The NOOKcolor is a great device, but like all electronics it needs a certain degree of protection. Loose in a bag there are too many things that could scratch, crack, or damage the screen or plastic body. But cases that offer total protection often add significant bulk, or are awkward to hold, or have various other tradeoffs. The Speck FitFolio appears to address all of that; is it the perfect blend of protection and size, or a swing and a miss? Read on to find out!
First, here’s what Speck has to say:
- Protective padded cover with microsuede interior
- Custom fit cradle holds your NOOKcolor in place
- Two-way bungee cord keeps case closed or secures cover to back of case
I really like the “custom fit cradle” design. It fits the NOOKcolor very well, and doesn’t add much additional bulk at all. And even with tightly fitting the NOOK, the cradle does not extend up over the edges, so you don’t run into any annoying issues with the case coming too close to the edge of the screen. On the flap side, Speck thoughtfully pads the part that touches the screen and even left a small cutout for the “n” button. That way the screen and device are effectively protected against a direct hit (through the stiff cover and padding), and if something does sit on the cover and exert pressure, it won’t wake up the device and drain your battery.
The closure method is also quite well designed. At first I was apprehensive about the bungee closure. It seemed like it would be difficult to pry on and off, but it actually opens and closes in a smooth motion. I keep my fingernails very short, and I had no problem getting my fingers under the bungee cord to open the case. Speck argues you can also use the bungee to hold the flap backwards, which is handy if you really hate the feel of a loose cover as you’re reading. There is no way to set up the bungee to work as a kickstand, but the cover is stiff enough that you can easily prop the NOOKcolor vertically. It’s not super stable but it works in a pinch.
I do have a few nitpicks with the design of the FitFolio though. First, it exposes the microSD slot corner, but not enough to allow access to the card. So it appears to be purely aesthetic, and all it accomplishes is leaving one corner of the NOOK at risk for damage. The cradle design also has a very slight bit of play to it, making the whole package creak. It’s not a huge deal, but the NOOKcolor is so solid that the bit of creaking and play is definitely noticeable. Finally, I find the plastic/synthetic leather combo on the back to look a bit cheap. I know it would add a small amount of bulk to cover the cradle in material, but it would look better.
Despite my quibbles, I think this is the best case I’ve seen for the NOOKcolor. It is stylish, offers cutouts for almost every port and button, and keeps the whole package compact and protected. The purple really pops, and the black is professional enough that you could walk into the boardroom toting it easily. It’s a very well designed case.
Unfortunately, this is a bit of a sneak peek. These cases will be released this fall, with the MSRP to be determined at a later date. But the Kindle version of the FitFolio sells for $29.95, so it’s probably safe to say the NOOKcolor FitFolio will fall in the same range.
Of course, there is a way you can get your hot little hands on a Speck FitFolio sooner…but you’ll have to stay tuned to Gear Diary to see how!
What I Like: Fits well; compact style; solid screen protection; good build quality.
What Needs Improvement: One corner is exposed; microSD slot is blocked