We love to bring you reviews of all kinds of accessories. This week, we’ve got quite a few HTC One cases to play with, so we’ll be bringing you a few reviews every day. We’re calling this the HTC One Case Review Madness Week. So what are we waiting for? Let’s go!
The trend of kickstands on phones was short-lived (and mostly only employed by HTC), but Speck is attempting to do kickstands in a new way with the SmartFlex View case for the HTC One. The SmartFlex offers a retractable kickstand, along with a strong plastic construction that gives the One a good level of drop protection.
The most noticeable feature of the SmartFlex is obviously the kickstand, which retracts vertically into the back of the case. It’s very easy to set up and take down, and it works in both portrait and landscape mode. Speck put quite a bit of thought into this kickstand, as it’s solid and works very well. There’s a bit of spring resistance when pulling the kickstand out from the case, which is a nice touch.
The kickstand is mostly useful for watching videos and video chatting. Other than that, I couldn’t really find a purpose for it that didn’t involve laziness or propping my phone up for alarms. I suspect that Speck did focus group testing before creating the SmartFlex, so they must feel that there are enough video-watching Skype-fanatic users out there to warrant making this case. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.
The case itself is made of a hard plastic that’s still flexible around the edges, so it’s fairly easy to slip on and off the device. While it doesn’t add much weight to the device, it is fairly thick due to the kickstand. Overall, it offers a good amount of protection.
In terms of appearance, the SmartFlex is fairly simple. Aside from the kickstand, there’s almost no design on this case. That being said, it still looks pretty nice on the One. As mentioned, it is a bit thicker than the average case, so it won’t win many award for making the HTC One look slim. Despite this, it’s still more or less pocketable.
Speck did a good job with the cutouts for the power button, audio jack, and charging port. However, I had a problem with the covered volume buttons, which give a bit too much resistance. They’re hard to press, and there’s no level of clickability that makes up for it. The button covers are just too solid for the case’s own good.
Unfortunately, the SmartFlex doesn’t offer much grip, since it’s made of a flat plastic material. Oddly enough, the end of the kickstand (the part that’s used to pull it in and out of the case) is covered in a rubbery material that’s very grippy. At times, I found myself wishing that the whole case was made of the same material, as it slipped out of my hand once or twice.
Overall, the SmartFlex View is a great case for users that are really looking for a kickstand case. Other than that, it’s probably not going to appeal to many other users. It’s great for what it does, but not for much else. But, it offers great protection and a function that not many cases provide, so Speck clearly has a market for it. Having a kickstand on hand at all times will cost you $34.95, which actually seems a bit high. That being said, the kickstand itself is engineered well, which probably isn’t cheap.