1. xandros9's Avatar
    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-06-14.24.423.jpg

    Seidio Surface combo for BlackBerry Priv Review

    My relationship with cases is rather ambivalent. I would often go without a case and my time with the BlackBerry Priv was no exception. However, in the light that I have found it nigh impossible to find a suitable glass screen protector for it’s curved display, a case becomes even more important. Can Seidio solve my case commitment issues? Stay tuned…

    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-04-20.03.27.jpg
    Seen with the BlackBerry official “Slide-out Hard Shell with Stand”

    UNBOXING

    The Surface Combo is dubbed the Combo because of the bundled belt holster included in the package alongside the Surface case. Whether I’ll be using it remains to be seen. Regardless, I will comment on it.
    The Surface Combo came in a reasonably appealing and recyclable clear plastic package. Opening it, as per the instructions, was rather difficult though until I manipulated the product inside slightly and out of the way of the buttons.

    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-04-20.05.09.jpg
    "PUSH IN + PULL UP"

    I appreciated that it did not require the use of scissors or otherwise needing me to manhandle the packaging as some plastic packaging tends to demand. (I’m looking at you AT&T GoPhone)
    It’s worth noting that Seidio currently sells this case in your choice of red, blue, or black.

    For comparison, I will be referencing BlackBerry’s official “Slide-out Hard Shell with Stand” which I have owned for a bit.

    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-06-14.24.58.jpg

    THE MECHANICS

    To accommodate the Priv’s sliding nature, and like other cases for this smartphone model, the Seidio Surface is in two pieces that attach and slide together mechanically. A snug back holds onto the rear and a rectangular frame is slid/snapped into place and surrounds the display.
    The bulk added is minimal but noticeable if you’re as picky as I am, and dimensions are virtually identical to BlackBerry’s solution save minor differences in shape. The case also adds extra friction to the slider. It's not a big deal, but its enough so that you can leave your Priv halfway open if you so desire.

    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-06-14.25.09.jpg

    A difference I noticed between both cases is that BlackBerry’s case has a rubber strip placed on the front frame that would be contacting the top of the device’s display. This makes for a frame that better stays in place when slid open but also slightly bulges out awkwardly.

    Seidio’s Surface case does not have anything there which means the case is flush with itself when shut. (Can be seen above) When the keyboard is extended however, the reason for BlackBerry’s rubber addition becomes apparent and the top part of the frame feels loose.
    Frankly, I prefer Seidio’s cleaner lines and if this begins to truly bother me I will enter DIY territory and add some double-sided tape. I could likely remove the rubber on BlackBerry’s case as well and do the same. I don’t think most would care significantly about either issue though.

    However, a bit more significant are the buttons on the Surface. They are oddly loose. They aren’t about to fall out by any stretch, but they wobble back-and-forth more than I’d like. I don’t notice it during normal use but it’s still a negative. I see that it’s how they were installed but would have preferred more solidity. The buttons are a hard plastic. It's like the materials were inverted from BlackBerry's case actually which featured a hard plastic exterior with more rubberized buttons.

    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-21-13.19.45.jpg
    The volume and mute buttons as seen from the inside.

    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-21-13.26.18.jpg

    THE KICKSTAND

    The slightly-raised silver SEIDIO plate on the lower-back isn’t just for style, it doubles as a magnetic kickstand. A much more elegant solution to BlackBerry’s, which involves the flexing and snapping of plastic to stay open or closed. (which frankly makes me feel like I am breaking something)

    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-21-13.22.17.jpg
    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-21-13.22.41.jpg

    Here are the two cases in action. BlackBerry's on the left, Seidio's on the right.

    Much less elegant though, is this kickstand’s effectiveness. It’s much smaller physically and using it feels much more precarious. The Priv with the Surface donned feels like it’s balancing on the kickstand and its opposite corner more often than not, and setting it up on an airplane’s tray table saw more minute shaking than I would have liked. Touching the display corner opposite of the kickstand normally doesn’t knock over the phone, but it moves and wobbles.
    It can’t be used in portrait orientation either. Attempting to do so will simply result in the phone falling on it’s back.

