Case-Mate Barely There Case for the Bold 9700: Review
A few weeks ago, my BlackBerry Bold 9700 gave up on me– all of a sudden the OS was sluggish, the phone failed to recognize the standby key, and I was dropping calls left and and right. It wasn’t a pretty picture.
Clearly, it was time for a “new”* phone. After trying various troubleshooting techniques with a lovely rep over at T-Mobile’s Customer Care line (all of which failed), I was able to get a replacement Berry sent to me.
Of course, I desperately wanted to protect my “new” BlackBerry from any harm (read: protect and ensure max. resale value to buy a new iPhone 4).
As you may have been able to infer from my WaterField Designs review, I’m a fan of minimalism. As a general rule of thumb, I want a low-profile case that does the job right.
So when I crossed paths with the Barely There Case (via the Case-Mate website), I was intrigued to check it out; the case promises to be “barely there.” (+1 for minimalism). Wondering how the case fared against the brutal Miami sun and some other “rugged” conditions? Continue reading to find out in this TechTrackr.com Review.
*I put new in quotations because T-Mobile sends factory refurbished models… What are refurbished models exactly? I can’t really tell you, which is why we’ll be bringing you an investigative piece on these refurbs in the near future.
The Barely There, a one piece case, lives up to its name because, well, it’s essentially just a thin piece of plastic. It really doesn’t add very much bulk to the phone which I like.
Inserting the 9700 into the case is very easy: simply snap the phone in and wa-la. Taking the phone out of the case is a cinch too: when you apply pressure to one side, the phone glides out.
In terms of utility, the case protects the back of the phone and the sides of the phone very well while still allowing access to all of the Bold’s buttons and miscellaneous ports.
Of course, the keys become essentially recessed– don’t worry though, they’re still very easy to get to.
But, the Barely There Case isn’t perfect. Because the case opts for a minimalist design, it sacrifices complete protection. Notice in the photos below how part of the bottom chrome bezel as well as the top bezel are left exposed when the 9700 is in the case. So, if maximum protection is your niche, this case probably isn’t for you.
Now, I did drop my 9700 a number of times while it was enclosed within the Barely There Case. Overall, the case fared well against some pretty mean concrete. I must admit however that the case incurred a relatively long scratch along the way. Also, the phone popped out once or twice.
In terms of design & form factor, the case is rather sleek sleek. Not to mention that it feels pretty solid in the hand. There’s not much wiggle room either, which is a plus; the case grips the Bold very well.
The Case-Mate Barely There for the 9700 is available in nine distinct, and honestly somewhat unusual, colors.
Check out this wild (read: hideous) color option:
Interestingly, Case-Mate offers a resounding sixteen color options for the phone’s predcessors, the Bold 9000. Personally, I like the 9000′s color palette better.
Colors aside, I really, really appreciate the fact that Case-Mate included a screen protector, installation card/instructions, and a small cleaning cloth with the case’s packaging. In total, Case-Mate’s giving every single customer ~$10 worth of free goodies.
The Barely There Case from Case-Mate is is available for $19.99 through on a number of online retailers– for more information, visit Case-Mate’s Barely There page here.
Note: The Barely There Case is available for a number of other mobile devices including the iPhone 4.
- Excellent, snug fit
- Good-looking design, feels great in the hand
- Free screen protector, decal, and cleaning cloth
- Price– MSRP $19.99
- Free USPS shipping via Case-Mate website
- Added camera protection (because of recessed design)
- Color selections aren’t the greatest
- Case doesn’t offer maximum protection (top and bottom bezels are partially exposed)
Overall, I’ve been very satisfied with the Barely There Case from Case-Mate. The case’s ability to protect my phone while still offering a minimalist form-factor earns this cases an impressive four out of five stars. At a very affordable $20, the Barely There’s a great buy.
Disclaimer: The case does not offer full protection– if you’re really rough on your phone, something like an Otterbox is probably right up your ally.
Do you buy from Case-Mate often? If so, are you an owner of the Barely There Case? Do you think it offers enough protection? Or, are you looking for a more “full-bodied” case?
Be sure to sound off in the comments with your thoughts on the case, the review, or anything else on your mind for that matter!