Thursday, August 1, 2013

SGP Spigen Neo Hybrid for Samsung Galaxy S4 review

The Samsung Galaxy S4 might not be the prettiest smartphone out there, so when I recently acquired the soon to be former Android flagship, I set out to search for a case that would not only protect my investment, but also 'prettify' the phone. It wasn't easy. Fortunately I had an old case I once used on the Galaxy S2 lying around. A quick search on the web reveals that there is a version for the S4.

The Neo Hybrid is a two piece hybrid case. It comes in two separate parts, the inner layer which is made of silicone rubber, and a polycarbonate skeleton bumper-ish frame. This frame is designed to go over the base silicone layer. This gives the case a unique look, as well as offering users a small degree of customisation. In addition to the yellow I ordered, SGP also offers the Neo Hybrid in black, white and red variants. Three jelly bean button stickers are also included.
Unlike the many dodgy silicon cases you find on eBay, the silicon rubber inner case is soft and flexible. Installing the case is easy enough. First slip the silicon case over the phone. Once the inner case is fitted, you then simply slot the outer glossy skeleton frame into place. This isn't as easy as it appears as the frame is very tight and snug so make sure you have your largest memory card already installed. You would not want to be removing this case often.

Once fitted, the case feels solid, like it has always been part of the phone. Even the branding is inoffensive. The smooth matte texture of the silicon case is nice to touch and is easy to clean and the glossy frame allows for a better grip on the phone. Unlike the Neo Hybrid for the Galaxy S II, all four corners are covered and thus protected. This is important as, structurally, these are some of the weakest spots on a modern smartphone.
Once installed, the Neo Hybrid case retains access to all hardware controls and ports. You will find cut outs for the camera lens, flash, headphone socket, back speaker, infrared blaster, both microphones and USB port. I had no issues plugging in my Sennheiser IE8 with its L-shaped plug. The volume and power buttons are covered with chrome plastic but still retains the same good feedback as if the phone is naked. As the case is raised by about 0.5mm, the display of the phone is protected from dirt should you ever place it face down. This is the same case for the camera module.

The Neo Hybrid case appears to offer a good amount of moderate protection. I wouldn't trust the case to protect the S4 from extreme accidents. For example, this isn't a case I would use on a hiking trip to Snowdonia, but it should offer adequate amount of protection in big bad London. It is a very stylish case that offers owners of the Galaxy S4 a chance to dispense of the boring old look that Samsung created, while adding a bit of customisation to it, though I do wish SGP added a lanyard loop onto the case.

For £17.99, the Neo Hybrid isn't too pricey (have you looked at how high Apple priced their cases?). Beware of fakes out there. I bought mine direct from SGP via Amazon UK, and it appears to be genuine.


Andrew Giles said...

what lock screen / home layout is on the pictured S4? it looks awesome... want it?

Andrew Giles said...

what lock screen / home page layout is that on the pictured S4? looks awesome...

Jon Choo said...

That's Minimalisttic widget with Nova Launcher. The battery widget is Battery Reborn.

Anonymous said...

what theme is that? how did you get that?

Jon Choo said...

I honestly can't remember as I do not use it anymore, but I will post it here if I do!