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Case Mate Tough

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+Nexus18    167

Firstly a huge thanks goes to MobileFun for providing me with the Case Mate Tough, they have a large range of accessories for any mobile device, so it is worth checking them out :)


Many people are against cases for mobile devices as they don't like covering the mobile's aesthetic finish, compromising the thinness, weight and sometimes the feel of the device. Especially in the context of the HTC One S. Nevertheless, one doesn't want to play Russian Roulette with a ?400 device; all it takes is one moment of carelessness or bad luck to undo even the most meticulous of owners. Especially when the HTC One S is prone to bad chipping marks. One bad fall and you face the possibility of a ruined mobile, a postage bill, and a week or two without the phone as it's getting repaired, and a bill at the end of it all.


Of course you could say "well then get a pouch", whilst this is fine when the mobile is not in use and is in the pouch, it doesn't do much good when you are actually using the device, which is when you are more likely to accidentally drop it and I personally find it more of a hassle trying to get the mobile in & out in the first place and thus more likely to drop it.


There aren't many cases to choose from for the HTC One S as the mobile has only been out for a few weeks now and still isn't released in certain parts of the world either yet, so hopefully in the next few weeks, we will see a lot more arriving.


I personally prefer the minimal thin hard plastic cases as they don't add much bulk at all and keep the front of the device looking very clean, however, there is one fault with the majority of this type, they don't cover all edges, particularly the top and bottom of the mobile, where as the rubber skins etc. do.


So onto the review now, it won't be too long as there isn't an awful lot to talk about but there will be plenty of photos :p






The case arrives in a simple see-through rectangular plastic box and on the back of the box it states " Think Rambo, only pocket sized", which I found quite amusing :D

Not much else can be said about this area really :p




A Look at the Tough Case:


Firstly some details:

  • Two layers of protection, a shock absorbent silicone skin that surrounds the back, sides and front edges of the mobile completely & a polycarbonate outer shell that "houses" the main body of the device
  • Textured finish on the polycarbonate shell, which gives good grip and and a nice finish
  • Access to all ports (except the microphone on the bottom) and buttons


The silicone skin is super smooth, pretty thin and very flexible. As you can see we have the cut-outs for the micro-USB port on the left and the 3.5mm audio jack on the top for easy access, however, we don't have a cut out for the the microphone piece on the bottom. The Desire Tough Case has a cut out for the microphone on the bottom. I did a phone call test before and after the case fitting to see how much of an impact this had on my voice clarity. I was told that I sounded fine but not quite as clear or loud with the case off and I also tried another mobile to hear what it was like for myself and I would say the same as well, quite hard to tell the difference though, so not a massive issue but still, I am pretty sure that there should be a hole there.......




And with the right tools (eyeletter punch & a 2-3mm drill piece), there is now a hole for the microphone:




The polycarbonate shell is also thin with a bumpy textured back, which provides more grip and the best thing is...... it's finger print/grease proof! The hard shell feels sturdy with little flex. Near the bottom of the polycarbonate shell, we have the case mate logo engraved and a hole for the speaker.




When the two pieces are fitted together, the case has a very unique look to it, in some ways it kind of reminds me off Batman's new suit in The Dark Knight :p




One S with the Case Fitted:


The case is relatively easy to fit to the One S, a bit of force is required to get the polycarbonate shell on though (and make sure the volume buttons are in the correct slot first!). It is quite tricky removing the polycarbonate shell though without feeling like you are going to break it, so if you are planning on only putting the case on when you go out and taking it off when you're back home, safe yourself the hassle and get a rubber skin or hard plastic shell like the Barely There instead :p


Once the case is fully fitted on the mobile, it feels very sturdy and no risk of the polycarbonate shell falling off.


I won't lie, I prefer the look of the One S "naked", however, the mobile does feel more comfortable to hold in the hand with the Tough case on now. Obviously some weight and thickness has been added on, but considering the protection that you get, it isn't an awful lot. The mobile with the case on measures in at about 12mm thickness (pretty much the same thickness as the Desire "naked") as opposed to 7.8mm and a weight of about 140g (about the same weight as the Desire "naked") as opposed to 119.5 g (my measurements aren't exactly right), it might sound like a fair bit when comparing the figures but in real life it isn't as big of a difference IMO.


Here are some photos comparing the thickness of the One S and the Desire with the Tough Cases on.




As for the power/lock and volume buttons, I find the power/lock button a bit more difficult & awkward to press. The volume buttons don't feel too different.


The camera lens is also below the surface now by a few mm as you can see in the pictures, I am glad that it is like this now as previously it stuck out from the rest of the back by a few mm thus more prone to getting scratches on the lens.


The silicone skin covers the edges on the front, this is to stop dust from getting beneath the screen and the silicone adds about a mm or two above the screen, this is to provide a raised edge for when the mobile is placed flat down on the surface to stop the screen from touching the desk surface.


Here are a few more pictures and a few comparing the Tough case beside the One S to try and give you an idea of the difference in thickness:






There is no doubt that mobile devices could take a few knocks with this Tough case on and still come out working perfectly fine with no damage unless you are extremely unlucky and the screen hits the corner of a desk or something.


I am not going to test this out myself now :p, but when holding the mobile in my hand, I feel more comfortable knowing that it should be ok with the Tough case on if I where to accidentally drop it.

My brother has dropped his Desire twice now with the Tough case on and it is still working perfectly fine with no marks on it.


As for durability in the long run, obviously it is too earlier to tell, but my brother has had a Tough case on his Desire for nearly two years now and it still looks great, there is a small bit of wear and tear on the bottom and top of the silicone skin though.




Is the case worth as much as it currently is?


If you want peace of mind from the daily risk of dropping your mobile but without compromising the aesthetics compared to some of the other extreme protection cases, well then this is a highly recommended case. It may be a bit more expensive than what it should be though but as far as I can see, there really isn't any competition against the Tough case brand currently. This case will offer a lot more protection especially around the top and bottom of the mobile than other cases like the Barely There, HTC Hard Shell etc.


My main gripe with the case is that it hides the sleek look and design of the "S" but that is unavoidable given the nature of a case.




  • Great protection, two layers
  • The mobile feels more comfortable to hold
  • Good grip
  • Fingerprint & grease proof
  • Camera lens is better protected now




  • A bit expensive
  • Hides the sleekness & design of the One S
  • Adds some thickness & weight
  • No hole for the microphone on the bottom
  • Power/lock button is harder & more awkward to press


Thanks for reading and I hope this review has been helpful and as always any questions, ask away :)

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