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Review: Case-Mate Tough Case for the BlackBerry Bold 9650

By Team CrackBerry on 20 Aug 2010 09:48 am EDT
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Case-Mate Tough Case BlackBerry Bold 9650

[ Forums member IndoJabijin gave us a this great review. This post comes from our Community Reviews forums. Post your review and if we promote it to the blogs you'll receive a coupon for free accessories or apps.]

Case-Mate Tough Case for BlackBerry Bold 9650 -- "Our Hybrid Tough case for the BlackBerry Bold 9650 uses the protective power of dual layers. A form-fitting silicone skin surrounds your BlackBerry Bold 9650 completely, absorbing each impact or hard-knock.

Wrapped around the skin is a tough, ABS plastic shell for complete security, adding another level of protection-and making for a firm grip.

If you're one to enjoy the silicone gel cases, but hate the fact that they stretch and get loose over time, I highly suggest you read this review and consider getting this case. It's perfect for you!

So on with the review!


Let me start off by introducing the product. The Cate Mate Tough Case is literally a hybrid case with 2 layers. The outer layer of the case is the hard case that encloses the inner layer of the case, the silicone gel part of it.

Prior to writing this review, I had already put on the case, and I'm too lazy to take off the case and showcase the two layers (I'll explain more in depth later on in the review).

Silicone Gel Case vs. Hybrid Tough Case

Now I know some of us don't really enjoy some of these hard cases that add bulk to our phones, but at the same time wish these silicone cases didn't lose quality over time (which sadly they're known for).

I personally think the hybrid tough case fixes this issue. Prior to even having the case in my possession, I was wary of the fact that I may be adding extra bulk (more than needed) to my phone. When the case arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the case was probably thinner than the average silicone gel case.

It didn't add much bulk at all. In fact, when comparing both cases in my hand, I actually noticed that with the hybrid case, the phone felt lighter. Now I'm not saying the phone won't have added bulk. You do get a tiny bit of bulk on the sides where the ports are, but that's only because they have their own covers and flaps to protect them (I'll go more in depth about it later on in the review).

The case itself, just by looking at it, looks like a silicone gel skin. However, when touching it, it's firm, solid, and tough. An added bonus to this is the fact that the case has a silicone layer, which covers the top and bottom portion of the phone, and moves with ease in case you notice sides are uneven.

Case-Mate Tough Case BlackBerry Bold 9650

Case-Mate Tough Case BlackBerry Bold 9650

Since the silicone gel layer of the case is enclosed in the tough layer, the silicone fits snug, doesn't move around (unless you force it too), and doesn't get loose. So you no longer have to worry about the case stretching, and the phone slipping out because it's loose. The tough outer layer corrects that issue.

The feel of the case compared to the original silicone gel is quite different. The silicone gel cases are quite rubbery in texture. That allows you to have a firmer grip of the phone, but makes it more difficult to put in your pocket, and take out it of your pocket. The tough case if the exact opposite. It's not as rubbery, so the phone slides in and out of your pocket with more much ease, but also feels like if you don't grip it firmly, it could fly out of your hand. I think the fact that the outer layer is tougher and more solid makes up for that.

Overview:

  • Two layers
  • Looks like a silicone gel case but feels like a hard case
  • Fits snug, doesn't get loose or stretch
  • Not much added bulk, actually feels lighter compared to a fully gel case
  • Slides in and out of your pocket easier, however, grip isn't as secure
  • Makes up for this with added protection because of the tough hard layer

Rate: 4.5 out of 5

Charging Ports / Side Buttons

The charging ports and side buttons of the phone are protected with the case. Example:

Case-Mate Tough Case BlackBerry Bold 9650

So they have their own little covers and protectors. This can be a convenience and a pain at the same time. The charging port and headphone/bluetooth port have their own little flaps which you flip downwards to actually reveal them. This is nice because you have a little more added protection, and it also doesn't add much bulk to the side of the phone anyways.

