The Seidio Convert Combo Kit is five layers of protection for your HTC EVO 4G LTE. This is the only combo case I think I’ve ever run across where I think you could stop at two out of the five layers, and you’ll be more than protected enough. As it stands, if you have all of the layers on, you need fairly large hands to handle the phone.
The first layer, by my reckoning, is a screen protector to prevent scratches. While the HTC EVO 4G LTE ships with Gorilla Glass, keys and change can start scraping the screen down. I ran my HTC EVO 4G for two years with a screen protector on, and my HTC EVO 3D without one for nine months. So, for me, I could do without this. I have two friends with the original EVO 4G that needed it, though. Whether you need this or not depends solely on how well you treat your phone.
The second layer of protection is a dual-piece hard plastic snap case. It’s got a velvet interior and interlocking top and bottom pieces with cutouts for the ports/kickstand/camera and movable covers for the hardware buttons. This hard shell case alone is probably enough protection for everyday use. The EVO 4G LTE is already a tough beast to begin with.
The third layer of protection is a soft silicone case to absorb shock and add some serious size to the phone. The case has rubber covers that fold out for the headset, camera, and USB ports to prevent scratches or light water intrusion. I think that with this layer, you’d probably be able to handle most short drops without any issue.
The fourth layer is a hard exoskeleton, which when put on adds protection to the corners and also serves to prevent the silicone case from coming off (not that there’s any danger of the silicone case popping off in a normal drop).
The fifth layer is a belt holster. You lay the cased-up EVO face-forward into this and your screen is completely protected by the hard plastic backing of the holster. I do not think you can drop and contact anything other than the case at this point.
I should mention that I’ve always liked my phones to have some weight and size to them, and I like to keep them protected. There used to be a joke that, if I could still have it, I would be sporting my 1994 brick cell phone. My old Treo had a shaped-metal armor case that I affectionately called the ROM Spaceknight case, which added a quarter to its size. For me to say a case is too large is generally not heard of.
That being said, this case is very, very large in my hands. So large that when I carry it, I feel I’m more at risk of dropping the phone than I am with a naked EVO 4G LTE. Your hand size will vary, of course.
The case offers a lot of protection, but one of the things I love about the EVO 4G LTE is pulling the phone out and taking a picture quickly. With this case, that goes from turning the power on, unlocking and snapping a picture to pulling the phone out of the holster, flipping the rubber camera protector out of the way, powering on, unlocking, snapping the picture.
Now, that may not be a problem for you. If you’re blowing through phones because you work in a job where you’re slamming your phone into things left and right, this case will probably be a godsend to you. It’s really got the feel of a case for someone who works in the field and needs a rugged, tough-as-nails case.
My hard inner case also had the undesired effect of requiring a significant amount of pressure to be applied to take a photo. I believe this is due to the button putting all the pressure to the extreme left of the camera button. It’s easily fixable with a piece of tape, but if you want the shutter button to be harder, well, this is your case. This was one of those things that I’m not sure was a design flaw or intentional, but I’m not particularly fond of the additional pressure requirement to my now tank-sized EVO.
You don’t have to have all pieces on this phone at the same time, but after you put on the hard inner-layer, the next step up (silicone case) is significantly larger than my current-favorite case, the Seidio ACTIVE with kickstand.
Now, you may also notice that, after the silicone case is applied, there is no kickstand hole any more. Some may have a problem with this, as a kickstand is part of the EVO line. While not dismissing that a kickstand is a rather beloved feature of our EVOs, you can use the belt-holster as a 45-degree, or nearly vertical kickstand. You can also take off the silicone and exoskeleton layers to have the kickstand back and still have some protection.
Speaking of the holster, the belt-clip appears to be designed to fit belts up to two inches wide. While not a huge distraction, my less-than-two-inch belt allowed for a bit too much play, causing me to push it against a belt loop while I was out on my motorcycle to prevent it from wiggling. I don;t expect it would have wiggled off, but I don’t need a distraction while driving.
I did not test the screen guard sheet. I have cats in my house, and as such I cannot apply screen guards without taking extreme measures to counteract flying fur attacking the screen at the exact moment I’m attempting to apply a guard. But it looks like a fairly decent guard.
All in all, this case offers massive protection and a massive size. I think this level of protection may be too much for most, but probably right for someone who breaks, scrapes, and destroys phones on a regular basis. It’s very light for the size, so you end up having something the size of a small brick that weighs very little. It is a tad disconcerting.
As a reminder, you still have a few hours left to enter to win one of the Combo Kits from Seidio. The Seidio Convert Combo can be purchased directly from Seidio for $49.95, or for a bit less than that from Amazon.