I own a Motorola Q Smartphone (which I love) and I wanted to protect it against drops. In the past I have occasionally dropped my cell phones and been pretty lucky that they have not been severely damaged. In fact, 1 week after owning the Q I dropped it in the kitchen on the floor and the case flew off, the battery few out … I got very lucky that all was still well. So I decided it was time to get something to protect my Q. (Plus, I have a 1 year old daughter who just love to carry it around the house so it helps to have drop protection.)
I carry my Smartphone in my pants pocket so I needed a case to be thin but durable. I was not looking for something big and bulky but rather something that would handle the occasional drop. I considered getting a leather or plastic case, and while there are certainly some very nice ones out there, I felt they were all too bulky to carry in my pocket. It seems that most cases are meant to be strapped on your pants or on your belt.
In my search, I ran across a product called FlexiSkin made by Boxwave. Boxwave makes cases for several products including cell phones, Smartphones, cameras and portable music players. They have a FlexiSkin designed specifically for the Q so I decided to give it a try. The FlexiSkin appears to be made of a rubbery/silicone like substance that is soft to touch, stretches and seems durable enough to sustain light drops and bumps.
They offer the FlexiSkin in several colors, so if you are in to that you have some options. For me, I just wanted something subtle so I chose the clear/frosted skin color. They have photos of all of the skins on their web site so you can see what the colors look like.
The skins for the Q also come either with or without a keyboard cover. I like my keyboard to be completely unobstructed so I chose to get a skin that did not cover the keyboard. My purpose for the skin is to protect against minor drops. If the Q drops, the keyboard is the least of my worries. I am mostly concerned with the edges and a little bit of a barrier on the front and back to absorb the impact. In any event, they have the fully covered keyboard as an option for those who are interested.
If you want the fully covered keyboard and are concerned about being able to press your keys accurately, I would not worry too much. In the model I chose the keyboard was not covered however the menu buttons and the D-Pad are covered by the skin. I thought this might be a problem to accurately press the buttons (or to see them through the skin), however I was wrong. Pressing the D-Pad and the menu buttons through the skin is quite easy and in some cases makes it easier to find the button since it has a bit of a tactile feel to it. I cannot say for certain if the keyboard cover offers this same textured approach for the keys since I did not try that model, however.
The FlexiSkin comes with 2 parts: the skin and a strap. I have no desire to attach the strap to my Q’s skin however if you do, the strap appears to be able to be connected to the skin or the Q with a loop like most straps. I left the strap off since I have no need for it. The skin itself is very soft and very flexible.
Here is the skin on its own. It has several cutouts that align very well with the Q. There are large cutouts for the screen and the keyboard as well as several smaller cutouts for the microphone, speaker, track wheel, USB slot, miniSD slot, headphone jack, camera lens and camera flash. They all lined up very closely with the corresponding parts of the Q for me.
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The skin has a nice amount of stretch to it.
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Installing the skin is easy enough. I pushed the bottom of the Q through screen cutout in the skin. The skin gently stretched and I slid the Q all the way into the bottom. It made a nice tight fit and slid quite easily. Then I stretched the top of the skin over each corner of the Q. Not knowing how much stretch there is to the skin, I was careful not to pull too hard nor to pull on a small piece at the top. I have heard some others users of the skin mention that their’s had torn on the top. I am happy to report that my skin has not torn even after about 5 weeks of constant use where I put it on and take it off almost every day. However, I can easily see how the skin might tear if pulled to hard, so I plan on being careful to pull on larger pieces.
<TABLE border=0> <TBODY> <TR> <TD><IMG alt=”” src=”/photos/jpapa/images/147978/original.aspx” border=0></TD> <TD><IMG alt=”” src=”/photos/jpapa/images/147979/original.aspx” border=0></TD></TR> <TR> <TD><IMG alt=”” src=”/photos/jpapa/images/147980/original.aspx” border=0></TD> <TD><IMG alt=”” src=”/photos/jpapa/images/147981/original.aspx” border=0></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE> <P> </P> <P>Usage:</P> <P>The skin has a nice feel to it. Its soft and smooth, yet it is not so smooth that its slippery. It has a slight textured feel to it that is not sticky. When I go out I put the Q inside the FlexiSkin and put it in my pants pocket. I dropped it 3 times from about 3 feet as a test. I figured that was generally about the height that it would slip out of my hand when putting it in or out of my pocket. The FlexiSkin hit the floor first, absorbing most of the impact and preserving the Q. There were no issues with the Q (unlike the time it flew into 3 pieces when I dropped the Q without any protective skin). Its still thin enough where it is not obtrusive in my pocket, too.</P> <P>One complaint I have with the skin is that although it still keeps the Q very think and adds very little bulk, it does add just enough bulk that the Q does not fit into the cradle while the skin is on it OK, this might be an obvious point, but I was hoping that I could get it in the cradle still. Its not a big issue as I imagine that the Q would have to be removed from any case before putting it in the cradle. So when i charge my Q, I either plug it in directly to the USB charger cable or I remove the Q from the skin and put the Smartphone in the cradle without the skin. Again, not a huge issue, but it would be nice.</P> <P> </P> <P>Overall:</P> <P>I would not recommend it for rain protection nor to protect against throwing it against a wall nor to protect against driving a car over it. (Yes, some cases do claim to offer these features.) Overall I am happy with the FlexiSkin. It has a nice feel to it, does not make it difficult to press the buttons, adds very little bulk to the Q, and appears to absorb the impact of the occasional drop. Some users have reported that it is prone to tears around the top where the skin is thinner, however I did not experience that after several weeks of putting it on and off 5 days a week. I recommend taking a look at FlexiSkin if you are in the market for a skin for your device.</P> <P> </P> <P><FONT color=#ff0000>UPDATE:</FONT></P> <P>I received a question from a few readers regarding whether the skin will fit even with the extended battery in the Motorola Q. The answer is yes, but not nearly as snug as with the standard battery. But yes, the skin stretches over the extra girth of the Q with the extended battery.</P> <P> </P>