This is a review of DBA Cases Complete Ultra for Note 2: Ultra Complete - Galaxy Note 2 - Samsung | DBA Cases, Inc.
You gotta have a lot of confidence to introduce a new Note 2 case 6+ months after the release of this popular phone. And in such over-saturated market with so many cases - in addition to confidence you also have to bring something new to the table in order to stand out from the crowd. Although DBA Cases has already established themselves with Ultra Complete series for iPhone 5 and S3, let's find out if they were able to pull this task with Note 2.
I don't have any previous experience with Ultra Complete series, so this was the first time I got a chance to test these. The case itself is a dual-layer design. I will talk more in details about each layer further in my review, but DBA took this dual-layer concept to a next level by offering a selection of 4 unique colors for its outer Ultra PC layer and 5 unique colors for its inner Ultra TPU layer where you can buy each one separately or in predefined combos as part of Ultra Complete. This way you no longer locked into the same color combination and able to mix'n'match different PC/TPU colors to dress up your N2 for any occasion. For the review purposes, I requested samples with Blue/Lime and Red/White combos to see how these will look with my white Note 2. In the pictures below, I took snapshots of different variations interchanging pieces of these two combos to give you an idea of how it works.
Now about the case itself. The combo of PC/TPU is very lightweight; on my scale it was 38g (1.4 oz). Inner TPU layer is thin, yet feels very durable. Typically similar dual-layer design cases have inner silicone sleeve for shock absorption which is usually too soft and pulls around the edges. This one is made out of a more rubbery material and holds better around the edges, although you do get some pull next to volume buttons (due to the large cutout). All the cutouts are very precise and aligned perfectly. Power/Volume are not covered, and cutout around those areas makes it very easy to access corresponding buttons. This inner TPU layer can even be used by itself. In addition to back matte finish, the side grip and bottom parts of the case which are outside of outer layer are thicker and glossy. The sides actually offers a very nice textured design for an additional grip - a very important detail. For an enhanced protection, this Ultra Complete design adds an outer PC layer. And let me tell you, I never seen anything like this. This is definitely not your typical Polycarbonate plastic material. First of all it has a very nice rubbery-soft coating which is anti-scratch, thanks to its triple coated process. For the test purpose, I tried to scratch it with my nail, driving it deep into the material - not a chance. Apparently this PC is some advanced Flex material which according to DBA used in bullet resistant glass and cockpit canopy of F-22 Raptor Jet Fighter. I know it's a mouthful, but I was able to completely bend it without snapping it in pieces and it flexed back to its original shape like brand new. I took a picture of that as well. So pretty much it's designed to flex instead of breaking if you drop the case. I also want to mention that this outer layer offers a very decent back and corner protection once assembled together with inner TPU layer. Also, captured in pictures, you get an acceptable lip around edges of the phone so you don't have to worry about putting it face down on the surface. I wish the lip would have been a little bit bigger since I'm using thicker tempered glass screen protector which leaves less margin. But in general, you can put your phone down on it's face without a worry of screen touching the surface or phone sliding across the surface. The same goes for outer layer which adds some nice friction where you don't have to worry about phone sliding across the slippery surface.
Overall, I was very pleased with this product. It's not just another dual layer variation of a typical phone case. From all the reading about this case and talking to Scott (the brain behind this product), I found out how much work went into the design and the selection of the material which made me appreciate it even more. Now, would I consider this to be a rugged case or for active outdoor use? Not really. I think its great for everyday typical use with a decent drop protection to give you a piece of mind. This case would definitely suit anybody who is looking for a thin lightweight case and was considering TPU but also needed something with a better grip and a drop protection. Ultra Complete fits this category perfectly!
Now, here are the pictures. First two shots had flash on which I corrected later by turning it off for the rest of the pictures where you can get a more accurate colors.