Review of Zerolemon Zero Shock rugged case for Note 2 w/lots of pics!!!
This is a review of Zerolemon Zero Shock rugged case for Note 2. ZeroLemon
I can't believe I'm finally reviewing a rugged case for Zerolemon 9300 mAh battery. It was just like yesterday when they announced about rugged case for their extended battery... wait, that yesterday was actually over 6 months ago But as they say, better later than never. As I understand it correctly, delays had to do with ZL wanting to introducing rugged cases around the same time for their entire line of extended batteries for different phones. With Note 2 we had an additional delay due to uncertainty with Note 3 size right before its introduction where nobody knew if its going to be the same. But either way, case is released, so let's take a closer look at it.
It looks like Zerolemon approached the design of this rugged case by basing it on a popular Defender mod. Why reinvent the wheel? You take what already works and improve it. That's exactly what ZL has done, starting with inner plastic shell and wrapping it around in TPU case. Its a same idea as Otterbox Defender where you introduce a cutout in the back plastic panel to accommodate ZL extended battery. A clever improvement of this design was to have a removable back panel to use it with OEM slim battery and to be able to do that without taking inner plastic shell apart. Furthermore, you can also use an extended double-capacity battery with a same setup. The point of being able to go between different battery sizes while keeping inner shell intact is very important. The latches that hold inner shell together will have some finite lifetime, and constant latching/unlatching will compromise its reliability. Being able to go easily between different size batteries has a lot of benefits. We all know 9300 mAh or 6200 mAh extended batteries take longer to charge. Once you run out of juice on 9300 mAh, power down your phone and swap it with another battery very quickly while 9300 mAh can go on one of those "fast" 600 mA wall chargers.
As I mentioned above, inner shell is made out of plastic. I'm sure it will do a good job protecting the phone during a drop, but I found the plastic material used in this design to be brittle and somewhat cheap. I know ZL is trying to keep the cost under a budget, but I wish they would have used plastic material similar to Defender. Outer shell is made out of TPU material identical to TPU case that came bundled with 9300 mAh battery. It does feels a bit slippery on the back, but it's compensated with an improved side grip bumps. Those definitely will come handy since you are dealing with a bigger and heavier bundle. Together with Note 2, ZL 9300mAh battery, and the case I measured it to be 356g with dimensions of 157mm x 87mm x 20mm. The case is actually a bit thicker than Defender. To add to its rugged appeal, all the ports are covered, everything from headphone jack, to s-pen and micro-usb port. And speaking of micro-usb port, that port was not easy to open, something I might consider cutting out moving forward. Another mod which I probably will do around micro-usb port is trying to widen it a bit with dremel tool. The port opening fits Samsung slim OEM micro-usb connector, but it was a problem with most of my other micro-usb cables that have a bigger connectors. I also would like to add that Volume up/down and Power buttons are easy to press with a nice tactile response, much better than original TPU case.
Although promised originally to have built-in screen protector, it was removed before shipment of this case - in my opinion a wise decision. I do use VITREO tempered glass on my phone, and there was no issue with fitment since it's only at the top where extended piece of front bezel is making a contact with my screen protector. I assume that was part of the design for original built-in screen protector support. Another important part of the design is a belt clip with a holster, very similar to Defender. As a matter of fact, Defender case went into this holster like a butter and I was able to securely latch it. The belt clip is easy to rotate for vertical or horizontal position, and as a bonus it latches to form a kickstand. It's a very convenient option since you can put rugged case facing in or out into the holster.
Overall, if you need a rugged case for your Note 2 and Zerolemone 9300 mAh battery, this is the only clear choice for you. Yes, you can try Defender mod but it means irreversible modification of your expensive Otterbox case. If you decide to use fake cheap Defender case, it's rubber outer shell doesn't stretch as well. So in reality you are down to one choice, and for $23 it's a good value. Is this a perfect case? Considering quality of the material and the fact that case doesn't fit the phone 100% tight (there is some noticeable movement when you hold the case with two hands by the opposite sides and try to twist it), there could be room for improvement. But I don't think any of these negative points will compromise rugged protection of Note 2, and you will feel more secure carrying your phone with Zerolemone 9300 mAh battery in comparison to original TPU case.
