Having used a naked Xoom for a couple weeks I hastily purchased an official Folio case, which has been doing it’s job, just. After a couple weeks of use the Folio case is providing excellent protection when travelling, but it’s nothing less than awkward when trying to use the Xoom with it fitted! A desk-stand it is not! Having looked at various options for a replacement Xoom case I decided the SD TabletWear case was perfect. A faux leather (this case is only £20 remember) outer skin with soft innards and a decent mechanism for using the case as a desk stand, it ticked all the boxes.
My concern around the case being too flimsy were quickly dispelled as the case is reinforced with some pretty stiff material inside. It’s not as protective as the hard plastic of the official Folio case but it’s not as ugly either! Book-style cases suit tablets really well and the solid magnetic fastener on this one keeps the case firmly together whenever required.
The case has all the required cuts to enable access to the rear camera, flash, power button, speakers, front camera, volume control, head phone jack, light sensor and card slot while the case is on.
Fitting is a 5 second job as the sizing is flawless, there’s even a velcro safety strap which locks the tablet safely into the case. Once fitted the case feels surprisingly tight and secure, I’d actually prepared myself for a looser fit so this was a pleasant surprise!
Due to it’s construction material they’ve had to put a fair amount of stiffener in the case so it does add around 1 cm width in total to the tablet. Although fairly hefty this is a necessity for a case of this type if you want any protection from it.
Speaking of protection, when the case is closed the screen is sat flush to the inside cover which has 6 useful business card slots and a nice moleskin-effect finish.
The overall quality of design means I’m happy that when closed the screen is very well protected from the elements! The corner protection provided by the case is satisfactory but I wouldn’t count on it surviving too many drops. The back cover seems to be the major protection for the corners so an awkward angle drop (as these things always are) could prove to be asking too much from it.
I do see this as a formal case compared to the rugged Folio case so I see this as a fair trade-off! If I’m going camping I’ll take the Folio case, and if I’m on a train or in a meeting I’ll use the SD TabletWear case.
The case really comes into it’s own when you want to use it as a desk stand, the case has 20, yes 20, different viewing angles.
Compare this to the 2 angles of the official Motorola Xoom case and you realise it’s a big improvement! The optimum angle for use can be dictated by desk and chair height, light reflections from above and distance from tablet, so having all these options is perfect. One angle for my work desk, another on the train, different in the office and different again at home. Excellent! The real test will be the old test of time. The huge number of angles are achievable via a piece of corrugated plastic stitched into the front of the front cover.
Although there is an aesthetic cost, I’ve always been function over form, and the plastic is the same colour as the skin so it’s not an eyesore.
There’s then a magnetised flap on the back of the case which eases out to create the stand.
The flap is sturdy enough although it’s slightly flexible as opposed to completely rigid so it might not age well. The bottom edge of this flap is the edge which sits in the corrugations and I’m a little weary as to how quickly this will go from being ‘very sturdy’ to ‘prone to the odd slip’. It’s worth noting that the flap has a ribbon so if you deploy the flap but don’t use the corrugations you still get a nice shallow angle which works well when using a full screen keyboard (the split keyboard for the Xoom is far superior anyway!).
Overall impressions are that it’s an impressive case for the £20 cost. The quality of design, fitting and materials for a budget case is nothing short of exceptional. It certainly raises the bar and will make some other similar Motorola Xoom cases struggle to justify their £70+ asking prices.