When I got home on Thursday, I was greeted by a very interesting package – inside was a BlackBerry Transform Shell and Flip Shell for the Z10. I’ve always had a great experience with BlackBerry OEM accessories, but could these two cases live up to my expectations? Let’s find out.
The Transform Shell was the first case I tried out. The flexible, rubberized corners allow the Z10 to slip right into it with little effort, while providing protection if you place the phone face-down – the elevated corners won’t allow the screen to touch the surface. If you want more screen protection, the Transform Shell comes with a clear film screen protector, but I wasn’t brave enough to try applying this on my own. The last time I did such a thing, I ended up with an annoying series of air bubbles.
Despite trying to protect both front and rear, the Transform Shell adds very little bulk to the Z10. However, if you’ve become accustomed to carrying your phone around naked, the plastic on this case will take some getting used to – there’s just not as much grip to it compared to the Z10’s rubberized battery cover. This may not be as big a deal for owners of the white Z10 however, as it already has a plastic rear.
The Transform Shell, however, has a little piece-de-resistance for which it has been named after – half of it can fold out backwards, ‘transforming’ it into a kickstand. This is a nifty little feature to have if you’re out somewhere and want to watch a quick video on your Z10. It isn’t really stable enough to be actively tapping or swiping away at the phone though, so don’t expect to play Angry Birds with the stand out. This feature will also allow your Z10 to pop right into the Multimedia Dock without taking the Transform Shell off, once BlackBerry finally releases the dock.
After some time with the Transform Shell, I decided to spend a day with the Flip Shell. This case is quite different to the Transform – there’s no screen protector included here, as you have an elegant flip cover for the front instead. There’s also more protection around the sides – the Transform’s sides are mostly exposed, while the Flip only exposes the sides just enough to access the volume buttons, or the ports if you open the flip cover.
Frankly, I was expecting to hate the Flip Shell. For starters, the flip cover means you don’t have instant access to the phone. There’s also a magnet in the cover that turns the screen off when you close it, and turns it back on when you open it, but I’ve heard a lot of stories about this magnet not working properly. If the magnet doesn’t work well, you’ll end up with your screen constantly on in your pocket, wasting your battery life. But I’m glad to report that I actually rather liked it.
The magnet issue never came true, but I did notice that you have to make sure to push the flip cover all the way to the right to ensure the magnet stays put. The lack of instant access wasn’t as troubling as I thought it would be, but if you find that very important, this probably isn’t the case for you. One-handed use also became nearly impossible – you need your other hand to fold the flip cover behind the phone at the very least. Once you’ve done that, the lack of case symmetry still makes it difficult to use the phone with one hand. However, the material of the Flip Shell seems to provide a little more grip than the Transform, regardless of how you hold it.
Just as the Transform, the Flip Shell can also act as a kick stand – with a bit of creative folding of the flip cover, I found three different ways to stand the phone up with the Flip Shell. Once again, great for watching videos, but not stable enough for active use. It should be noted that I have yet to see a kickstand stable enough for active use, so this certainly isn’t an issue unique to these two.
All things said and done, the Flip Shell and Transform Shell are excellent examples of BlackBerry OEM accessories. The Transform Shell is a great case for anyone who wants to protect their Z10 without adding any significant bulk – just be wary of the low-grip plastic at the back. And if instant phone access or one-handed use isn’t important to you, the Flip Shell provides a little bit of extra protection with a very slick look. No matter which you choose however, BlackBerry has managed to pull off a high-quality look and feel that you will definitely appreciate.
For more BlackBerry OEM accessories visit Clove Technology.