I love my Kindle Fire and use it regularly, nestled in the Oberon ‘Celtic Hounds’ design case. I am very happy with the feel and utility of that case, so anything else has a tough road against the incumbent. Speck recently sent us a FitFolio case to review for the Kindle Fire, so let’s have a look!
FitFolio is a Kindle Fire case that combines the fit of a precision-molded hard shell case, with the cover-to-cover protection in a book-style folio. The form-fit hard-shell cradle keeps your Kindle Fire securely in place, so it doesn’t slip or slide, even when the cover is folded back and held in one hand. A book-style cover protects the Kindle Fire screen when it’s in your bag or your jacket pocket. The cover is lined with super-soft padded microsuede and is held securely in place with a small bungee cord. FitFolio is available in fresh fabric or vegan leather designed to match your personality.
Protective padded cover with sleek interior
Custom-fit cradle holds your Kindle Fire in place
Two-way bungee cord keeps case closed or secures cover to back of case
The Kindle Fire is an atypical device in that it is a tablet, but it lacks a camera or any other external controls found on most other tablets. All you need to access are the power button, headphone jack and USB dock on the bottom edge. This frees up the design constraints and should allow better attention to details and accentuate the ereader and media player functionality. That is the approach taken by Speck with their FitFolio case.
The FitFolio is a book style case, which has a cover that flips from right to left like a book cover. Along the right edge is a plastic tab that secures the cover using a bungee cord. The cover is reversible, so that you can flip it around back and then secure it in place with the bungee cord. This is very convenient when you want it open for a while but don’t want to bother holding the flap around the back.
In general the build quality is quite solid. The case I tested is ‘vegan leather’ – i.e. fake – with a plastic inner section that secures around the Kindle Fire. When fully closed the case mates up well so your Fire is completely enclosed except for the speakers at top and ports at bottom. The bungee cord keeps everything locked together tightly so you can toss the Fire on a couch or wood table without worry about it falling out or getting dislodged.
To insert the Kindle Fire you open the case, slide the Fire under the lip on the right, then snap it into the left side. There is a plastic piece on the left that is separate and has a larger lip that effectively has a spring-action to hold the Fire in place securely. It is simple, but it works.
When I first inserted the Kindle Fire I had fit issues with the lower left corner not inserting all the way. Removing and re-inserting got the Fire flush with the case, but the overall fit remained not so good. You can see more in the video – I know it seems like a tiny fit issue, but as a right-handed person I tend to hold the Kindle in my left hand and then touch with the right hand. As a result I was constantly having issues where my hand would catch on the bit of protruding plastic, which was quite annoying and made me wonder how long it would be before I ended up with a cut or scrape.
One the Kindle Fire is in the case, it is simple to use in any way you wish. All of the ports are accessible – the speakers are uncovered, and the USB/Power/headphone area is also open. To use as an ereader you can use the bungee cord to tie the cover back behind the tablet, or just hold it in place. To use as a media player you insert the plastic bungee holder into the soft-slots in the cover.
There are a number of angles attainable, but due to the softness of the cover and the low depth of tab insertion, the extreme angles don’t work very well and tend to be less stable. I know that my review of the iKlip Studio with the robust stand setup spoiled me, but I found that trying to use the media mode as a true stand was an exercise in frustration – the Fire kept sliding at low angles or tipping at steep angles. This is also in direct contrast with the Oberon case which worked perfectly in media stand mode regardless of how much I touched the screen (and to answer my concern in that review, media stand mode hasn’t weakened over the last 6+ months).
Overall I found the Speck FitFolio case for the Kindle Fire to be ‘serviceable’. It does the job of covering the tablet and protecting it, and providing a media mode and storage for the flip-cover. The looks and feel of the faux-leather are solid and pleasant as well. The issues I had were of fit and the utility of the media stand; the media stand I could deal with, as this mode is mostly used as a viewer rather than an actual stand. But for a $35 case the lack of a secure fit on one of the corners was something that made me pull the cover off the moment I was done with the review. I have recently seen the FitFolio on sale at Amazon for as low as $21 – and at that price I would recommend the case without reservation. But the fit and function issues I observed make me hesitant recommending it at full price. At the very least check the fit of the case on your Fire and be sure you can return the case before ordering.
Hands on with the Speck FitFolio Case for Kindle Fire:
Review: Speck FitFolio Case for Kindle Fire
Where to Buy: Speck Store
Price: $34.99 (Amazon has it for $31.15)
What I Like: Solid design; form meets function; case easily switches to media player stand
What Needs Improvement: The corner fit was not very good; media stand mode is for watching, not touching
Source: Publisher provided review unit