I've been on some sort of Galaxy Nexus case-review-a-thon for the past several weeks, but there are so many options out there, it's hard to pick just one. And of course, if you're on a budget (and who isn't?) you probably don't want to buy ump-teen different cases to snag the perfect one. That's what we're here for, after all - to help you make the best purchase decision possible.
If you read any of my past case reviews, then you probably know that I was a big fan of the Seidio cases, and today we're going to take a look at some comparable cases from a company called Incipio: the Feather, NGP, and Silicrylic.
These cases hit a little bit lighter in the wallet than the Seidio cases, but does that also mean a lower quality product? Not necessarily.
Let's start with the lightest of the three first, shall we? The feather is a simple polycarbonate snap-on shell that primarily protects the back and sides of the device.
While the feather doesn't provide much in the way of drop protection, it does prevent the device from getting scratched up without adding much bulk in the process. However, it doesn't provide the most complete protection - Incipio decided to leave the top and bottom of the device completely exposed. With that said, the corners of the device are still protected for the most part, so if you do happen to drop the phone whilst in the feather case, it's likely to still come out unscathed.
My other quarrel with this case is the camera opening. I would like for the camera cutout to be a little more precise, as part of the battery door is still visible around the camera. It's not a deal breaker by any means, but it's definitely an annoyance.
Despite these minor downsides, the feather is still a very nice case and is a great choice for anyone looking for the most minimal protection.
The NGP takes a que from the all-silicone cases from the days of ol', replacing the sticky, dust-collecting material with a new semi-rigid dense polymer. The result is a stiffer, less sticky case than traditional silicone, but there's one major downside: button presses aren't tangible.
Price: $19.99 ($14-19 on Amazon)
Colors Available: Black, Pink, Gray
The Bottom Line: If you can get past the fact that you won't be able to feel any sort of movement when pressing the power/volume buttons, the NGP case is absolutely stellar. It feels great, provides decent protection, and provides a smooth look because of its unibody design.
The NGP case is basically a step-up from the feather - it provides more protection and covers the entire device. The polymer shell is easy enough to manipulate that it's easy to apply to/remove from the device, yet it's still rigid enough that it feels solid in the hand.
Then there is the aspect of the tangibility of the buttons - or lack thereof, rather. I was so pleased with every aspect of this case, not being able to actually feel the button presses was a major downer to an otherwise flawless accessory. Perhaps one solution that Incipio could look into for the future is adding a silicone element to the case in areas where buttons are located on the underlying device. Until that day comes, however, it's hard for me to really get behind this case.
However, if button tangibility isn't something that is necessarily important to you (it definitely is to me), then this case is absolutely outstanding for what it is. It provides a nice level of protection for the money, leaves precisely-cut openings to all required ports and the rear camera, and the finish is smooth and seamless.
The Silicrylic is the "tank case" of the Incipio family. It consists of a soft silicon under-layer wrapped in a hard polycarbonate outer shell, comparable to the Otterbox Commuter or the Seidio Active case.
If you live an active lifestyle and want to make sure your phone is will protected, then the Silicrylic is the case for you.
The biggest downside of the Silicrylic case is how cumbersome it can be to put on the device. Everything has to line up perfectly, otherwise it just looks... funky. Since the silicone under-layer is soft and thin, it actually shifts ever-so slightly when the outer shell comes into play, thus causing the two to not fit together quite right. A little tweaking and stretching will get everything put into place, so it's really just a minor annoyance, especially if you plan on putting the device in the case and leaving it that way.
Once the device is in the case, though, it feels quite good. The back is a bit slippery, but it's really nothing major (and definitely no worse than the device without a case). All ports are easily accessible and button presses are tangible, making this case an excellent choice overall if you need this level of protection.
Overall, I think that these Incipio cases provide pretty good bang-for-your-buck, especially if you're a fan of their other products. Each case may have its own set of downsides, but all-in-all, they're well made, functional, and do exactly what they were intended to do: protect your investment.