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teh Jax
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I got a new accessory from eBay in today so I thought I would write a little bit about it. Toys, don't ya' love them? Introducing the Aqua Blue Dual Shield Hard Case Gel Cover for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (i515 Verizon). (If you want to find this on eBay, search for "Dual Shield i515" without the quotes.)

Short summary:
It would be a fairly good case and worth the $12 for what it does if the plastic tabs holding it together didn't break off the 6th time you took the case off of the phone! I'm going to try and get a replacement just in case this was a defective case. Otherwise, I wouldn't buy this if I were you unless you want it only for a single use or you never plan on taking the case off of your phone!

Product Output device Azure Gadget Peripheral

(I'll get more pics up in the next couple days.)

So what's the deal with this case? Why did I get it? Well, I wanted to have an option for the (rare) days when I really need some fairly heavy-duty protection for my phone, but I wasn't willing to dish out the bucks for an otterbox case that would be unused 98% of the time. I'm certainly not willing to use a bulky case on a daily basis (I don't even like very low-profile TPU cases) but sometimes I do need one. So that's why I decided to pay $12 shipped for this case.

Ultimately, what do I think of it? It looks pretty nice for a bulky case. It has a nice feel and grip to it. Port cutouts are done well and line up with everything just fine (although it's silly that they have a cutout for the POGO pins - I would have just assumed have them covered for a more uniform look). The case is snug all around the phone and well molded. And the blue that I got isn't exactly an ICS blue but it's close enough that it doesn't bother my OCD wife. I think, however, they could have engineered this case much better than they did. First off, it's hard plastic against the phone with rubber on the outside. It would have made more sense to have the soft material against the phone to better absorb shock. Also, the soft rubber on the outside is literally just that - very flimsy, and very thin, soft rubbery material. I wish this was either rubberized plastic or TPU but it isn't, which means it's the stuff that hair sticks to.

Putting the case on the phone for the first time was a fairly obvious procedure. It was clear that I was supposed to take the rubbery stuff off and it was clear that the hard plastic inside shell split into two parts. It took no effort to put the hard plastic shell on. The rubbery material, while obvious, took a couple minutes to put on as it has a lip that you have to slide into a slot on the plastic shell nearly all the way around the phone. This keeps the rubbery material in place securely and I understand why they did it - it works very well but it just takes a minute or two to get it all stuffed into the slot. So you don't want to be taking this case on and off on a daily basis most likely - most certainly not a case to use if you regularly dock your phone into any kind of dock.

So how does it protect? Well, short of throwing my phone down to see if it breaks, you're going to have to take my opinion of my assumptions. So first off, my goal was to have something that protects much more than a TPU case does. This case definitely fits that bill. For the weekend trip to do some volunteer construction for Habitat for Humanity, I will most certainly be using this case for my phone. With the phone in my pocket and the screen facing my leg, I won't have much fear of my phone being damaged. If it's damaged in that scenario, then the larger worry is how badly is my leg damaged? So this serves that purpose. Not my requirement but the requirement of many is, how will this case protect against drops and such? Well, I think it will certainly be MUCH safer in this case than TPU case for a drop. However, that said, I think this will probably protect less good on the body of the phone than an Otterbox Commuter because there is nothing soft against the phone to absorb shock. This case will protect better than the Commuter for the screen as there is a thicker lip sticking up from the front of the screen. However, if you drop this screen first on a rock, well, you're screwed no matter what. So it does a good job on that front. Of course, to maximize screen protection, you will need a screen protector - something that this case did not come with.

If you'll notice from the pictures, the volume and power buttons are covered with the soft material. Usually, I hate this. However, they did a great job with this case on this regard. They buttons are easy to press (but not too easy) and you definitely have a positive feedback of when the button is actually depressed. In fact, I dare say that the feedback is even easier to feel with the case on than with the phone naked! So while this is often a major concern for many people, they did a good job on this case.

Okay, so now I know everybody wants to know: What about the extended battery? Well, I can assure you that it will be impossible to use this case with the extended battery and battery cover in your phone. HOWEVER, it works beautifully with the extended battery WITHOUT the battery cover. If you are not willing to do this, then either expect to use your stock battery or do not get this case. If you are willing to do this, it works fine with no other changes BUT the battery has a little bit of room to rattle so I would recommend you fold up a business card and put between the battery and case to keep that from happening.

Pros:
  • Looks good (the blue is a good blue that doesn't clash with the ICS blue)
  • Provides much better protection than a TPU case in all aspects
  • VERY Cheap
  • Good feel
  • There are a few color options if you don't like blue or have your ICS themed to a different color
  • Molded to the size/shape of the phone very well
  • Fits the extended battery if you are willing to take off the battery cover
  • Good port cut-outs (even my fairly large charger cable from Monoprice fits in there, although fairly snugly)
Cons:
  • Bad materials for the hard plastic internal case
  • It's a bulky case. If you want a case that protects this well, you should expect that though.
  • Doesn't protect for drops as well as a Commuter due to a hard plastic shell being against the body of the phone instead of a soft material to absorb shock
  • Takes a couple minutes to put on
  • The POGO pins have a cut-out but I can't imagine anything being able to use them due to the depth of the cut-out
  • The rubbery material on the outside is the kind that will attract hair and cause some people problems pulling it out of their pocket. It would have been better if it had been TPU or rubberized hard plastic.
  • Only available on eBay

Conclusion: For a $12 case that I plan to use rarely, this is almost exactly what I was looking for! I still wish there was a soft layer against my phone instead of hard plastic but on the flip side, this was a $12 case, including shipping, and I'm very happy with it. It's by no means perfect - if you want that then spend much more money on your case. For my purposes (and others), this fits the bill nicely. Just be aware of the cons in case any of those are deal-breakers for you.

UPDATE! So I took the case off a couple more times after I wrote this review and, lo and behold, one of the plastic clips that hold the hard shell together broke! Because of this, I have absolutely no expectation that this case will hold up over time without the same thing happening to you.

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Any other questions anybody else has with this? If so, please ask! As I mentioned before, I'll get some photos posted in the next couple days.
 

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