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Sunday, September 07, 2014

Xperia Phone Protection Solutions

If there's one thing I learned after buying the Dell Venue 8 Pro, is that you can't buy portable electronics with screens on them without also buying protection. In the 24 hours between that tablet arriving and the case arriving, the screen got scratched. One of the features of the Xperia Ultra Z is that you can write on it with a ballpoint pen or pencil, but color me chicken, I wouldn't do that without adequate screen protection.

The protection we chose this time around are the Illumishield Z1 and Z Ultra protectors. Each package comes in a set of 3, which is good value in case you screw up one or the shields actually wear off. In my experience, by the time the shield wears off you're likely to buy a new phone anyway, but it might help the resell value to install a fresh screen protector. The Z Ultra protector installed easily and ended up with zero bubbles, a first for any of this type that I've used. The Z1 didn't install as well, and had some extra bubbles even after a few days of use. I'm not sure what the difference is, and it could easily be attributed to me screwing it up rather than any fault of the protector. The Z Ultra protector, in particular, installed so well that I cannot tell that the screen has any form of protection on it whatsoever, which is impressive. Highly recommended.

I bought the case for my wife without consulting her, which made me very nervous. Cases for phones are like handbag: the difference between one case or another could make it either a fashion accessory or make you look like a dork. To my relief, the convert thin case looks very nice. Closed, it looks just like a purse or other woman's accessory, rather than a case for what most would consider an extremely geeky product: a high end phablet. One caveat is that the case cuts off access to the SIM card slot (a reasonable decision, since you're unlikely to touch the SIM card once installed), and it's tough to remove the phone from the case, so install the SIM card before installing the phone into the case. The case does allow access to the microSD card, the charging port, and the headphone jack. It even tilts up so you can use the phone in landscape mode while sitting on a desk to watch a movie. Just like a wallet, it also has a few slots for credit cards, though the case is so thin that if you do so you might bulk it up a bit. One disadvantage of the case being tough to remove the phone from is that you're unlikely to want to submerge the case, so you'd avoid swimming with it. But nobody's going to take a case like this inside a swimming pool anyway. In any case,  Xiaoqin liked it. Recommended.

For the Z1, I had a different set of requirements, which included being able to remove the phone from a jersey pocket while cycling and use the camera. That meant that the wallet style case was unacceptable, so I went with the VSTN case instead, which provides some protection if the phone were to fall, while leaving all the ports and the camera shutter button handy. The case never obscures the screen, and also makes the phone easier to grip, but it does make the screen protector essential.

All in all, I'm pleased with this set of accessories.

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