Thursday, April 28, 2016

WaterField SleeveCase for Microsoft Surface Pro 4 / Surface Book review



I decided to start the Microsoft Surface devices reviews series with a thing I spent the most time looking for - a case. Getting a proper protection for such an expensive device like Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book is fundamental. Not only to avoid some serious damage (both devices are rather unrepairable), but also to keep these shiny gadgets in a good visual condition.


It's not a secret that portability always comes in pair with a potential risk of having some unexpected scratches, caused by permanent moving the device, pulling it out of the bag, using it outdoor (train, bus, car) or simply travelling with it.

When I was looking for a perfect case for my Surface Pro 4 I had two crucial requirements in mind:

1. It has to be thick, soft but also handy.
2. It can't have a potentially risky elements.

What exactly does it mean? Thick for outside impacts protection, soft to avoid unexpected scratches when inserting and removing the device from the case, and handy to be able to pack in inside the business bag.

Risky elements are all kind of zippers (it might damage the delicate aluminium body if the device in a case fell to the ground from the side of the zipper) or buttons (the same reason as above).

The most popular case (but not a sleeve case) up to date is the Urban Armor Gear Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Case. How comes? I don't know. I would never buy such a hard and ugly shell for a gadget that took first place in every contest of its category - and one of the winning key was always the spectacular design.

The rest of the competition in this category has either zippers, they are too thin, ugly or simply too ordinary and not very original in terms of the design.

Loosing my hope to find this "something" I had pictured in my mind, I found a company located in San Francisco - WaterField Designs. What attracted my attention in a first place was an unusual design of their products. Luckily it took me only few seconds to find a dedicated Surface Pro 4 cases on their site. Looking closely at all the pictures and a short video, I concluded that's the product I was looking for.

Before making the final decision I spent some time chatting with Heidi from WaterField Designs team - an extremely kind and helpful person, who explained to me the differences between 2 models I was confused about - SleeveCase and Dash Sleeve. I ended up with the SleeveCase model as the one that can ensure a better protection for the device when travelling. International shipping took a while, but it was so worth to wait!

Design and material

What makes this case even greater, is that you can choose between two completely different finish materials - black ballistic nylon with perforated nylon trim or tan waxed canvas with grizzly leather trim. I went for the second one, as it perfectly fits the leather business bag I own. Also, you can choose between two different case orientation - horizontal or vertical.
Ballistic Nylon Shell material
Tan Waxed Canvas material
The tan waxed canvas material is very soft in touch and it just feels great. I doesn't feel like some cheap material. Actually, it feels a little bit like a luxury alcantara material. It's definitely something unique and uncommon for such type of products. The size of the case if perfectly fitted for the Surface Pro 4 naked or with Type Cover keyboard. At the top there's a lightly padded flap with a Velcro closing system. Even if the shape of the case is rather simple, the overall design is fantastic!

Functionality

Apart from the finish material and orientation, you can choose if you'd like additional strap for the case. The selection is between none, d-rings only or full suspension strap. I believe it's worth to have these suspension strap, as it might be very useful for people who won't travel with an extra bag. But again - leaving this decision to customers elevates the product flexibility and guarantees being one more extra step ahead the competition, where the colour option is the only option you have, most of the time.
Ballistic Nylon Shell with an extra suspension strap
At the back of the case you'll find a little pocket, but I wouldn't recommend carrying there some hard stuff. Keep in mind the back of the Surface Pro 4 is very delicate and you might easily deform it with a pressure even from a hard object.

Although the protection inside the SleeveCase if very good due to the very thick and soft material, remember that in case of a sudden hit from the outside, some hard object inside this back pocket might leave a deformation mark on the back of the Surface Pro 4. It's still a sleeve case after all, but using it wisely gives as good protection as any type of a hard shell, unless you're going to use it at war.

Back pocket, better for some documents instead of a hard items
Final thoughts

With no doubts, Surface Pro 4 SleeveCase made by WaterFiled Designs is a unique product. The design and build quality are all top notch, plus you have a variety of options to go for (material and colour, orientation, straps). Apart from being very good looking case, it very well protects the device inside. The soft interior finish guarantees no scratches on the back of the device. It looks greats, it feels great, and it works great. Totally worth the price.

For me, the best in its category. I can't say much about the durability yet, but I believe there won't be surprises.

PS.

Surface Pro 3 or Surface Book owner? Worry not! You can choose the size of the case dedicated either for Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book.

Overall score: 10/10

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