First time poster here, and I will start with the review of a case I just received, the Leather Folding Stand Case for the Kindle Fire HD 7" (2013), by Forefront. (I cannot post links yet, but it is easy to google). As usual "leather" is a bit misleading since it is PU leather, which is a nice word for leathery plastic. On to the review proper, and I apologize for any language inconsistencies, English is not my mother tongue.
The market for tablet/smartphone cases has been flooded with tons of different original designs and even more clones and knock-offs, and while it is sometimes hard to say with absolute which product copies which, the finishing touches and the quality assurance tend to be dead giveaways.
I ordered the case for 9,99 € + 2,99 € shipping from Forefront UK through Amazon on Friday and received it the following Tuesday, which is unusually fast shipping. It came in a padded enveloppe, together with two goodies : a screen protector and a stylus. But more on that later.
The shell is made of hard plastic that fits the tablet snuggly. It has holes in the back for the speakers and the now slighty sunk buttons are still reachable. The cover is made of two layers seemingly stitched together : the outside layer (synthetic "leather") extends onto the back of the case, while the front layer (some kind of felt) extends onto the inside of the case. Thanks to two magnets on the case and presumably a metal rod in the cover, the case snaps shut just like a Smart Cover (and the Kindle does sleep/wake up on cue). Sounds good so far.
- looks pretty good
- works as advertised (protection and smart cover)
- it is not too bulky for the protection it offers
- relatively cheap compared to other similar cases in Europe
- very strong industrial plastic smell
- does not lay flat when opened
- not very stable when used as a stand
- speakers are covered by… the cover when used as a stand (you read that right)
I should elaborate a bit on the cons.
The smell might go away after a while, but only time will tell. That being said, I have three other cases and none of them smelled so strongly.
The second and third cons could have been solved easily, but as I wrote before the devil is in the details : the "hinge" between the case and the cover would have been perfect were it not for the angled profile of the Kindle's back.
As for the speakers muffled by the case, it is completely inexcusable. Most such cases are meant to be used as stands in landscape mode, and Forefront probably designed the case so that the Amazon logo on the back of the Kindle would not be upside down… however the speakers being below the Amazon logo, they are automatically covered by the folded cover flap. Of course that makes absolutely no sense because the tablet can be used in either position and the Amazon logo is hidden by the case anyway. The trivial solution would have been to put the hinge on the other side of the case.
Lastly, the goodies. The stylus is a generic mass-produced model stamped with a Forefront logo. Worth 1 € at most. I cannot comment on the quality of the screen guard (as they call it) because the one I received was for the 2012 KFHD. I will write to Forefront about it and hope they will send me the right size.
My opinion ? It is probably not the worst case out there, but some of the annoyances (does not lay flat, speakers muffled) are just basic design mistakes and will not solve themselves over time. I would probably not have bought it, had I known about them beforehand.