For anybody who is familiar with my Note 2 reviews (link in the sig), I'm starting a new review cycle with S4 cases. Since I don't have S4 yet, I'm using a display 1:1 scale model which is a carbon copy of the original S4. Once S4 will become available on Verizon, I might consider switching to a real thing. But rest assure, details of my S4 case reviews will be on par with my other N2 and N7 reviews Seidio SURFACE case is also offered at Best Buy as Platinum, so any mentioning of SURFACE will also refer to Platinum.
For those of you who are not familiar with SURFACE from Seidio it's one of their slimmest cases. Often people look for thin plastic cases to improve the grip and to protect battery cover from scratches. This case offers all that and a number of additional bonuses such as hard plastic PC material that surrounds all the edges of the phone, felt inner lining to protect your battery cover from scratching inside of the case and offering an extra cushion, and soft touch outer finish with multiple anti-scratch layers that will keep the original color looking fresh and will protect case from scratching while also offering anti-slippery grip. The design consists of two interconnecting halves that firmly house the phone with a very tight secure fit. Once both halves slide in and get connected, it's not that easy to unlock it which should give you a good piece of mind that a case will stay intact if you drop it. There is no issue putting the phone down on its screen since the case offers an acceptable lip to keep it off the surface. The case also comes with a very unique magnetic kickstand which I can confirm from my experience with N2 does NOT interfere with phone's functionality. One thing to mention, this kickstand offers only landscape support. Every cutout is precise, and you get a perfectly aligned opening for all the controls, ports, speakers, camera and flash. The actual cutout for volume/power has a direct access to the physical phone buttons and makes it very easy to reach them without accidental pushing since buttons will be recessed. SURFACE slides easily in/out of the pocket, and the finish keeps it lint free.
For those who prefer to carry your S4 on a belt, SURFACE has an available holster which I always consider in a class of its own. Beside felt liner to keep screen of the phone from scratching, it offers a very unique spring loaded latch mechanism to keep phone secure without sliding out and still giving you an access for a quick release whenever you need to take it out. The belt clip is heavy duty and offers a nice spring design. It is also can be rotated in up to seven latched directions. To my surprise, in addition to a holster for SURFACE case, Seidio released another holster specific to a naked S4 without any case on. I guess they heard enough of customer feedback from those who prefer slim form factor of the phone and have a good insurance to dare carrying their phone without a case This additional holster fits S4 like a glove and offers exactly the same design as SURFACE holster but slightly scaled down. This holster is available as a separate purchase from their website.
Overall, SURFACE is one great case for anybody who prefers to keep a slim form factor of their case and still needs a decent protection for their phone. With a bonus of kickstand and selection of vibrant colors (the one I got is royal blue - looks awesome with white S4!!!), this makes it one of the top choices for S4. Also, you have to keep in mind one of the biggest BONUSES of this case. You can always upgrade it with CONVERT add-on kit from Seidio to turn SURFACE into a Super rugged case the rivals in protection with the likes of Defender and others. That way you will always have a choice to either go with slimmer case for everyday use or a more rugged outfit with CONVERT protection.
I had a Seidio Active case and holster for my GN2. I liked it pretty well. Would the Active case and holster for the GS4 be the same as for the GN2? I was a bit concerned about wear on the soft rubber inner case of the GN2 because that was what the holster rubbed against to secure it in the holster. Is that a concern with the Active or Convert case/holster combo for the GS4?
What is the difference between the Active combo and the Convert combo? In addition, I see there's a Convert kit to transform a Surface into the Convert. Does the Convert add more bulk to the phone than the Active or Surface case?
The kickstand has its uses. But it also prevents being able to flip the phone face out while still in the holster, as I occasionally like to do. I don't see an option to have an Active or Convert case without the kickstand so that the phone can be reversed in the holster.
I wish they made a holster that would work with a minimalist case. I like the option of putting the GS4 in a belt holster or sliding it in my back pocket.
In contrast, my Speck Candyshell case is just too slick to suit me. When I have the phone laying face down and try to pick it up, it's a challenge to do so unless I slide it to the edge of the table so I can grab it better.
SURFACE is their slimmest design, one piece hard plastic with a nice grip and a kickstand. ACTIVE adds more drop protection with shock absorbing inner soft silicone layer and outer plastic exoskeleton layer to hold silicone in place and to provide extra corner protection, while offering kickstand as well. CONVERT is built on a same principle as ACTIVE with inner shock absorbing soft silicone and outer plastic exoskeleton but the difference is that you can't put in on a naked phone and rather it's designed to go over SURFACE (or BB Platinum). CONVERT also designed with a inner layer cutout for kickstand from SURFACE to come through the opening.
Pretty much they all have different functionality, suited for different needs. I'm probably going to get S4 ACTIVE and CONVERT as well to demonstrate how it works with S4. If you want, you can visit my main review LIST link below to see these cases for N2. In general, its a mature design which has been re-scaled for different phones. You gotta see it with a lot of companies where once they come up with a new design, it works, and popular in sales, they keep making the same for other phones since you already have a customer base.
With holster facing outwards, it's typical for Defender case to make it reversible because they don't have a kickstand and the belt latch becomes it's kickstand. But that holster is ugly and bulky. With Seidio holster and it's spring loaded mechanism, you can fit a lot of different cases. Pretty much most of the big rugged cases will fit into CONVERT holster, while any slimmer or TPU case will work with ACTIVE holster. As I'm going to receive more cases for S4 reviews, I will test each one with corresponding Seidio holster and include fitment pictures.
Thanks. I tried the GN2 Active holster with a GN2 in a TPU case but it was sloppy in there. Also, when I had the GN2 in the Active case and holster, the trigger lock that held the GN2 in the holster seemed like it put a lot of stress on the silicon rubber inner casing... and I thought that might adversely affect the longevity of the case.
What I'd like is an Active case (without kickstand) with the holster so I could reverse it. Daydeal.com reviews of the SG3 seemed to indicate that was an option. But I don't see it anywhere on the Seidio site.
I've read some of your other reviews and they are well done.
Last edited by speedlever; May 6th, 2013 at 12:09 PM.
Just curious what holster would fit the otter box defender case? Im finding their holster more of a danger to my phone than its worth. I have had my phone for a week now and it has dropped out of the holster just about every day now
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