Anyone who knows me will happily inform you that I am, as my username implies, rather tech obsessed. I'm not a happy geek when it comes to smartphone cases though, and it's been a long time since I've been able to say I've got the perfect case for my current device. Way back, when I carried an iPhone 5, I swore by my Otter Box for protection. It was bulky, but you could probably drive a tank over it with confidence. The thing is, the iPhone was tiny by comparison to the Samsung Galaxy S8+ that I am using these days. Wrapping this thing up in such a case would be reminiscent of the very start of the mobile revolution: I'd be carrying a brick.
For the past six months my case of choice has been the Spigen Tough Armor, a dual-layer heavy duty protection device that adds very little to the profile of my S8+. My phone has survived a number of drops from height without injury, including those where it landed screen first onto concrete. It's almost the perfect case, but not quite: it has a kickstand, which I don't use often but when I do need it then it's an essential, but it's not the grippiest case I've ever owned (hence the drops.)
So I've been trying out the Speck Presidio GRIP as an alternative. I looked at the plain vanilla Presidio, but this was even slippier than the Spigen so I ruled that out immediately. Ditto for the Presidio CLEAR as this was also slippy with the added horribleness of being a lump of transparent plastic which looked like I had left the phone in it's retail packaging. The Presidio GRIP, on the other hand, seems to have it all: great looks thanks to a patterning of thin rubber strips on the back that wrap around the sides, solid buttons that are truly responsive to the touch, and a perfectly perfect fit.
What it doesn't have is a kickstand. That has been bugging me, even though I've only needed it once in the last week or so the absence has been a pain in the neck. Considering the Spigen is available from Amazon UK for £15 ($20) and the Speck is £21 ($28), you'd think the latter could throw in a neat fold away and unobtrusive kickstand like the former. That shouldn't be a deal-breaker for most people though. What might be is build quality, if you believe some of the Amazon reviews anyway. They complain that the rubber 'grip' stripping does just that and strips away within days of use. There are even photos to support this. I can only go by my own experience, which is that I have experienced no such failure and I'm a heavy user of the device. Which leads me to suspect there might have been a faulty batch of cases, certainly mine doesn't appear to be one of them.
OK, on to the most important thing for me then: protection and profile ratio. There is precious little difference in profile between the Speck and the Spigen, the former being 1mm thicker with the phone in-situ which is barely noticeable. The case provides enough of a lip around the screen so as to save it from scratches when laid flat or dropped, but not enough to interfere with everyday usage. That's a good point. As is the toughness of the 'impactum' polycarbonite that the case is made from. I haven't put my S8+ to the test by dropping it from 10 feet as the packaging claims for survival (I'm not totally insane) but have already fumbled and dropped the phone from above hip height, or about four feet, onto a stone floor and it survived just fine. It landed face first, and the slight bezel did the job with no scratches let alone cracking of the glass.
I like the case, it looks good, it does the job of protecting my phone without making it look like an 1990's reject. I don't even really mind paying £20+ for a case, as the phone it is protecting costs forty times that. I do miss the kickstand though, and the jury is out on whether the Speck will replace the Spigen as my daily smartphone driver or not. One thing I am sure of, neither is the perfect case. If only Spigen could add some grippiness or Speck a kickstand. What do you say guys, any chance, huh, pretty please?