Just like Calob, I usually carry my Galaxy Nexus around without a case. However, there are some occasions that I prefer to have a case, like while hiking, working outside, or wrestling alligators. For this reason, I’ve tried a couple of inexpensive Nexus cases that I can keep around, but aren’t so expensive that I feel like I need to use them all the time.
To fill that need, I’ve been trying out another Galaxy Nexus case from Cruzerlite on and off for the past couple weeks – read on to find out my impressions of the case.
Design and packaging-wise, the case is a lot like the Persona case that Calob recently reviewed. In fact, I’m inclined to think that the RootzWiki case is simply a variant of the Persona case, and only slightly different. Just like the Persona, the RootzWiki case is made of TPU material, and comes in a sturdy and colorful sandwich bag.
The back of the case is where most of the interesting bits are, and makes it quite obvious how the case got its name. The image appears to have been printed on a white background, and finished with a matte texture. Overall, I quite like the soft touch texture much better than the nearly slimy plastic of other TPU cases. Thanks to the texture, the Cruzerlite case feels like a high quality case, and I even prefer the in hand feel with the case to the feel of the Galaxy Nexus – although the increased size still isn’t great.
As far as ports are concerned, Cruzerlite has included cutouts for all of the Galaxy Nexus’s important features, including the speaker, noise cancelling microphone, and pogo pins. The power and volume buttons are also available and not covered, and the cutouts leave plenty of room to hit the buttons comfortably. The microUSB and headphone jack cutout are both large enough to accommodate large cables and plugs, which is a feature missing from many other cases.
Most of the cutouts look great, but sometimes it is possible to make out unfinished coloring towards the edges, as shown here with the camera lens. This isn’t really a problem, but I would have expected a more expensive TPU case to be finished a bit more smoothly. The problem is hardly noticeable, but it does detract ever so slightly from the high quality feel of the case. Also, the black does show dirt and other substances fairly easily, so it will need to at least be wiped off fairly frequently to avoid looking dirty.
The front of the case is fairly insignificant, and only protrudes above the glass very slightly. While it would prevent the screen from taking a direct hit when dropped face down, I don’t know that it would provide much more protection. The bezel does, however, look quite good, and the black edges blend in nicely with the rest of the device. Unfortunately, like the Nexus 7 case, the hard edges of the bezel tended to push my screen protector and cause it to bubble up, which is at least mildly annoying.
Since this case has the added vulnerability of a printed image on the back, I didn’t expect it to do as well as the Nexus 7 case in my knife scratch test. As you can see just below the “Wiki” in the image above, the knife did leave some slightly noticeable scratches in the case. Fortunately though, they are nearly invisible, and the knife didn’t even come near to cutting into the actual case. The result was actually better than I expected, and although scratches and impacts may mar the design, there isn’t much chance that the case will actually break.
I’m also a little more confident in this case for longer drops than the Nexus 7 case I reviewed, partially because the Galaxy Nexus weighs less and partially because the case feels more sturdy. Either way, I think that this case could take some moderate drops onto a hard surface without the device being damaged, although the case might look a little worn. I even trusted the case enough to do a three-feet drop test onto concrete with my Nexus inside, and everything emerged perfectly fine.
Although this case is still distinctly a TPU case, it is certainly one of the best that I have used. Compared to my former $2 Ebay TPU case, the $14.90 Cruzerlite offering is thicker, stronger, better looking, better feeling, and has better cutout design. Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this case to anyone who needs to protect their Galaxy Nexus, but doesn’t want to spend big bucks on a two piece plastic and rubber case. As far as lightweight cases go, the Cruzerlite is certainly one of the best in the group.