[Review] Tuff-Luv Western Leather In-Genius Flip Case
The leather case can be bought directly from the manufacturer's website with FREE worldwide shipping and currently costs £29.99. For an extra £5 they'll use a laser to engrave a custom line of text of your choice.
The pictures on their website are accurate so you get what you see in the pictures.
I won't post high res pictures because I'm not planning on going around the forums making 10 irrelevant posts just be allowed to post external links.
The case comes in a simple plain plastic box, nothing fancy there. The box includes the case, a screen protector, a micro-fiber cloth, a Tuff-Luv plastic card (credit card size) and instruction manuals.
The case is quite large and bulky so it might not suite everybody. It's size is 15x7.5x2 cm (it's thickness grows to 2.5 cm if you have credit card in it). In inches that would be 6x3x0.7 (or 1 inch with cards). In comparison I measured the HTC Double Dip Flip (DDF from here on) which came out to be 14x7x1 cm.
The case has a good feel to it. Everything is soft, the leather is cushioned; you can't stop pushing it and rubbing your hands all over the nice exterior. It's really high quality, the stitching is perfect, it's not heavy, feels comfortable in the hands, and I can confidently say that this will protect your phone like a champ. It comes with two separate holes, one for the back camera (obviously) and one for the noise cancelling mic which while not exactly in the centre of it, was not covered by the case. It doesn't have a hole for the micro-USB port and the stereo jack-in isn't covered at all.
Going on to the interior, we have the hard plastic case that holds the phone in place and on the other side three slots for CC, driver's licence, money etc. The interior is not leather, but cloth.
Everything in the there is a tight fit. It's really hard to push in and pull out credit cards. I put one into each and there wasn't really any room left to squeeze in anything else. Tuff-Luv specifically state that you should only put in three things, one into each slot. While the tight fit can be an inconvenience if you are in a hurry to pull out or put in something, it's necessary as this is the side that will be hanging downwards when you open the flip case. As a bonus you can pull on the strap which in turn pulls out for you the top most slot (essentially the same as how phone pouches work).
The plastic case holding the phone is sturdy and hard. It feels like soft rubber to the touch. Inserting the phone isn't so bad, but getting it out takes some force. I'm willing to bet that the phone would never pop out of this if dropped, which I can't say about the DDF. Especially if you close the flip cover, this becomes a fortress.
You'll lose some practicality here compared to the DDF since it takes more effort to answer the phone and you can't close the flip case while talking on the phone as there are no holes for the front grills. But hey if you're getting a flip case you pretty much expect this anyway.
One IMPORTANT thing that is worth mentioning and which is also recommended by Tuff-Luv is that you should apply the screen protector. The plastic credit card touches the screen and the flip cover has a lot of room to move around which will get your screen scratched over time Gorilla Glass or no Gorilla Glass. That would suck. I didn't apply the screen protector as I'm sure I'd screw it up, the card that Tuff-Luv gives you is included because you'll need it (or your CC is good as well) to apply it.
Another sort of negative thing is that the plastic case holding the phone seems to be too hard and every time I remove the phone I fear that the edges might carve a piece out of the plastic on the phone as the aluminium doesn't exactly overlap it where the two materials meet (and it would suck to scratch the metal part as well), although I'm sure this is just me worrying too much.
Reaching the power button with one hand also got a bit trickier. The phone is big enough as it is, many people complained and we have a tutorial on how to reach the button right here in the forum. Now you have to put your finger over the edge of the cover too, just use your left hand since you have to open the case with it anyway. Pushing the volume buttons got harder as well. You have to apply way more pressure to push them. The problem is that the edge of the plastic case will get in the way; in fact it almost covers the buttons which would be bad. So I'd say this is a minor issue that you should be aware of.
A more serious problem is that it interferes with the camera flash
. The case doesn't get in the way of the camera, however when using flash, it affects the photo. I included two photos of a wall, both taken with default camera settings (I reset to default), same light conditions and flash ON. One, where the phone was in the Tuff-Luv flip case and one where there was no case on the phone. As you'll be able to see, one of the pictures has some halos on it. I can't say for sure whether this a design flaw or whether there' s something wrong with the one I received, but I suspect it's the former.
So to summarise, the case is really high quality and offers excellent protection, but has a problem with the flash.
I personally won't use it. This was my first time using a flip case that opens vertically, before this I was either running naked or had a rubber bumper on and I realised this isn't meant for me. Despite the impressive quality, craftsmanship and the added protection, I found the Double Dip Flip to be more practical since it's slimmer, smaller and faster to open. I'm way too lazy
. I'm sure I'll regret it once I drop my phone on concrete and DDF fails to protect it, but I'm willing to take the chance.
However if you like vertical flip cases and can look past the issue with the flash, this case is an excellent choice and I can't say this enough, I'm impressed by how well it is crafted.