I’m a dropper, a slipper, a butterfingers, the type of person who knows if the phone can drop at the worst time, it will. So testing the snappily named Spigen SGP Google Nexus 4 Ultra Thin Air Case for my Nexus 4 was something I took seriously. Mobile Fun supplied the case for review, and I got on the… case. Well, I got the case on to be more precise. For £17.99, initial impressions were good. What impressed me first of all was the packaging. Its rock solid and just made me feel like the product inside was going to afford me the same level of protection. The chances of this coming out of the post damaged in any way are exactly zero. Its just that well put together, so anyone receiving it as a gift will be very happy.
The ultra thin is one of those all-in-one pieces that snap onto the back of the phone, and adds barely any bulk to the phone, especially compared to the original Google supplied bumper that came with the phone. Since the only other case I’ve used on the Nexus 4 is the original bumper, I have to say that the change in the type of case felt like a bit of a revelation. The Nexus was already a little bit wider than I was used to and the official bumper exaggerated it. Spigen did a nice job in the design. It feels slimmer in the hand, noticeably so. And nice with it.
As this is an all in one piece, the trade off is between having the flexibility to put the phone in and out of the case and not being so loose that the phone will come out of the case at the first fall or hard knock. The Ultra Thin manages to walk that fine line very close to the edge. I feel it will give me protection, but its not something I’d have enough confidence to run a drop test on even carpet to prove. Its a shame, but if you’re buying this, you just aren’t going for Otterbox levels of safety. This is about having more bling for your phone, not covering it so your handset can’t be seen. For this, it works. The top and bottom of the phone have long cut-outs so the microphone, charger and headphone ports are easily accessible as well as another one for the speaker grill on the back of the phone. The problem where you have to dig in past an extra level of casing to get to the power or headphone jack just isn’t there. Sweet.
Along the sides of the phone where the power button and the volume rocker sits, there are dedicated cut-outs for those buttons. I’ve had cases which made me want thumbnails to turn the volume up – this isn’t a problem. After a couple of hours, I genuinely couldn’t remember if it had been any easier to get to the volume rocker when it didn’t have a case on. Of course I know it should be intellectually, but I couldn’t remember it. I just got used to it that quickly. Maybe I’m the adaptable type, but in this case the Ultra Thin really helped.
The front lip of the case is probably little more than a millimeter thick over the screen of the phone and grips on right at the edges so you absolutely have the maximum screen estate to slide your finger over without impact. When your finger does hit the case, there’s no feeling that you’re coming up against a hard edge to cause you problems. I’ve taken to using the side edge of the case as a guide marker when I’m scrolling up and down long pages or using scroll bars.
I’m a fan of function over form, but as with everything, its horses for courses.
The bad: As I’ve stated earlier, I had the original bumper and was happy with it. When I tried the Ultra Thin however, the extra width of what I think is a 6:10 ratio of the Nexus 4 made its fit less than comfortably in my hand. The Spigen Ultra Thin makes this one problem vanish. It also doesn’t fit as tightly as I’d like in a perfect world, which makes me fear for the screen if the phone fell flat on its face on hard ground. The thing is, that’s not the point of this case. It provides protection against fumble fingered people like me.
The good: Its sleek, snug and doesn’t bulk up the phone in any noticeable degree. When I saw the faint scratches on the case, I’m just glad it was on the case and not on the phone. It does its job admirably.
The one thing I would like to see is the case fit a little snugger around the phone so I don’t have that background worry that the case will let the screen jump forward and hit whatever its comes into contact with on the terminus of the drop. As long as you’re reasonably sensible, you’ll never have to find out the hard way.