When it comes to cases for your phone, there are many different options if you own something popular like a Galaxy or iPhone. But if you own something like a Huawei Mate 9, you probably won't be finding a wide assortment of options at your local electronics retailer. Luckily, there is a decent assortment from which to choose online spanning various manufacturers and today we will get a chance to check out three from a company called Olixar.
You might not be familiar with the brand, but the company produces an ample selection of accessories that include protective cases, glass screen shields, smartphone camera lenses, Bluetooth speakers, and more. We have three different options from Olixar for the Mate 9 - the Flexishield, Ultra-Thin, and X-Duo.
Olixar FlexiShield Huawei Mate 9 Gel Case - $7.99
The Flexishield is a case made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). If you have never felt TPU, it feels like a soft plastic that is very malleable. Sometimes it can feel a bit sticky, but in the case of this model, it feels relatively smooth but offers just the right amount of tack to it. This means that it probably won't slip out of your hand and it won't slide across a smooth surface.
The fit is snug all-around and still allows good tactile feedback when pressing the power and volume keys. As for protection on the front side, there is a sizeable lip that will easily protect the front display if the handset is placed face down. The Flexishield also features all the necessary cutouts for ports on the device and has a generous cutout on the rear that leaves the fingerprint reader unobstructed.
Olixar Ultra-Thin Huawei Mate 9 Gel Case - $8.99
The Ultra-Thin is the thinnest of the bunch and also made from TPU. While TPU can sometimes feel extremely sticky, the Olixar feels fairly smooth in hand and offers just the right amount of tack so that it does not slip out of the hand. The fit is tight on the corners but is a bit loose around the left and right side, which is typical of TPU case that is this thin. The case also includes a minuscule lip around the screen that will prevent scratches on the screen if placed face down.
Although the TPU covers all of the buttons on the device, it still offers a decent tactile experience when pressing the volume and power buttons. All of the appropriate cutouts are available for the 3.5mm jack, IR blaster, USB Type-C charging port, camera (flash and sensors) and bottom speaker. If there was one complaint about the case, it is that since it does hug the perimeter of the fingerprint sensor, it does make unlocking the phone a bit awkward, due to the added depth from the case, until you get used to it.
Olixar X-Duo Huawei Mate 9 Case - $25.49
The X-Duo is a two piece case with a rubber inner sleeve and plastic outer rim. It's a two-part system that is designed to protect your phone from drops. Unlike the previous TPU cases, this case has a matte finish with a carbon fiber design that feels slightly slippery in hand. The fit of the rubber sleeve is snug, but the outer plastic rim feels extremely thin and doesn't quite hug the left and right sides of the phone all that well.
All the appropriate cutouts are in place, with the fingerprint reader area being a little harder to access due to the added thickness of the case. Luckily, the volume and power buttons feel good, offering a very distinct tactile feeling when pressed. While the X-Duo is the most expensive out of the three, it is definitely the least impressive in terms of quality and might not be able to protect the phone if it is dropped.
The above are a few examples of cases that are available for the Huawei Mate 9. They range in price and also provide different forms of protection. While the TPU ones provide the best bang for buck some might not like the glossy look or the rubbery texture. Also, there is the issue of yellowing that generally occurs after some time and how well they will hold up. Unfortunately, the most expensive case this go-around, being the X-Duo, was a bit of a let down in quality, since the plastic frame felt extremely thin and cheap.
Naturally, if you choose to make a purchase, the decision will be yours, but at the very least it does go to show you can't always judge an item by its price.
I'd like to extend a big 'Thank You' to the folks at Mobile Fun UK who supplied the Olixar cases for this review. If you are interested in purchasing these and other cases, you can pick them up on the Mobile Fun website.