Over the last couple of years, I have owned a lot of Android smartphones right from the popular Galaxy S to the keyboard-touting Desire Z, the almighty Galaxy S2, and more recently a Galaxy Nexus. If you think I change my phone at my will, you are wrong. The reason every time I had to replace my existing phone was because I somehow managed to break it. In fact, except for the Galaxy S and the Desire Z, I have managed to break each and every mobile phone I have owned, including some Sony and Nokia handsets.
My method of killing my phone, totally unintentionally, has varied from a fall in a bucket of water to simply dropping them on a concrete floor from nearly 6 feet high. Every time I used to break my phone, I used to promise myself that whichever phone I buy next, I will use a case or cover so as to protect it from those 6 feet+ drops. I have used a lot of different cases and covers for all my handsets, but I have never used them for more than a week at a stretch. Reason? Some cases are thick, some just have a very poor in-hand feel, some are just made poorly and some don’t offer adequate protection. I have used cases and covers from a variety of companies including the official cases from Samsung, HTC and some from popular third party case makers like Case Mate.
The Case Mate Barely There case for the Galaxy S2 was really impressive, but did not offer adequate protection. So when I broke my Galaxy S2’s screen, and got a Galaxy Nexus, I was more or less sure I would be ordering a Case Mate cover for my Galaxy Nexus as well. That is until I found out about SPIGEN’s SGP Cases. I had never heard about them before, but quite a few users over at Galaxy Nexus sub-forum on XDA were raving about the SGP cases, which was more than enough for me to give them a try.
SGP cases for the Galaxy Nexus are available in two different series – Ultra Hybrid and Neo Hybrid. I got the review units of both the cases, and here is what I think about them.
The Ultra Hybrid line-up of cases for the Galaxy Nexus, and for other handsets, is made up of a combination of Polycarbonate resin back supported by a Poly-Urethane frame. In simple words, the frame has a hard rubber feel to it, while the back has a hard, quality plastic feel to it. Unlike quite a few cases out there, there is literally no raised ‘lip’ on the Ultra Hybrid cases for the Galaxy Nexus. The side lips are more or less in level with the phone, which is something users will start appreciating over time.
Unlike the Neo Hybrid, the Ultra Hybrid has a much better build quality and can be simply snapped on the back of a Galaxy Nexus. The Ultra Hybrid series come in some pretty bold colors, with the frame part being black in a majority of them. They don’t look as good as the Neo Hybrid though, but offer much better protection.
- Superb build quality
- No raised lip
- Does not look as sleek or flashy as the Neo Hybrid
The Neo Hybrid series of cases for the Galaxy Nexus is made up of two different materials. The body part of the case is made of high polymer coated silicone case, while the frame is made of UV coated polycarbonate frame. Unlike quite a few other popular cases, the SGP Neo Hybrid series provides proper protection for your handsets, while adding very little thickness. In fact, the Neo Hybrid case is probably one of the slimmest cases available out there, and yet it manages to provide proper protection to the device unlike Case Mate’s Barely There series.
The in-hand feel of the cover is pretty good and its build quality is also okay, though not as good as the Ultra Hybrid series. Getting the Galaxy Nexus to fit inside the cover is not as simple as snapping it on the back of a Nexus though. Installing it requires quite an effort, and I had to separate the frame part from the silicone case and install them separately.
Ever since I started using the cover on my Galaxy Nexus, each and every friend of mine who took the phone in his hand has appreciated the build quality of the case, its in-hand feel and even asked whether the company offers similar cases for their handsets. Like the Ultra Hybrid, the Neo Hybrid cases are also available in a range of colors including some bold ones like Yellow and Red, which offer a nice contrast to the black silicone part of the case.
There is one problem with the Neo Hybrid cases for the Galaxy Nexus though. The microUSB port opening on the Neo Hybrid is not wide enough to accomodate the whole microUSB charger supplied with the Galaxy Nexus, when inserted, so the charger does not fit properly. It is a loose fit, and a little bit of jerk is enough to disconnect the charger cable from the phone.
- Looks sleek and flashy
- Will definitely make your phone stand out from the crowd
- Slightly raised lip
- Installation is a bit tough
- The microUSB cable does not connect to the phone properly
I would definitely recommend the SGP Neo Hybrid over the Ultra Hybrid just because the former looks flashy, and yet manages to provide adequate protection. However, if you want a no frill, simple looking case for your Galaxy Nexus that provides proper protection to your handset, the Ultra Hybrid case is the one you should buy. The SGP Ultra Hybrid case costs $21.99 and is available in five different colors, while the Neo Hybrid costs $24.99 and is also available in five different colors.
For our readers in India, we will soon be doing a give-away of the SGP Ultra and Neo Hybrid cases for the Galaxy Nexus, so stay tuned!