Jan, 16 2015

One of the first things people do immediately following the purchase of their devices is find the necessary tools to protect their new investment. The Nexus 7 is certainly one baby I wouldn’t want going outside without being bundled up, and judging by the hundreds of reviews on dozens of cases spanning across dozens of retailers on the internet we’d say many others agree.

A folio case for a Nexus 7 — or any 7-inch tablet, really — is ideal because it’s something that’s going to be thrown into a pocket or a bag and something people will travel with more due to its portable size.

We recently received the Blurex Ultra-Sim folio case for the Nexus 7, and while we trust all the great user reviews out there we still wanted to make sure it was living up to the hype it’s received. If you’re interesting in knowing if this case is capable of the heavy-lifting duty that comes with protecting the Nexus 7 let your eyes travel below.

Design

This case is marketed as an ultra-slim case, which means it’s not going to add much girth on top of the depth the tablet already has. It certainly does live up to those expectations of being slim as it only adds about 1-2mm of girth. For a case with as much flexibility as this one has it’s quite impressive, actually.

The material is made out of padded synthetic leather on the outside and a micro-fiber interior lining to ensure there’s no chance of your tablet getting nicked up while this thing is draped over it. You can tell from feeling it that it’s not the highest quality material you’re going to find for a case, though for the cost I didn’t expect to get this much in the package.

The stitching job looks quite solid and tight, and I don’t get the feeling that things will unravel for quite some time. A couple of the clasps that hold the tablet in place can look a tad unruly at times but it’s nothing alarming at all. The unit we’re reviewing is black, but a number of other colors are available for those who need a bit more variety in their lives.

Protection

The Blurex ultra-slim folio case is supposed to be designed to absorb shock, though how much shock is not obvious at this time. I don’t want to drop this particular Nexus 7 unit for several reasons so I couldn’t test those claims, but it does seem like the case will hold up to minor drops if the main flap is closed

Even if it’s open the hard clasps which hold the tablet in place give a few tenths of a millimeter of separation between the face of the tablet and the surface it falls on. This should hopefully cut down on shattered screens and nicked edges as it’s pretty hard to separate the tablet from the clasps without unhooking the outer edges one by one.

This, coupled with soft padding to cover a more firm object beneath the fabric on both sides of the case should give ample protection against drops. Again, it’s not something I’d like to test but you can tell this was designed to take a slight fall or two.

The front cover is kept in place using a claw-like clasp that will snap onto the side of the Nexus 7. This, in my opinion, is better than having to fumble around with looping an elastic strap around a hook, having to snap a button into place, or having to use the unreliable velcro that is susceptible to losing friction over time.

Beyond just drops the Blurex case covers much of the device when it’s fully closed so users shouldn’t worry about any nicks on the bezel except for the edge of the chassis. Even then, the Nexus 7 is sturdy so those problematic coins and keys in your pocket or purse shouldn’t be an issue. The tablet leaves the device’s only two ports and the speaker grill exposed for easy access so you’ll still want to be careful when it comes to liquid.

Function

So we know how it looks and we know how it protects, but what else can this folio case do? Well, for starters, it doubles as a stand for the Nexus 7. Only horizontal fun can be had here, but you get three different levels of elevation so you can prop the device up perfectly no matter what situation you’re presented with.

Stand up!

The lowest level is ideal for typing, medium elevation is ideal for viewing video or whatever content it is you have when you’re at or around eye-level, and the third height is ideal for viewing video or content while the device is below your eye level.

Blurex employed a really clever process for switching from folio to stand mode — simply unhook the two left most clasps, and the flap on the back of the device will become free for bending the case enough to be able to fit inside one of the three grooves. Reverting back to folio mode was as simple as pushing the edge of the tablet back into the clasps.

Straps = comfort

The second feature we like is the elastic band that will help keep the folio cover in place when it’s folded all the way back. The elastic band hooks onto the insides of the righter-most clasps, and you can pull the rest of the band around the back and keep it in place using the main cover’s clasp.

Doing and undoing the process can become a bit tedious, but what we lose in the small amount of time it takes to do this is made up for with the lack of headaches that come with trying to keep the tablet and flap sitting in one spot during one-handed use.

Speaking of which, this thing also features a bigger elastic strap on the inside of the cover flap so you can get a better grip of the device when it’s folded all the way back. This makes it easier and more comfortable to control when you are in bed trying to turn a page in a book or magazine and you can’t get the same grip and leverage you would while sitting or standing up.

Oh, and if you happen to want to use your device with a capacitive stylus there’s a little loop on the right side for easy storage. I’m not too confident in its ability to hold some of the thinner styli out there, but for most people it should suffice.

I command you — wake up!

But for all of those features we haven’t even gotten to the coolest thing. Your Nexus device will awake or go into sleep mode depending on what’s going on with the cover. Opening it automatically turns it on, having the cover all the way back prevents it from going into sleep mode, and closing the cover puts the tablet back into sleep mode.

Aside from the prevent sleep mode this feature has worked consistently every single time and I haven’t had any complaints. It uses the magnets embedded within the right side of the Nexus 7’s chassis to determine whether or not the cover has been opened or closed so functionality should be very consistent for a long time coming.

Verdict

For just $15 as of the time of this writing (buy it at Amazon here) it’s hard to find anything better to protect your Nexus 7 with unless you’re looking for full protection (that comes with added girth, of course). When I first got the case I was expecting little more than a folio case that could double as a stand, but what I found was a lot more for the money.

From the small things like the elastic straps and the stylus holder, to the bigger things like automatic sleep/wake and the promising ability to protect the Nexus 7 from minor drops this is one very lucrative package. I didn’t even mention that it came with a screen protector, though I won’t review that bit because I elect not to use these types of protectors on my devices.

It looks good, it works great, has a ton of features and it gives me confidence that my device will be protected from some of the more mild drops you may come across in your time with the Nexus 7. Pull the trigger on Amazon with confidence because this one gets two big thumbs up (and because a ton of people seem to agree with our assessment already).

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