerry 10 device to get a leather flip case, the Q10 and Q5 got one but was quite surprised to look back and see that the Z10 didn't get one in leather. Instead the Z10's flip case was made of that soft velvet like material, very micro fiber-like. The Z10 flip case also doubled up as a kickstand. The Z30 flip case, however, is leather, hence it being called a leather flip case. Much like the Q10 and Q5 version there is a little window on the front to let through LED notifications so you can see if you have messages waiting for you without having to flip it open. Something sorely missed on the Z10 flip case. It is sometimes difficult to see in some lighting conditions, though.
The major difference the Z30 flip case has compared to all the other BlackBerry 10 model flip cases is that it doesn't slip over the back of the device. Probably why it loses the word 'shell' in its name. Instead, the Z30 flip case replaces the back cover of the device. When it was known that the Z30 would come with a non-removable battery, many wondered why the back was removable. Turns out it was for accessories such as the flip case. Some could argue that since you're replacing the back cover it isn't really going to protect your phone much. However, I've used the case for about two weeks already and don't feel like it is less protected. For one, the back is actually a lot thicker than the actually Z30 back cover and it certainly doesn't feel fragile enough to break upon dropping it. Missing from the Z30 flip case is the ability to use it as a kickstand. The Z10 flip shell could fold over and turn into a kickstand to prop up your device.
As the name suggest, the case has a leather finish. Most of the back is also leather with just the outer sides being plastic. Inside the flip cover is a micro-fiber finish to protect your screen. The back cover is made up of hard plastic and is thicker than the OEM back cover so it adds a bit of bulk and weight to an already heavy device.
Already mentioned, on the front, you have a little window to see LED notifications and there are also slits for the earpiece at the top and mic at the bottom. On the back, you have a cut out for the camera and flash and again slits for the speakers at the top and bottom. Like most official BlackBerry cases you have the BlackBerry logo on the back and the BlackBerry name and logo embossed on the front.
When closed, the lock button at the top is accessible. So is the headphone jack, volume keys and mute button on the sides.
When it comes to using the device it can sometimes get a little awkward as you have to fold the flip over the back and it is quite slanted due to the fold. The fold also sticks out a bit to the left so it makes one handed use awkward. Two-handed typing isn't too bad though, at least for me but it can sometimes become annoying when you need to type a lot. But it isn't a deal breaker.
A neat thing about the Z30 leather flip case is that you can have the flip closed during a phone call, so it doesn't make it awkward to hold up to your ear. It may look a bit weird though having it close while you're talking away but I have had the flip over during a call once and it felt very awkward. So, while it may seem funny to have it closed it is much more comfortable to use, you also won't accidentally tap something with your cheek.
The biggest gripe I have with it is that you have to have the flip open whilst charging. However, that's the price you pay to have the ports protected while closed. When taking pictures it can also be a bit unwieldy as the flip needs to stay open. So, taking selfies can become a drag.
LED notification window
Have the flip closed during phone calls
Keeps the screen protected
Adds bulk and weight
It can get a bit awkward to type with flip open
Need to keep flip open while charging
Doesn't double up as a kickstand
The bottom line
If you want to cover up you BlackBerry Z30 in business style, the Z30 leather case does the job. It's a flip case I have used for the longest time. I actually didn't think I'd like it as much as I do and it isn't as awkward to use, even with my small hands. The LED notification window is a big bonus and very helpful. And the screen can be protected while you're carrying it around in your pocket.