First lets start with the Kaycase Soft Gel TPU Case. The cheapest out of the 3 cases in this comparison,it still has a very good fit, and like most TPU cases on the market, offers abrasion protection, and some degree of drop protection. The Kaycase has an open power button hole that won't block the IR blaster, open micro usb/headphone access, and covered volume buttons molded as two separate buttons. The button is semi stiff and is not likely to be hit accidently. It is a pretty plain case, and it seems like a great basic case. My own issue with it was that with subsequent removals and installations, the phone itself can scuff the inside of the TPU, causing it to look cloudy. Over time it started to look like oxidized clear coat, and I didn't really want to use it anymore. Below are some photos of the case on my phone. The little button on the back is for my Tetrax mount, so please disregard that little detail.
Overall, I would recommend it to people who don't want to spend a ton on a case, but still wants to get that extra grip. It also comes in blue/black/smoked. You can see in the photos that the corners are a bit foggy from the phone scuffing it internally, so I would not recommend the clear.
Next, the Supcase Unicorn Beetle Hybrid Case. Six dollars more at the time of writing, This case is in my opinion far superior in terms of aesthetics, as well as possibly providing additional protection against back impacts (I'm not an expert on this as I rarely drop my phone, so take any opinions here as just that). I have seen photos of the black one here in the accessories forum and was very impressed with the fit and finish, so I bought myself a red one to check it out.
The red sections are made of a TPU that is stiffer than the Kaycase, and thus is a bit more difficult to get on and off the phone. The back is a frosted polycarb hardshell that together with the TPU and the weight of the phone makes a very satisfying and solid thud when placed down on my wooden desk. Around the midsection of the case on the back are two slightly raised sections that make the case grippy without having to wrap one's fingers around the front. There is a ring immediately inboard of the red where the polycarb is polished, giving the case a cool contrast between shiny and matte. The camera and flash cutouts are precise and recess all the components for some much needed protection, as opposed to having basically zero recessing of those components without the case on. The camera/flash cutouts are separate and therefore covers a tiny bit more of the metal back. This is the only case of the three that covers the metal on the back completely.
Along the sides we have open microusb/headphone jacks, covered volume control also molded as separate buttons, which are stiffer than the Kaycase and therefore even more resistant to accidental presses. On top there is a separate smoked power button that will not block the IR blaster. Since the power button is not molded in to the case, it is easy to hit and offers good feedback. The case also shipped with two additional power buttons in case you lose them. Along the front of the case, there is a glossy bevel between the screen and edge and the sides. There is also a slight lip around the screen, though it is not very deep. If you're used to placing your phone face down on a table for any reason, I would recommend making sure that whatever surface you place it on is nice and flat. Out of the three cases here, this seems to be my personal favorite so far since as I mentioned before, I don't tend to drop my phone so I like the slim fit and the aesthetics of this particular case.
Finally, we have the Seidio Dilex. I had this case as the Active for both my OG Evo and then the Evo 4g LTE, and i loved using it as the design of it allows it to be removed very easily, yet offers pretty good drop protection, at least in urban enviroments, as I have not had the misfortune of testing its durability in the wilderness or in the presence of a bunch of rocks.
For those of you that have experience with the Active version of this case, The lugs in the silicone case are now a little thicker, and have a ribbed pattern on them, presumably to increase grip. As i have never had a problem with the previous smooth design, to me it just seems to make it look more rugged.
The case is a two piece design, with a silicone case base layer, that is stiff enough to be used on its own, but looks much better with the hard exoskeleton wrapped around it. The exoskeleton is covered in a semi-metallic looking rubberized paint that feels like the soft-touch plastics on the back of the Nexus 7. Changed from the previous Active design is the top section of the exoskeleton, which is now one solid piece as opposed to just gripping the corners like its predecessors. The rest of the exoskeleton fits flush in to the recessed sections in the silicone, and the corners wrap around tightly and is also flush with a bit of manuvering. The lip around the screen is about two credit cards thick, and will raise it quite a bit off any flat surface you may place it upon.
Around the sides we have open and fairly deeply recessed microusb/headphone jacks. It is important to note that while the micro usb port is deeply recessed, the cutout is wide enough to accommodate pretty much every kind of micro usb connector that I have. The headphone jack however might be a bit problematic for aftermarket 3.5mm tips that feature a wide barrel right after the plug, like the ones that Neutrik offers. The power button is covered and unlike the supcase, it is a part of the silicone base so the IR blaster will not function through it. The volume buttons are covered, and molded as two distinct buttons. Both the power buttons and volume buttons are molded in the softer silicone compared to the TPU-sided cases, so they are easier to hit, although the inherent required effort to click the bare buttons seem to be sufficient to protect against accidental pants pressing.
The back of the case features individual cutouts for the cameras and the noise cancelling mic. The camera/flash element is one big opening just like the Kaycase. Also of note is the glorious metal kickstand that goes perfectly with the improved boomsound speakers on the M8. The kickstand in its closed position is held in place by a small magnet, so it will not come loose and flail about. It will only prop the phone up in landscape mode, and has a nice little click when you close it. The viewing angle is perfect when on a desk about a foot away.
This case is very simple in its execution. I take pretty good care of my phones, and I use it for music in my car so I'm always plugging and unplugging the micro usb and 3.5mm. I like that this case offers a pretty good measure of protection without blocking ports, which has always turned me away from the Otterbox cases, as well as my Trident Kraken AMS on my Evo 4g LTE. The color contrast is subtle from the front, and the metallic soft touch exoskeleton looks sharp in the back. It is a fair bit thicker than both the Supcase and the Kaycase, but I have a feeling that while I am digging the Supcase right now, that eventually I will go back to my favorite for 3 generations of phones not after long.
Well thats it for my first impressions of these three cases, each offering different levels of protection at different price points. For those that are concerned with lint, the Supcase seems to have attracted the least amount of lint out of the three in my jeans pocket, with the silicone of the Seidio picking up a bit more of noticeable dust, partially due to it also being black. I have a Nilkin tempered glass protector on my phone, and all of these cases fit without pushing up against the screen protector, so i'm not too worried about it lifting. I haven't seen too many photos of cases in more flamboyant colors so I hope that the red lovers out there lurking about can get a better idea of what the Unicorn Beetle Hybrid and the Seidio Dilex look like on our device. I apologize to tapatalkers for using such big images right in the post, but i personally find it tedious to have to click on a bunch of thumbnails while reading. I will leave you with a few more pictures of the three cases side by side for size comparisons.