26
Mar
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Last Updated: April 11th, 2013

As soon as we heard that the Nexus 4 was covered in glass on both the front and back, how am I going to keep that safe?! was a question on the minds of many. We've already taken a look at a way to keep it free of scratches with the Spigen Steinheil Dual screen/back protector, but that's just not enough for some people. Some users just want – or even need – a case.

Today we're taking a look at a trio of cases from Seidio for the N4: the Surface ($35), Active ($35), and Convert ($55 with Surface, $30 without) series. This isn't the first time we've reviewed this series of cases from Seidio, either – we looked at all three for the Galaxy Nexus back in February of last year, and more recently, the Active series for the Nexus 7.

This contest is now over.

The final results are listed below. If you've won, you will be contacted in the near future. Congratulations!

Everyone else - keep participating and stay tuned to Android Police so that you don't miss our upcoming giveaway announcements. You can follow AP on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and RSS.

  1. Spartan GT
  2. Jonathan Danna
  3. Rebecca Le Butcher
  4. Jacon Domann
  5. Anthony Maki
  6. JosephL
  7. Ag Nikcuf
  8. Bob Allen
  9. Micheal Luu
  10. Lou

Surface

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The Surface is the lightest of the two, and essentially just a couple of pieces of interlocking plastic that hug the device. There are openings for all buttons and ports, as well as a metal kickstand on the back of the unit. It's currently available in black, white, red, purple, and blue.

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Unlike the Surface case for the Galaxy Nexus, the Nexus 4's variant doesn't have a back piece with a front bumper that locks everything into place, but rather two pieces that just slide across the back and lock into place. This doesn't create a seamless look like the GN's case, but I like the design much, much better.

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Here's a word of advice for anyone who buys this case for their N4, though: read the instructions. I thought "what? Why do I need instructions for a case?!" – well, I can show you why:

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Those scratches are from where I tried to pry the bottom half the case off because I didn't realize the indentions just above the kickstand (shown in the second image) indicated a catch release. I just thought they were there to help pull the two pieces away from each other. On the brighter side, I learned that once the case is locked in place, it stays that way. Trust me.

Overall, the Surface should provide some lightweight protection against short drops, as well as scratch protection. Would I trust it while hiking or other possibly-intense outdoor activity? Doubtful. For everyday life, though, it should fit the bill just fine. If you need something a bit more protective, read on.

Active

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The Active case consists of two pieces: a bottom silicone cover, and the "arachnid" exoskeleton. Like the Surface, it also features a metal kickstand on the back – a solid upgrade from last year's model that had a plastic kickstand.

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Aside from that, the Active case for the N4 is very similar to the version for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7. Here's the basic rundown: the silicone layer is very nice and soft, and allows very easy access to all the buttons. As strange as it may sound, I think I actually like pressing the buttons better with the silicone cover on. It's pleasant. The exoskeleton is made of thin plastic, but when combined with the bottom layer, it provides essentially the "perfect" protection, because it protects the device in the places that are likely to get damaged in a fall: the back and corners.

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Convert

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Then there's the monster of this trio. The absolute best protection that Seidio has to offer. The Convert case is a tank.

Just like previous models, the Convert is actually two cases in one: it uses the Surface case as the bottom shell. Then there's a layer of silicone and an arachnid skeleton. Basically, it's an Active on top of the Surface. It's the toughest of the tough, and built for the most hardcore of situations.

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The silicone layer features covers for both the headphone jack and charging port, as well as a small flap that protects the camera. Like I said, it means business.

Of course, with that sort of protection comes bulk, and it understandably creates a rather large "lip" all the way around the display (see the first image below). This is undoubtedly the largest of the three cases, but if you're the type who needs all the protection you can get, this is the case for you. And when you're in a "safe zone," you can always remove the exoskeleton and silicone layer. You're still left with the protection offered by the Surface case, so it's a win-win.

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Holsters

If you prefer to wear your phone your side – which is sometimes the only practical option – all three versions have available holsters that are actually very nice ($30 each for Surface and Active, or bundled with either case for $55 total; the Convert system is $75 with the Surface and holster). They have a spring-loaded clip at the top that not only holds the device in place, but makes it easy to get out. The Convert's holster also has a locking mechanism that prevents the phone from being removed (or falling out) – another huge bonus for the ruffians among you. Good design.

