Monday, July 18, 2011

Snap-On Cover For Blackberry Curve 8900

The Good: Seems durable, Generally stylish, Fits perfectly
The Bad: More detailed options seem proportionately expensive, Purpose is lost on me.
The Basics: Functional and durable, the RIM Clear Snap-On Cover for the Blackberry Curve 8900 is an ideal fit for that smartphone and it holds up for a pretty decent drop!

I'm not much of an electronics person and I do not have a cellphone, but I do try to push myself from time to time to learn about such things. I thought I ought to go out and try to find something that would allow me to learn about new things. So, I went to the mall and found the RIM Clear Snap-On Cover for the Blackberry Curve 8900.

Right up front it is worth noting two things: 1. This review is not for the Blackberry Curve 8900, it is for the snap-on case for it and 2. My experiences are based upon using the RIM Clear Snap-On Cover for about an hour in a store. While I did every objective test I could do while being watched hawkishly by a clerk, there are some things I could not do (like submerge the Blackberry Curve 8900 to see if the snap-on case would protect it from water, which I was told it would not).

The RIM Clear Snap-On Cover for the Blackberry Curve 8900 is specifically designed for the Blackberry Curve 8900 model Smartphone (it's essentially a tiny computer). The clear plastic case comes in two parts, a front and a back and it is just over 4.3" long, 2.4" wide and .6" deep when snapped together. The basic unit is made of entirely clear plastic. There are decals or colored plastic shells which may be used to jazz up the appearance of your Blackberry Curve 8900, but the basic unit is made of hard, clear plastic only a millimeter or two thick. This is much like the hard plastic toploaders I use to protect trading cards with. The snap-on cover is very light, only weighing a few grams and for those concerned about the weight it adds to the Blackberry Curve 8900 (which is only a few ounces to begin with), that change is negligible and hardly perceptible.

Like a hard plastic toploader, the RIM Clear Snap-On Cover has tiny grooves in the sides and essentially a male and female side, based on the groove on the outside edge of the cover. If one sets the Blackberry Curve 8900 into the bottom half, the sides are snug to the unit and when the faceplate is pressed onto the top, it has a channel which surrounds the inner channel from the bottom portion. One knows it is fully on because it will snap together with an audible clicking sound.

As mentioned before, the shape of this particular snap-on cover is very specific to the Blackberry Curve 8900 (though my ignorance with Blackberrys might be evident here; any that have the same shell and layout as the 8900 would seem to function using this). To that end, the back panel is missing a small strip where one may connect a belt clip to the unit. The belt clip accessory hooks into the back of the Blackberry Curve 8900 at the battery hatch, so one may replace the standard panel with the battery cover that has the belt clip. If one does this, they must slide the back portion of the RIM Clear Snap-On Cover on by lifting the belt clip and sliding it through the hole in the back. This can be annoying (as I discovered) and it may make changing the battery (if that becomes necessary) difficult.

There are holes in the case on the sides of the RIM Clear Snap-On Cover for the Blackberry Curve 8900 for the power button (left side) and the controls and ports on the right side (volume, headphones, USB). The RIM Snap-On cover flawlessly molds around those buttons and the thickness of the case does not prevent the easy operation of the Blackberry Curve 8900, nor does it inhibit the use of the instruments into the ports.

The face of the RIM Clear Snap-On Cover is open at two places. There is a slit at the very top of the faceplate which leaves the camera lens exposed. The little panel above the main screen and keyboard needs to be left exposed for the camera to take pictures or use video functions. The other opening is the field below the screen where the keyboard and other controls are. The RIM Clear Snap-On Cover for the Blackberry Curve 8900 covers the screen to protect that, but it leaves the control panels exposed so one may actually type on it. Given how this is made of hard plastic, if that was not done, the controls would be rendered inoperable.

So, once the cover is on, usability is virtually identical to with it off. I had no problem using any of the keys (including the side keys and the enter or space buttons) with the snap-on cover on. Similarly, the clear unit did not in any way obscure the screen.

Then I got to tossing the Blackberry Curve 8900 around while it was in the shell (I have very little time to do this before the clerks asked me to stop) and I did managed to test the Snap-On cover by dropping it once. Fortunately, this product does exactly what it is supposed to do. From a height of 4 to four and a half feet, this protected the Blackberry Curve 8900 from a single impact without wrecking the Snap-On cover. In fact, the cover did not come off or chip under those conditions.

As a reviewer, it is easy to say that this inexpensive cover does exactly what it promises to do without in any way inhibiting the use of the device it is for, but as a reviewer and consumer, I'm wondering what the point is. Are the makers of Blackberrys truly so cheap as to not make the Blackberry more durable by including these standard with them? Are consumers truly so fickle or outright stupid that they would spend hundreds of dollars on a smartphone and then leave it to fate to get scratched up by not having a hard cover like this?

The RIM Clear Snap-On Cover works just fine, but it ought to be a standard on the Blackberry Curve 8900 to begin with. Given how rigorous I was with the testing of mine, I suspect that this three dollar device could save a lot of consumers a lot of headaches and in real world conditions you're likely to have to change it once in the lifetime of the product if you're a businessperson or once every two or three trips if you're a rugged outdoorsman who just needs a Blackberry Curve 8900 with them when they climb Everest.

For other devices to protect your electronics, please visit my reviews of:
Griffin Technologies Flexgrip Silicone Case for iPod Touch
Jwin Silicone protector for iPad
Griffin iPad Screen Care Kit


For other products related to electronics, please visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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