BlackBerry has updated their Transform shell cases for BlackBerry 10 smartphones and they are now called Flex shell cases. So called because the back can flex outward to form a stand. There was a Transform shell for the BlackBerry Z10 and Z30, both different in design and now the Flex shell is a pretty nice update to the design. I was very fond of the Transform shell case for the Z10. It was one of the first cases I used on my Z10 and one that stuck around for a long while. The shell cases have always been of minimal design and minimal protection but they're made by BlackBerry so I always give them a go. I wasn't too fond of the Z30 Transform shell. It was a nice case but not too great when it came to using it as a kickstand. And that's where the new Flex shell comes in with it's new and improved design.
The Flex shell case for the BlackBerry Passport is very similar in looks to the Hard shell case. Minimal protection, only covering up the corners as well as the back. While the Hard shell case has a rubberised finish on the back, the Flex shell has a leather finish.
As a kickstand, it really is free standing this time. I say that because the Z30 Transform shell wouldn't stand for long, one tiny nudge and it was gone. The Z10 version was pretty good and as I said, it was one of my favorite Z10 cases. With the Flex shell, they've added an extra piece that acts as a place-holder and so it keeps the stand piece in place. The Z30 Transform shell didn't have such a piece, hence it wasn't sturdy enough to keep it upright. The Flex Shell stand folds up nice and flush, too.
As a case, it's very minimalist. It's a bit slippery though, due to the leather finish. The Hard shell offers a better grip but I've opted for the Flex shell as I like having a kickstand. It's great for BBM Video calls, I can just prop it up on my desk and chat hands-free. The lip on the front could have been a little higher, though. It's just about level with the keyboard that if you put it faced down, it could touch the surface but the screen won't, which is a good thing.
Each time BlackBerry release a kickstand type case, they've come up with a different design. The Flex shell is by far the sturdiest design and I like it a lot. I just wished it had a little more grip to the texture. It's not too much of a deal breaker for me though. You'll also find a screen protector inside the BlackBerry Passport Flex Shell box, that's always a nice touch.
- Sturdy design
- Fully free standing
- NFC friendly
- Comes with a screen protector
- Doesn't cover all the sides, just the four corners
- Could have more lip
- Dirt can collect between the slits in the back
The bottom line
If you don't mind the minimal protection, it's a great case that can function as a kickstand too. Very handy for BBM Video chats or even for watching videos while at your desk. It's certainly the most sturdy kickstand case that BlackBerry has made so far. The Passport is already a big device and for those with small hands, such as myself, I gravitate towards cases with a very thin profile and the Flex shell case is one of the thinnest you'll find (along with the Hard shell case).
The Leather Flex Shell case for the BlackBerry Passport is available from Shop CrackBerry for $34.95