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Conclusion

Overall, Seidio continues to show what a great accessory manufacturer it is – all three cases feature thoughtful, intuitive designs, as well as provide good levels of protection for their respective construction materials. Any way you go, these are some great cases to have if you're worried about damaging your N4.

Buy: Seidio

Giveaway

Sorry guys, this one's U.S. only.

But wait, there's more! We have a few freebies to hand out: ten cases, winners' choice. The winners will be chosen randomly, and you'll be able to specify which model/color you want when we contact you to get shipping information. It should probably go without saying, but you must choose one of the cases from this review, and it has to be for the Nexus 4.

As always, entering's easy – just follow the Rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This one's U.S. only, and begins now. It will run until Tuesday, April 2nd at 12:00 AM PT (Midnight), and we'll randomly choose the winners sometime after that.

Good luck!

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • bakedpatato

    convert for the flaps

  • Gregg

    If it's free, it's for me!

  • Maxwell Kozlov

    I prefer the surface; it looks the most sleek.

  • Kernschatten

    I like the slim profile of the Surface case.

  • vital grados

    the active case is the best!

  • srgonu

    Looks good

  • http://acmaki.com/ Anthony C. Maki

    I doubt this could beat the OEM bumper.

  • cslinglu

    It's funny, I was just looking for a review for these the other night. I am curious, of any current owners of the Seidio cases, how do you find the kickstand. Is it useful?

  • Brian G

    The covert, because when I want a big case, I want a BIG case

  • http://www.facebook.com/Oracle3927 Philip Michael Hugh Lawson

    Porque no?

  • dp03

    thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Young/100000961826461 Andrew Young

    Very nice cases actually.

  • dlee

    surface because its thinner

  • Anson

    Active is the best for my needs

  • http://www.facebook.com/asouthmayd Alex Southmayd

    All the cases are great. I'd prefer the Convert because it's a boss

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.degregorio Steve S DeGregorio

    I wouldnt mind this one...but i like Cruzerlite caeses also!

  • http://twitter.com/CEO254 CEO254

    Nice

  • Juan

    I would like the Surface cause it looks smooth. Plus, my Nexus would like the it.

  • http://twitter.com/noctis_lucis19 cloud strife

    the convert please. if it's possible to get the best, why not? and it's free!!!

  • Rob

    I like the covert

  • http://www.facebook.com/H31Vry5 Heon Jun Park

    See I will take the Convert then buy the add on for the other ones :P

  • icyrock1

    The Active case is easily the better one imo. I always like to make sure my devices are well protected (though, the Convert is overkill), and I don't mind a few extra grams of weight for a more secure looking, case that hits the right mix of secure looking, but not to intrusive case.

  • BigBambu

    I'd say the convert, silicone and not as bulky or thin

  • Cole Doyle

    I prefer the Surface because it's thinner and lighter and I like to use my phones without the added bulk of a huge case. Huge cases take away from the feel of the phone and that is why the Surface case is great because it looks like it'll add protection without the bulkiness of a huge case. It also looks great!

  • Orin Fitzgerald

    They all look nice. I'll have to get something. My 3 year old loves the nexus 4!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Scioppius Andrew Schoppe

    Convert, because I am always dropping my phone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cdoucette Cory Doucette

    Convert

  • Marcus Crump

    I prefer the surface because it is sleeker ans slimmer.

  • Prometheus

    Active. Great protection but not as big as the Convert.

  • sammy gumer

    i like the surface because it is the lightest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zackarychan Zackary Chan

    Awesome case overall

  • H. Jaime Cruz

    I want all them

  • H. Jaime Cruz

    Y not there Free

  • MICHAEL WEAVER

    i need good protection

  • Josh Nichols

    The surface - it's minimal with a kickstand :)

  • Ramacher

    Does it matter if I'm commenting via Disquss but entering on rafflecopter while logged in through facebook?

  • SAMSAMHA

    I like the active case because it feels like a good combination of protection and also not overly thick.