Here are the pictures.
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After posting my review, I got a feedback from Zerolemon guys with some important points I would like to copy'n'paste below:
1) We are using the same plastic material as Otterbox for thr inner case. The structural strength of the inner case is weaker due to the back being craved out for the extended battery. We are able to make it the same strength as otterbox case but that requires us to make the case even larger to provide more space for the plastic. We are working on the nexf revision with other materials such as aluminum to see if it can provide a stronger structure strength without increasing the cost too significantly.
2) Initial batch of case did not include screen protector due to the bubble effect. All new batch of all colors do come with Screen Protector now.
3) We understand there's a bit of a movement on the x axis inside the case. That is in fact the battery moving a bit. Without the x axis gap, it will be very difficult for our clients to remove the extended battery. We looking to reduce this gap on our next revision
4) Given the case has a removable blackplate, we believe clients will unlatch the inner case less frequently than other brands. In fact accessing the microSD and SIM card requires user to only remove the blackplate or battery.
The Following User Says Thank You to twister6 For This Useful Post:
I just received my case yesterday as well. This case in my opinion is very good with the exception of few things that can be better. Be prepared to use two hands when taking the phone off the holster. I am also thinking about cutting out the port openings as it is is extremely hard to reopen them once there closed. The volume and power buttons are much easier to press than the tpu case that came with battery but they are to sensitive in my opinion. Sometimes I hardly even touch the buttons and I get a response. I have read on Facebook that you can cut the foam off the back plate and then use the back plate over your zerolemon battery. This is supposed to fix the issue with the phone shifting inside the case. Here are some pictures I
found on zerolemon's Facebook page.
Since I made a comment in my original review about case flex and then mentioned about someone talking about adding original battery cover on top of Zerolemon 9300 mAh battery, I decided to go ahead with this "mod". All you have to do is remove the foam piece from a battery cover. Not exactly an easy task since they used a good sticky tape. I ripped the foam off and then "rolled" the sticky residue with a remaining bits of foam with my thumb. Once everything is removed, you still get sticky glue layer. Just cut out a little piece of paper and put on top of it, otherwise your battery will get stuck to it - VERY IMPORTANT, make sure to put a piece of paper on top of the remaining sticky residue.
Afterwards, battery cover goes on top and as a matter of fact it actually latches in. Went right under the camera opening side without a problem, and on the other side I put a little bit of pressure which cracked it (you can see it in the pic), but still works ok. It will not be 100% flush, but once you put outer TPU shell, you will not see anything at all - perfectly even and smooth. Now it feels very solid, no flex at all - the way it supposed to be. Unfortunately, it didn't fix a problem with volume up. For that, you probably will need to put a piece of scotch tape around inner part of volume buttons pushing on the phone - that will add a bit of extension to push on Note 2 volume button. Also, I didn't notice any issue with a little frame piece above the edge of my tempered glass. You do have to keep in mind that if you want to use this battery cover with a regular Sammy battery, you will need to add some spacer to compensate for removed piece of foam.
Twister I have to thank you in your quest for all things GN2.
Batt life was a problem for me, I had already adopted the UAG/Seidio case mod but was finding the recharge ratio troublesome.
Enter Zerolemon MagnaBatt and case, since I have very large hands it has been no problem and the holster is quite secure.
After foam removal, the back fits nicely snug and the whole case is solid.
Phone has hit the deck several times w/o adverse activity and the Vitreo screen protector is superb.
I just got the case and while it fits great I have discovered that anyone who calls me are getting an echo when they talk. They hear me normally and only get an echo of what they say. I tried experimenting with the case on and off and it only happens with the case on and I have tried it with half a dozen different people, every one of them have the same result. Interestingly they do not get the echo when I put them on speaker phone.
Has anyone else encountered this problem or have an idea what to do about it?
My wife reported that I had an echo after installing case.
My cure was to remove GN2 from case and using successively larger drill bits
to enlarge the openings in the inner plastic shell and the TPU case.
Note. Countersink any hole drilled in the plastic shell and enlarge the openings in the TPU case from the inside.
After increasing the opening X 3, the echo vanished. There was an offset in my TPU and innercase interface, this could have been the problem.
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