Review: Mobi Products Protector Cases for Palm Pre | webOS Nation
 
 

Review: Mobi Products Protector Cases for Palm Pre 19

by Derek Kessler Wed, 10 Mar 2010 11:33 am EST

Mobi Products Protector Case

Most quality clip-on phone cases come in solid colors and maybe a few transparent varieties, but the Mobi Products Protector line of cases for the Palm Pre actually come in more than a dozen different designs and textures. For my time with the Protector Cases I sampled three distinct product lines, the standard Protector case, in a metallic red, the Skull Wing graphic Customer Protector, and a Dragon-emblazed soft-touch Lizzo Protector case. While I had little doubts about the protective abilities of these cases (good for a fall here or there, but not running over with a car), the finish on two of the three left something to be desired.

Functionality

Obviously, the first goal of any well-designed case is to protect your phone. That means it needs to be sufficiently thick, but for most they also need to be not so thick that they also make using the phone difficult. That thickness more often than not also means that you won’t be using a Touchstone charger with the case on, which is very much the case with the Protector cases. The magnets are just strong enough that they can hold a Pre in place on the dock, but the distance is too far for any real inductive charging magic to happen.

Mobi Products Protector Case

Unlike many more expensive snap-on hard cases, the Protector cases are surprisingly flexible for their thickness. While that makes it easier to put the case on and remove it later when necessary, it worried me a bit about their rigidity and ability to take a hit and not transfer too much of the energy to the phone. Of course, there’s only so much energy transfer a case can take, but in the end I’d rather a have a case that breaks in two to save the phone than one that flexes considerably and transfers the impact energy to the phone.

Thankfully, the Mobi Products Protector cases are at least designed for easy access to all phone functions and ports. The rim around the gesture area is even pulled back so that your swiping fingers won’t get hung up on and edge. Curiously, there’s also a designed gap along the bottom that’s just the right size for a Treo-style (Athena) dock connector. Look at the bottom of your Pre. Yeah, nothing there except the release for the batter door (which will stay firmly in place so long as a Protector case is installed).

Mobi Products Protector Case

Style

What makes the Mobi Products Protector cases different is the styling options. If you’ve ever walked by a mall kiosk selling just phone cases you may have taken a moment to see if any would fit your magical slider smartphone, only to find that the closes thing to a smartphone case they had was for the BlackBerry Curve. Mobi has brought those graphical and colorful case designs to the Pre and Pre Plus, and while the colors are cool, the designs might leave a bit to be desired.

Mobi Products Protector Case

We’ll start with the standard Protector case, which came in a tasteful metallic red. Looking at the inside and cut edges, the color and faux metallic elements are clearly part of the plastic mix. Scratching this case won’t result in unsightly off-white plastic showing through, though you will still have a less-than-desirable scratch there (the case having done its job and not let your Pre get scratched).

Next up is the Custom Protector case, which I got in a variety that sported a fantastically wild winged skull graphic. It’s crazy, I say. In this case (pun not intended), the base of the case is a milky-white plastic upon which the skull wing graphic was printed. If you look at the slider-edge of the case pieces you can see where the printing process shows its quality. The print bleeds and drips around the edge, leaving a very hand-finished (in a bad way) look to an otherwise interesting graphic.

Mobi Products Protector Case

I had hoped that the application problems with the graphic on the Custom case were an aberration, but upon opening the package for the Lizzo case I was promptly disappointed. The soft touch rubbery finish (think Treo 755p) was awesome to hold, but the edges looked even worse than on the Custom case. Even worse, because it was a material application and not sealable paint, it was flaking and peeling at the edges. That, and the flames and dragon graphic on the back was incredibly uninspired. It’s the kind of thing that a Photoshop user with minimal experience could whip up in less than an hour, no artistic talent really needed here.

Mobi Products Protector Case

Conclusion

Any case’s #1 priority is to protect the merchandise, and that’s where the questions with the Mobi Products Protector cases began. So much so that I wasn’t willing to give it the old college try and test their durability, lest I damage my phone. The soft plastic made it easy to install, but it also made me wonder about how well these cases would stand up to an impact or even light scratching. To make matters worse, the finish quality on the painted graphic cases was remarkably poor. The soft touch paint used on the Lizzo line was a nice touch (again, pun not intended), but the niceness was negated by the poor application.

The Mobi Products Protector Cases are available in the PreCentral Store, starting at $12.95.

Pros

Available in many colors, designs, and finishes

Cons

Soft plastic may not provide much protection