After a recent survey of the options for Kindle waterproof cases, I was given the opportunity to try out one of the selections I mentioned hands-on. Since then, I’ve spent about three solid days using and testing the KlearKase for Kindle 3 and I think I have to revise a few things that I initially said about the product. For the sake of thoroughness, I think it might help to lay things out point by point here.
In spite of being a full coverage case, there is nothing that you technically cannot do with a KlearKase on your Kindle. Not only are the page turn buttons accessible, but you can easily handle the QWERTY keyboard and pop out silicon plugs to get at the power slider and headphone jack. Even the volume control is responsive.
Barring certain specific needs and circumstances, most of the time it is easy to forget you even have a case on the Kindle. This is pretty much the best compliment I can think of for something like this. The pattern on the back of the case makes it easy to grip, the page turn toggles aren’t hard to get used to, and the keyboard might even be slightly more comfortable to type on than it normally is.
The protection on this case is impressive, as it was meant to be. With one of these, your Kindle will not be scratched, dirty, or damp in any way. With the port plugs jammed in, pretty much nothing makes it through. While the KlearKase is advertised as splash-proof rather than waterproof, I jammed the thing full of paper towels and held it under water for a good 10 minutes without anything inside getting wet.
There are two minor inconveniences to be aware of, neither of which take much getting used to. First, the directional control is slightly harder to use than normal. Because it is such a low profile button to begin with, it can be a bit difficult to feel clearly through the silicon screen. Not a big deal. The other is the page turn toggles. When using this case, turning a page becomes a matter of pushing a button straight down. If you are like me and usually hold your Kindle in such a way as to make page turns a matter of just rolling your thumb a bit to squeeze the button, it might take a couple hours use before it feels natural.
The only downside I can think of here is glare. You can’t really have full screen protection without that becoming more of an issue. Outside of direct lighting like a book lamp or something, it probably won’t bother anybody much.
Like I said, the protection is great. It would take far more of a fall or crush to damage a Kindle inside one of these things than it would in most other cases. As I mentioned, water is a non-issue.
The Big Picture
This is a case I can see becoming a regular use thing. Having had one to try out, I don’t think I would consider giving a Kindle to a kid without a KlearKase(alliteration not intended). It protects, but most importantly it doesn’t get in the way. While it will never pass for a personal statement or fashion accessory, don’t overlook this one.
The demand for a Kindle Case that can stand up to the elements tends to be situational at best. Sure, you want to be able to pull out that option should you be backpacking with your Kindle or taking it to the beach, but in general it really isn’t worth the extra bulk, weight, or ridiculous appearance that go along with the current waterproof options just to use them on a daily basis. Basically, right now for the sake of comfort we are forced to accept things that offer minimal protection in order to avoid ruining the reading experience. The preferred option would, of course, be an unintrusive but completely safe case. Lacking that, as we do at the moment, it can be useful to know where the most effective options are.
As far as casual use, the best compromise I’ve found for when you want something to use all the time that will also save you from spilled drinks and short unexpected rainfall is the M-Edge Leisure Jacket. It is fairly affordable for a Kindle case at $34.99 but also provides a good amount of protection and doesn’t look ridiculous when you carry it around with you. It isn’t perfect, by any means. I would strongly recommend against dropping your Kindle in a bathtub with this one, and the screen protection results in a fair amount of glare. If moisture is a minor concern, however, it is effective.
A more durable and heavily protected option is the new KlearKase for Kindle 3. Again, it is not going to provide much protection if you decide to store your Kindle in the swimming pool. It does a lot more than the M-Edge option, though. Their product video depicts some fairly impressive splash protection in unusual boating conditions, for example. You also get ready access to all Kindle buttons and functions, unlike any other reliable waterproof case I’ve found so far. It doesn’t look nice enough that I would want to carry this around constantly, but it’s some of the best functional protection you’re likely to find. $49.99 is a bit much for a case, but if you need it then it is probably worth the investment.
The budget option, for those who don’t feel that a few hours on the beach is worth a $50 investment, is the TrendyDigital WaterGuard Case. Think of it like a durable ziplock bag for your Kindle. Mostly because it is. While it is quite inexpensive at $15.99 and not particularly attractive, this is possibly the best of the waterproofing options. I’ve seen them sit submerged without leaking for several minutes at a time. Admittedly, however, this is the only protection they give you. Even the worst of the normal case selections you’re likely to see would give you more fall damage insurance. Still, it’s a great way to keep your Kindle dry. Plus, and I know this will be the major selling point for most people, it has a strap so that you can hang your eReader from your neck!
The name OtterBox has become practically synonymous with quality and protection for any number of smartphone and tablet owners over the past couple years. As such, when one of their cases was announced for the Amazon Kindle, it seemed like a great option for people who don’t want to have to worry about accidental damage or wear and tear. Unfortunately, the reviews that have come in so far are overwhelmingly unimpressed by the end result.