The flaps which cover the ports fit snug in their respective places so you don't have to worry about them coming lose and popping out. I know this can be an annoyance to some people. I also like the fact that the buttons come covered as well.

But as much as I like the covering and extra protection, I wish there was the option of not having it there. Sadly, it comes attached with the silicone layer of the case, so you can't just remove it.

The one annoyance I have with the coverings/flaps of the ports is the charging port one. The actual SIZE of the charging port cover is too small and conflicts with the charger. You can't just pop in the charger because it'll pop right out. You have to actually NUDGE the charger in and apply a little force otherwise it WILL pop right back out. I can see that this might be a pain for those people who need a quick top off in their car or at work. You don't want to worry about the charger popping out when you're priority at that time isn't your phone.

For those who don't those frequent top offs, spending one extra second making sure the charger is securely attached won't kill you.

Overview:

  • Buttons/Ports are protected/covered
  • Extra protection, but not much added bulk
  • Flaps for ports fit snug, don't pop out or come loose
  • However, there is no option to remove them, they come standard with the silicone layer of the case
  • Charging port covering/flap is too small for the actual charger
  • Because of size, the charger tends to pop out of place and needs a little force to place securely

Rate: 3.5 out of 5 - The added protection is nice, but the fact that the charger doesn't fit snug and needs force to securely place can be a big annoyance to those power users who need frequent top offs.


Case Specifics:

The case, overall, doesn't feel cheap. As said before, it fits snug to the phone, and doesn't add any unnecessary extra bulk. The phone feels protected, and just by the feel of the tough case you know that the case can take the extra beating that the average silicone gel case can't.

Since the case isn't completely hard, and has a silicone layer to it, it isn't one of those snap cases. And since the case does have a hard layer, it isn't the easiest thing in the world to put on. Granted, it's not a deal breaker and doesn't require tons of force, but it does require a little more effort than the silicone gel cases. Now you know why I don't have a picture of the layers.

It's not a big inconvenience, but it has the potential to be for those blackberry users who like to do frequent battery pulls. However, a simple soft reset or an app can fix that. The case feels snug in your hands (at least in mine they do), and won't make holding the phone uncomfortable like come cases do.

Overall, the case is a perfect alternative for those stuck between the hard/gel case structure. If you want that good protection, that snug look, and a case that doesn't add a lot of bulk, this is a great case. The fact that it also looks like a silicone gel case, but isn't, is another benefit.

I give the case an overall rating of 4 out of 5. It does have its cons, but I feel like they can be over looked and dealt with.

Reader comments

Review: Case-Mate Tough Case for the BlackBerry Bold 9650

10 Comments

Auto Focus fail...had to rely more on the written review, which wasn't bad. Seen worse written reviews during the Idol! :)

Descent review, but WOW man, someone redo it with less headache causing pictures...its like trying to look at a Magic Eye, and I still don't know what it is

I have the Tour version of this case that I bought before my Tour was replaced with a 9650 and I have no complaints with it apart from the charging slot not lining up properly (thanks RIM). One or two drops so far and no problems.

This case looks very much like the Otterbox Commuter, which I have and like. Does any one know if there are any significant differences between the two cases? On mine, I have no problem with the charging port flap being too small and interfering with the charger. The flap does not always stay in place, but it's not too annoying.

Swapped my Tour out last month for a 9650. The first thing I missed was not having my Otter Box case. I will look at this one when shopping for my case since it looks a little less bulkier than the Otter Box. Is there a belt clip or pouch available for it?

...on my 9650. I'm very happy with it. The charging port lines up perfectly so that's not an issue for me (I think the earlier cases made for the Tour 9630 that were sold for the Bold 9650 had this problem- Case Mate must have made the adjustment). This case goes in and out of the pocket easily and provides great protection- several drops to the pavement haven't left their mark- even on the case. It's a challenge to remove but that's probably why it's an effective case- snug fit = secure fit.