This is a review of DBA Cases line of ThinGrip and Complete Ultra for Galaxy S4: Galaxy S4 - Samsung | DBA Cases, Inc.
Being familiar with their line of Complete Ultra cases for Note 2, I got an opportunity to test/review their S4 version as well as ThinGrip which was new to me. What attracted me originally to DBA cases was not just a design with one of the best color selections of interchangeable parts, but actually the science behind the material their use. PC and TPU are the most common materials used in all of the cases, but these one are made out of a special mix that keeps every case super light, flexible, and durable.
Lets first start with ThinGrip. From the first look you might think, uh seen this thin shell wrap-around design already. Well, not really because most likely what you have seen was a cheap plastic cases intended just for scratch protection of the battery phone cover. ThinGrip design wraps around all the corners and along the sides providing you not only a back protection but also a corner protection as well. The top/bottom and volume/power buttons are open. Speaker and camera/flash cutouts are precisely aligned. What sets this design apart is the material and finish of it. This is not a typical hard plastic mold but a flexible PC material that will not crack if you drop the case or flex it to take the phone out. I would not go as far as telling you it will offer a great drop protection outdoors. That's not an intention of it, but I can tell you it will provide some acceptable drop protection for indoor use and maybe even in some occasions outside. The flex nature of the material will distribute the shock and the grip of this Thin case will keep phone from falling out of the case. It will also keep the screen from touching the surface if placed face down, and will offer a nice friction with a surface both face up/down. Also, the sides of the case have a nice bumpy pattern for a comfortable hand grip. And to enhance this experience the whole case has this smooth rubbery finish inside out. This is one of the thinnest and lightweight cases you can find which also offers more than just scratch protection. Plus, you get a variety of 6 cool colors. DBA Cases Thin Grip African Violet & Mobile Accessories Samsung S4 | DBA Cases, Inc.
The Complete Ultra takes it to the next level with enhanced drop protection of 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 dimension by offering a selection of 6 unique colors for its outer Ultra PC layer and 7 unique colors for its inner Ultra TPU layer where you can buy each one separately or in predefined combos as part of Complete Ultra. This way you're no longer locked into the same color combination and able to mix'n'match different PC/TPU colors to dress up your S4 for any occasion.
Now about the Complete Ultra case itself. The combo of PC/TPU is very lightweight. 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 flexible 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. It's 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. 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. 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. Complete Ultra - Galaxy S4 - Samsung | DBA Cases, Inc.
Overall, I was very pleased with this product and found the quality of its material to be exceptional. The capability to mix and match colors is definite a great idea where you can customize your case just by getting another PC or TPU piece.
Now, here are the pictures.