25
Dec
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Amid the flurry of new devices quietly launched recently, Google released a new Nexus accessory - a folio case for the Nexus 7 (2013). Despite my varied experiences with Nexus accessories, I'm always eager to see what Google thinks will work best with their devices. I'm particularly interested in tablet accessories. Tablets are meant to be super portable and usable anywhere, so making an accessory that retains the appeal of the device's form factor while also adding some utility is an interesting challenge.

Google's latest answer to this challenge for the Nexus 7 (2013) is the folio case - essentially a bumper with a folding lid. The folding lid also has a magnet to wake/lock the device, and to lock into a triangular formation for stand capabilities.

I've spent about a week with the folio case to try and get a handle on it as a product - is it worth its price? How does it hold up? And finally, can it convince someone who doesn't normally use cases - like myself - to use a case? Let's take a look.

How it Looks

Putting Google's naming scheme aside for a moment, the first thing you'll notice about this case is that it doesn't have a back. More than anything, the case is a bumper with a folding magnetic cover. The case comes in either black or a blinding orange/red/tangerine color similar to the Nexus 5 bumper case, the official Nexus 10 book cover, or Tangerine Glass. It's a pleasing color, but it's good that Google offers black - bright orange is definitely not for everybody.

Also worth noting is the subtle pattern embossed on the front of the cover, and the barely-there Nexus logo.

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Like its Nexus 5 counterpart, the official case squares off the edges of the device a bit, eliminating the multi-part curve that's supposed to make the device such a pleasure to hold. That isn't to say that the case ruins the feel of the device - in fact, the Nexus 7 is just as nice to hold as it is without the case.

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The folding front is attached to the bumper by small flexible hinges. What strikes me about this case is that it seems to have been more thoughtfully designed than the Nexus 5 bumper cases - it's more flexible, has a more intricate internal structure, and the buttons actually work! Speaking of the buttons, they're on their own special chamfered section on the side of the case, to line up with their slightly downward orientation on the device itself. This plastic is much thinner than that found on the other parts of the case, and extra care seems to have been taken to ensure the buttons will actually react and cause a noticeable clicking action when you press them. The same could not be said of the Nexus 5 case, unfortunately, so this is a refreshing change.

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Otherwise, the case has holes for the two speaker grills, microphone, 3.5mm jack, and of course the charging port.

How it Works

As you might expect, the actual function of the case is exceedingly simple. Open it or close it and the device will wake up or go to sleep, respectively. This is thanks to a row of embedded magnets plus one larger magnet. There's another row of magnets on the opposite side of the cover that will lock it into place in stand mode. This, like Apple's smart cover and all other folding covers following it, allows for two viewing angles, and supports the tablet in a way that feels fairly secure.

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The hinges are flexible enough to let you fold the cover all the way back, should you desire.

Really that's all that can be said about how it works. It functions as you'd expect, and seems fairly sturdy.

Is It Worth $50?

This part is kind of tricky. In general, I actually like this case. As I've said numerous times, I don't normally use cases, even with tablets (I'd much rather opt for a sleeve like the Dodocase Durables). But I've had the Nexus 7 folio case for over a week now and I'm probably going to keep using it for the foreseeable future after this review is published. It's a decent, functional case that doesn't spoil the device's form factor (though it does square off the edges a bit), and it's nice to look at.

But fifty dollars is a bit much. As good a case as this is, I can't honestly say it's really worth $50 unless you're absolutely committed to getting only official accessories. There are certainly less expensive alternatives out there that would get the same job done.

But, since I've already made the purchase, I'm perfectly happy with the case. If you've got $50 to burn on a tablet case, it's definitely not a bad choice.

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Buy: Google Play (Bright Red, Black)

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Milind Shah

    Google is smart. Selling devices at low prices and really overpricing all accessories to gain some of the money back.

