One of the most annoying things about having an Android tablet is getting accessories. It’s not like with an iPad where every single store that is even slightly related to electronics carry at least a dozen different cases and thingamajigs, and you often have to wait a while to find anything at all. Two months after the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus hit the shelves, that’s pretty much still the case. The official accessories are nowhere to be found yet, and only a few somewhat unknown brands have listed 7.0 Plus cases so far – with some of them even using the wrong Galaxy Tab 7 in the pictures, casting doubts over their legitimacy. Incipio was one of the first tried and true case manufacturers to release a case for the 7.0 Plus, and I jumped at the chance to finally get a case for the thing when they listed it. Read on for a review of the Incipio Premium KICKSTAND Folio Case.
The front of the case is pretty much a solid piece of fake (“vegan” leather with a somewhat unnecessary logo etched into a plastic piece. I’ve never been much of a fan of company logos on products I pay money for, but accept that it’s unavoidable, but adding a plastic piece just to highlight the logo is a bit over the top. Even fake leather isn’t the most precise of materials, and there are some edges and seams around the plastic piece that don’t look too pretty up close. Next time, Incipio, just stamp the logo into the leather.
The back is a plastic frame that wraps around the edges of the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus to hold it in place. All the cutouts on the side are cut out of the plastic and not the fake leather, which minimizes the awkward edges and such found on the front plastic logo piece. The back itself is clad with fake leather glued to the plastic, a system similar to that of the LGND Smart Feather that the company has announced but not yet released for the iPad 2. The bad also has a cutout for the camera and LED, and a leather flap piece that acts as a hinge when the case is used as a book style case and as a spine when used as a kickstand. You’ll also notice the elastic strap in the picture above, a strap which is attached to the front cover in order to hold the cover in place.
I’m not completely satisfied with this strap because it’s sown to the underside of the front cover instead of just stretching out from in between the micro suede and leather pieces of the front cover (you can see this in Incipio’s own picture). The way they’ve done it, the strap doesn’t get the same pulling strength when it comes to holding the cover close to the tab, and you can often see a gap between the cover and the screen of the Tab. Somewhat stupid engineering, to be honest. The strap also fails to automatically align the cover to the bottom piece, so it shifts around a bit. It’s not an issue, really, but makes me wonder if perhaps a plastic locking system would have been better. Or magnets, I looooove magnets.
The top (and button) is technically unprotected, though the corner pieces add enough of a lip to all sides of the device for it to never risk hitting the ground first. The top of the Tab only has the microphone and audio port, and both are naturally exposed just fine since it’s all one big cutout. As someone who has high quality headphones with huge plugs, I appreciate that Incipio didn’t make a cutout just for the audio port that would certainly have been too small for my plugs.
The bottom is the same way, with all the important stuff exposed.
The stand functionality works by having grooves on the inside of the front cover that the entire tablet can rest in when flipped around. The part of the back that’s the hinge then flips away from the back and acts as a spine. Unfortunately it’s not a very stiff spine, and it sagged so much for me that the front groove “setting” was unusable, as the Tab would simply pop out of the groove. That’s the least useful “setting” anyways, but again not the most brilliant engineering.
This case is a Tab 7.0 Plus adaptation of an existing case design that they have for e.g. the Galaxy Tab 10.1. I’m guessing that they simply adapted it for the 7.0 Plus without really doing all that much testing, which is why it fails in one of the kickstand positions. Things like the strap being sown in a stupid manner and the plastic logo piece are guaranteed to be issues on the other versions too though. Still, this is a nice case, don’t get me wrong. It’s high quality, it fits perfectly, it looks nice, and it functions nicely. Cutouts are perfect and even include the IR emitter and it’s generally a very nice case. There are just those few issues that makes me wonder if I will switch it out when other cases become available.