Aug 03 AT 1:11 PM Nick Gray 32 Comments

While most of us buy our phones based mainly on specs and which version of Android it is running on, there’s no denying that many of us have a keen eye for detail when it comes to hardware design. We love devices of various colors, sizes, and construction materials, but no matter how much we baby our precious handsets, accidents happen.

Unfortunately, the beauty of our beloved phones has to be sacrificed in the name of protection. We recently got out hands on a pair of Seidio smartphone cases for the HTC EVO 4G LTE to see if they could keep our phone safe without detracting too much from the handset’s aesthetics.

Seidio Surface

Price: MSRP $34.95, but you can find them on Amazon for less than $20.

Design:  If you’re looking to maintain the clean lines of you handset, the Seidio Surface should to the trick. This case is uniquely designed for each phone so that it minimizes its footprint and allows some of the original design of the handset to shine through. The case is made up of two pieces which lock into place once the handset is inserted.

In order to get the perfect fit, Seidio designs the Surface individually for every Android handset it supports. This means that the camera and speaker cutouts along with volume, power, and camera button covers are perfectly placed and optimized for every handset. The Seidio surface for the HTC EVO 4G LTE even features a special cutout for the handset’s kickstand which can still be used to prop up the phone.

Since we all have our own unique style, the Seidio Surface comes in five colors (black, glossed white, garnet red, royal blue and amethyst).

Protection: In order to deliver maximum protection in a slim profile, Seidio chose to make the case out of a hard plastic. This gives the phone a solid feel, but also has the benefit of a smooth surface which makes it easy to clean and slip in and out of your pocket. In an effort to test the handsets durability, we (carefully) dropped our EVO 4G LTE on the sidewalk from 12-36 inches. We’re happy to report that the phone suffered no damage.

Room for improvement: While the hard plastic of the Seidio Surface does an amazing job at protecting the phone, the case itself seems prone to scratches and dents quite easily. After using the case for a week (before we subjected it to our drop test), the case had incurred a few scuffs along the edges and a long scratch on the back.

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Seidio Active

Price: MSRP $34.95, but you can find them on Amazon for less than $25.

Design: If protection is your number one priority and you don’t really care what your phone looks like, the Seidio Active is probably a better option for you than the Surface. The Seidio Active uses a shock absorbing silicon case which wraps around the entire phone while the rubber exoskeleton locks both pieces into place by clamping over the four corners and edges of the device. While Seidio claims that the case is only 2.2mm thick, that thickness actually doubles since it wraps around the top edges of the phone as well.

While the Active may be all about protection, it does deliver some added functionality. The case comes equipped with a spring-loaded aluminum kickstand, allowing users to prop the phone up in landscape mode, just as you would with the EVO 4G LTE.

Like the Surface, the exoskeleton of the Seidio Active is available in five colors (black, glossed white, garnet red, royal blue and amethyst).

Protection: As mentioned above, the design of the Seidio Active is intended to maximize handset protection. The shock-absorbing silicon layer of the case creates a base later of protection which is then enhanced by the harder exoskeleton. Protected by the Seidio Active, the HTC EVO 4G LTE didn’t suffer any damage when we dropped it multiple times from shoulder height (roughly 5 feet).

Room for improvement: The kickstand on the back of the Seidio Active is a nice feature, but the construction materials make it feel like it was a bit of an afterthought. The super light aluminum and spring-loaded hinges made it feel like the whole thing would snap off if you accidentally dropped the phone while the kickstand was out.

Final Words

I’ve never been a huge fan of cases since I love to show off my smartphone’s design, but I’ve started looking at several options after scuffing up my personal HTC One S a few times. Both the Seidio Active and Seidio Surface did an incredible job keeping the HTC EVO 4G LTE over the past three weeks, but it’s hard to say which one is really better.  If I had to choose between the Seidio products, I’d go with the slim design of the Surface.

When it comes to choosing the right case, is it all about protection or does design play a more important role?

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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