    • Danny Davis

      As this is different from ____________ OEM accessories? I spent $40 for a flip case for my Nokia 1520. Definitely not worth the price but you pay for OEM. Should know that by now. Think I'll get this for my wife new Nexus 7 I bought her for Christmas. And yes I'm will to pay for it. Thx for the review on it.

      • Ivan Myring

        How is the 1520?

        • Danny Davis

          Remarkable. Once 8.1 comes for WP this phone will be more than ready. But the 6 inch IPS Clear Black display is in a class of its own.

  • sourabh sekhar

    Liam, didnt you get a holiday?
    You have to work on christmas too?

    • randomdude

      If this is his hobby, then he can still do it while its holidays ;)

  • RayLovesick

    I've used every single Google case for the Nexus 2013, and this is by far the worst one, primarily due to the flimsiness of the bumper and the awkward feeling when holding it open in hand. The one redeeming feature (magnet) doesnt even keep the case shut. It could use a clasp or band, seeing as every time the case opens your screen turns on, and accidental openings will eat some battery. I'd say it protects fairly well, but that's about it.

  • RL010

    I think it's look cheap and ugly

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php rarely online

    A $50 isn't worth it no matter how much you try to rationalize it.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Oh, I wasn't trying to rationalize the post in this review. I don't think the case is really worth $50, particularly when there are good options available for much less. That said I don't think it's a _bad_ case - if someone is for some reason willing to drop $50 on a case like this, they could definitely do worse.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Eww, that makes it look like a Nabi 2. http://www.nabitablet.com/nabi2

    • Lucas Laws

      That's exactly what I thought it was from the thumbnail lol

  • Marcel

    Liam, I really like the wallpaper you are using, where did you get it?

  • http://farukahmet.blogspot.com/ Faruk Ahmet

    It is absolutely *not* worth $50, in my experience, and I would advise everyone against buying it. Besides being meaninglessly expensive, its magnet is so weak that it can't even hold its flap attached when you turn it upside down. A sham(e), really. Just don't.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      From what I can tell the magnet isn't meant to keep the cover closed, just to attach the flap to itself for use as a stand. There's no corresponding magnet in the actual bumper part. But you are correct, for what it is it's not really worth the $50.

  • DeadSOL

    "But the I've had the Nexus 7 folio case for over a week now"

    Grammar Nazi reporting for duty. :p

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Whoops, thanks for pointing that out!

      • DeadSOL

        No worries! I love Android Police articles! :-D

  • Bobert

    $50 for a case and it doesn't even cover the back of the device? What the heck?

    If I'm paying $50 for a case, it better protect the tablet!

    • TY

      Why does it have to cover the whole back to protect the tablet?
      The ring is already higher than the whole back. I can imagine good protection in non-rocky areas.
      And even if you hit the back hard the tablet is unlikely to break anyway.
      Oh and back being covered = more materials used = more weight = less portable tablet.

  • kstagg

    Any similarly-styled cases out there for Nexus 7 2013 not costing $50 bucks?

  • Drlbg

    Ordered it...got it and returned it immediately. Not worth it at any price. Flimsy, cover does not stay shut and fit is not exact. Keep trying Google.

  • Julio Rivera

    I'm rocking the Poetic leather folio right now and I like it so far. Its well built, the magnet cover stays put even upside down. And it looks really nice.

  • Bootleg Zani

    This thing is terrible. I got one for Christmas and I got my girlfriend to RMA it.

  • Technomancer

    Personally I use the Moko slim-fit case http://www.amazon.com/MoKo-Google-New-Nexus-Case/dp/B00E4OKXPU/ref=sr_1_2?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1388513020&sr=1-2 It has the magnetic smart-cover and has can stand the N7 up at 45° and 35° positions. I especially like the hidden strap that makes it easier to hold with one hand.

  • apertotes

    After a few hours researching, this seems to be THE ONLY case that works reliably with the nexus wireless charger. I agree that it is mighty expensive, but I really want something that protects the tablet and allows wireless charging at the same time.

  • nick

    Chunky looking.

    ( http://goo.gl/ZDTX1N )

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