    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-21-13.25.55.jpg
    BlackBerry's case stands tall in this case. Seidio's? Not so much.

    But does it work? Despite the aforementioned issues, it does stay up in landscape mode and otherwise sufficed while I tried to catch up on Frank Underwood’s political machinations and Leslie Knope’s park-related antics.

    A word of warning however, I tried this case with a Qi wireless charging stand and while it did appear to charge, the metal kickstand became worryingly hot within minutes. It wasn't entirely unexpected but it leaves me knowing that wireless charging and this case are mutually exclusive. This may be the deal-breaker for me, but considering that not many people use wireless charging, this is likely a non-issue for most.

    THE FINISH

    The case’s exterior is soft touch. If you’ve handled the soft touch lid finish on a ThinkPad, you’ll be right at home. I know I’ve called the Priv’s back “soft touch” (or will, since this will beat the Priv review to press.) and they’re not too different in feel. It’s nice, it’s very smooth, and I’m a sucker for soft touch. The packaging advertises it as a finish that does not attract lint or dust and that appears to be the case, pun not intended. I’ve noticed that dust tends to accumulate on the Priv’s speaker grill right below the case’s display frame however.
    The case’s inside is also soft touch, except for a large black rectangle of what I presume is velvet. I won’t be feeling it during use but my phone certainly will. Does it make a difference? No, but it’s still a nice touch that’ll treat the Priv’s back cover well.

    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-04-20.07.39.jpg

    THE HOLSTER

    If you’ve seen the case, you’ve seen the holster. Hard non-soft-touch plastic with a mostly velvet interior. You can place the Priv both facing out and facing inwards, but facing in is what it was intended for to protect the display. The velvet makes a lot more sense here now that it’s making display contact and you can also tap into some cool auto-wake/sleep functionality.

    If you’ve used BlackBerry 10 with a holster or pouch, (or have an iPad with a smart cover) you’ll recognize this. Placing the Priv into the holster automatically put’s it to sleep and removing it automatically wakes it. I could reasonably see foregoing the use of the power button most of the time with this holster.

    The holster has a spring-loaded arm that holds the Priv in well (and you can just click the Priv in without manually raising the arm.) and I don’t see that wearing out over time or otherwise slipping. The belt-clip also rotates and it has not given me any reason to worry about it either.

    You can technically put the Priv into the holster naked, but it’ll fall out with any amount of shaking, so don’t do it. Differing corner designs also means that BlackBerry’s Shell case doesn’t fit, but to be fair, neither were designed with the other in mind.

    Seidio Surface Combo for BlackBerry Priv Review-2017-05-04-20.06.58.jpg

    CONCLUSION

    Seidio’s Surface combo has a lot to offer here. It’s soft-touch finish feels high-quality and it’s build feels as solid as anyone would want in a case. It’s held back a teeny bit by it’s fiddly buttons and a lot more by it’s lackluster kickstand, so decide how important a kickstand is for you.

    It’s not for me so I can easily overlook it, but if you like to prop up your Priv in various spots to watch Keanu Reeves kick butt onscreen or bang out a report in Word, this may not be for you. What I can't overlook so easily is the wireless charging issue, but its importance is also up to you.

    The holster won’t blow anyone away, but it’s smart integration and velvet interior make it about as good of an option as it gets.
    But for the rest of you that won’t mind its shortcomings and want a high-quality case and holster, this is it.

    If it counts for anything, the Seidio Surface has only been removed from my daily driver Priv for review photos and comparisons. And it certainly saved it from a nasty faceplant onto the metal floor of a plane.

    The Seidio Surface case is available on both Seidio’s website and CrackBerry’s store for just about $27-30 standalone as of press time. Of course, these may change.
    ("Garnet Red" is currently out-of-stock as of writing)

    The Holster is about the same price but is also available as just a $10 addon, which is of course the better deal if you want to keep your Priv on your hip.

    TL;DR - Solid build, minimal bulk, comfortable soft-touch finish, smart holster with a cool-but-lackluster kickstand. Fellow wireless charging buffs beware!

    Seidio Online
    ShopCrackBerry

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    05-21-2017 02:18 PM
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    05-21-2017 06:27 PM

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