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HTC One (M8): An In-Depth Review of HTC's Dot View Case.
Above all, I do not work for HTC, nor do I receive compensation for reviewing HTC products, or for reviewing them a certain way.
Here we go: I'll give it to you straight. The following is a non-biased review of HTC's Dot View case for the HTC One M8.
The construction on the Dot View case is something that I could not find a problem with. The case features a semi-flexible, hard back cover, with a silicone-type screen cover hinged onto the left side of the back cover. The screen cover is firmly attached to the back cover and conveniently (maybe not for some) springs back into the closed position (lying flat on the screen) once pressure holding it open is released. The only feature I thought could maybe be improved upon is the ability for the screen cover to stay adhered to the phone via a magnet, somewhat like Apple's Smart Cover. While there is a magnet located in the square HTC logo on the screen cover itself, I don't believe that this is enough to prevent the cover from separating a small amount from the phone itself.
Overall rating: 9/10. Reason: screen cover may not lay completely flat with the phone (were talking a very minimal amount of separation here, folks. Nothing too big).
2) Phone Availability.
With the Dot View case, you will have accessibility to most (read: 99.99%) of the ports that you need. This case features an "open" design in that the only points of attachment from the phone to the case are the four corners. This lets you access the ports on the top, right side, and bottom of the phone without hindrance (i.e., the IR sensor and sleep/wake button on top, the Micro SD card port and volume rockers on the right side, and the charging port and headphone jack on the bottom). However, the only port that the phone does not have access to is the SIM card slot, located on the left side of the phone. This is due to the hinge of the screen cover. However, I doubt that you will need to access the SIM card slot that frequently to the point of it being a pain-in-the-neck. For this reason, I believe that the nonavailability to access the SIM port without taking the phone out of this case is negligible. There are cutouts for the Duo Camera, flash, and microphone on the back of the case, so you're good there (probably implied, but this is an in-depth review, so what the heck...). On the front of the silicone screen cover, there is a single square cutout for the front-facing camera as well as the proximity sensor for phone calls. However, the only availability you have for the notification light is through the dots (or, I guess, only one dot) on the screen case. Unless the case is lined up correctly with the notification light, you cannot get any information from the notification light without opening the screen case and checking directly on the phone itself. The improvement here would be to include a small circular cutout (larger than that of the dots) for the notification light, making checking of your phone for phone information easier (red for overheating/charging, solid green for charging completed, and flashing green for notifications.
Overall Rating: 9/10. Reason: no access to the SIM card slot, and little/no access to the notification light (unless you constantly need to access the SIM port (lets face it, you probably don't unless you have a SIM card issue), this is also a negligible problem. However, the notification light thing is another discussion...)
The Dot View case comes with a wide array of notification features that allow you to gain information regarding different aspects of your phone without ever opening the screen cover. Some of these features include volume level, message notification, incoming call notification, voice communication, date and time, and weather notification. These notifications react accordingly to gesture input, although it may take a couple times for the dot view mode to turn on when double tapping on the screen. While the responsiveness is really good, it could always be better. The notifications are also good, but it makes me wonder what else could be integrated into this case to make it better: for example, navigation compatibility, compatibility with apps that aren't currently supported, or maybe the availability for messages to be read via a scrolling affect from right to left of the screen cover...hey, I'm just thinking about what else we could possibly bring to this case.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10. Reason: limited gestures (time will tell if extra features are added, but for now, the 8.5 stays).
4) Phone handling.
As you could imagine, this case does get in the way of many functions that you would already be performing normally and easily without a case on the phone. For example, two-handed operation for the phone requires the screen cover to be swung to the back of the case. This makes me wonder if the "spring back" of the screen cover will wear out over time or not. The handling of the phone this way is a bit of a hindrance and doesn't feel right. One thing I didn't take into account using the same principle was navigation. I always use Google Maps, so for this phone to fit into my phone dock on the vents of the car, the screen cover must be swung to the back of the phone. As you could imagine, I only use Google Maps when I'm traveling a far distance or to an unfamiliar area: this also makes me question if the long-term condition of the screen cover being swung to the back of the phone will wear out the spring back motion of the screen cover itself. Not to mention that when the screen cover is placed behind the phone case, it doesn't lay flat against the back of the phone, since the phone does have some amount of curvature. In other words, if you are going to be using Google Maps, you'd have to take the case off in order for it to properly sit in your car dock (unless you have/can find a dock that will allow the screen cover to be opened (and stay open), but still not be swung all the way back against the back of the phone). I personally found taking pictures to be a pain, because you not only have to keep the screen cover open with you hand, but you also have to prevent it from going so far back as to prevent it from covering the Duo Camera or flash. One may think that these problems arise with such a case, but nonetheless, these problems will persist.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10. Reason: Let's face it...the case gets in the way of performing important functions.
That's really all I can think of as of now. I am going to go ahead and give this phone case a rating of 8 out of 10. While there are several issues with this case (mentioned above), I believe that it does add a nice plethora of functionality to the overall experience of using the HTC One M8 and makes using the phone a more enjoyable experience.
For the price, it is my opinion that the included functionality and features make paying for it justifiable.
I hope some of you get some use out this.
*UPDATE*: After applying a screen protector (which I am extremely OCD about, so I make sure to get it nearly perfect every single time), I noticed that after opening and closing the screen cover, the screen protector seemed to have actually moved toward the hinge side of the case. I am guessing that this is because the screen cover is actually gradually gripping the protector and moving it very minimally. My suggestion for this would be to apply the screen protector more toward the opposite side of the hinge. That way, it would take longer for the screen protector to move to the opposite side. This is a tiny bit of an annoyance, but it does not at all take away from the overall product. The final overall rating I issued still stands. To prevent this even further, you could use a ZAGG screen protector for the HTC One M8, as they (in my opinion and experience) will adhere to the screen more securely, and be less prone to movement.
*UPDATE #2*: Due to the silicone construction, you could imagine that this case builds up a fair amount of gunk. If you are like me, this makes me a bit OCD and so I regularly clean my phone to make it as shiny and new as possible. I guess placing this phone into a pocket doesn't help out, as pockets contain lint and other micro traces of dust, among other things. This is to be expected.