Compared to cell phones, which are likely in any given day to be dropped, scratched, and generally worn out by their constant presence in the lives of owners no matter the situation, I would guess that the average Kindle is astoundingly well cared for. For many owners, as a result, the important factor in deciding on one of these cases would have to be durability without loss of functionality. Basically, people care more about their Kindle working properly than they do about how impervious it is as a general rule. To me, this makes perfect sense. Apparently it was overlooked.
Customers are complaining about the experience for any number of reasons. The screen protector seems to greatly increase experienced glare. The page turn buttons tend to stick and lose their responsive feeling when being pushed. The silicone of the sleeve itself is a magnet for any lint, oil, and debris that it happens to come into contact with. That aside, once the sleeve is on it is difficult to even make out the button functions in most light since they are identified by recessed and uncolored symbols. On top of that, it adds a noticeable amount of weight to the Kindle and gets to be quite obtrusive.
The majority of these negative reviews come from people who declare themselves fans and former owners of OtterBox products who are simply astounded by how mediocre this particular item turned out to be by comparison. Yes, it does what it is meant to do. Once you get it to fit properly, your Kindle is going to be protected very well. It just manages this in such a way as to make you more aware of the case than seems necessary. That limits the potential uses for it, in my eyes.
This might make an excellent investment for high damage potential situations. Want to get a kid a Kindle? The OtterBox case will help it last longer and costs less (as of right now) than most Kindle cases! Want to keep one in the garage? I would want one of these. But it really only works in situations where durability is the absolute most important factor.
The Kindle was intended to be, and manages in general to be, a device that doesn’t get in the way of what it was made to do. When you are using one, the experience is meant to be pleasant and allow for the same kind of reading experience you would get from a paperback. The OtterBox Commuter Case for the Amazon Kindle, by all accounts I’ve seen so far, fails to allow this. This is not what one would hope for when they hear about something like this.
As Mother’s Day approaches, naturally the first thought in everybody’s mind will be to purchase a Kindle for their mother. That goes without saying, I’m sure! But then we find ourselves in the awkward spot of having to consider what accessories and such will be the most useful to include. It would be rude to give a give that practically requires the recipient to spend money as soon as they get it, right? I’ve looked around, given it some thought, and found a couple of the more interesting cases that might help out here. There are other things that would work with the Kindle, but having a good case is generally considered almost mandatory, for protecting the device if nothing else.
This is the most likely case to catch your eye when you make a Kindle purchase. It’s made by Amazon, has a built-in booklight, a cord to hold the cover closed when not in use, and just generally does the job well. It’s a bit expensive at $59.99, but remember that that includes the ability to read in the dark without having to worry about extra batteries or clip-on lights.
I like the Marware Folio because it’s inexpensive and feels good. It’s just a basic Kindle case with an elastic strap to hold it open or closed, but the cover has a built-in strap to go around your hand which isn’t nearly as silly as I thought when I first bought one. The design is sound, it looks nice, and it can take an impressive beating. Probably my favorite of the inexpensive folio cases.
When it comes to variety of selection, I would consider M-Edge the company to go to. They have all sorts to choose from and even a service to completely personalize your cover. This one is neat because it lets you stand your Kindle on a table or counter. Particularly useful when using the Kindle as a recipe book in the kitchen, I’ve found.
Unlike the others I’ve mentioned so far, the Leisure jacket for the Kindle is a complete enclosure for the device. It is water resistant, sand resistant, very durable, and reasonably priced. The entire front of the cover is a clear vinyl that allows you to access all of the controls(aside from the power slider) without exposing your Kindle to the elements. Something like this is a must for anybody bringing their reading to the beach or on a hiking trip, but it can also come in handy in pretty much any messy situation.
When it comes to really ornate and impressive cases, Oberon is the place to go. They’re not available directly through Amazon at this time, which can be a pain, but it’s worth it if you’re trying to impress. Since all of Oberon’s Kindle cases are leather with pewter buttons they can require a bit more care than other case options. They do offer a number of designs for both of the most recent Kindle generations and the Kindle DX, the latter of which is a big help given the lack of good case selections for the DX at the moment.
The iconic Moleskine notebook brand now boasts its very own Kindle case. As fans of these notebooks would expect, the cases boast the traditional Moleskine look and feel while also offering secure placement for the reader. The Kindle is held in place against the right side of the cover by four double-stitched corner straps against a plush suede microfiber lining. On the left side, owners will be able to place soft-cover reporter style Moleskine notepads(2 included) into the case, giving them a place to jot down notes and other useful information.
Now, I get that a lot of people see Moleskine as a highly trendy thing. It probably is. They have a huge following though, and not without reason. This particular design was inspired, according to its creators, by the increasingly large number of people involved in homemade Moleskine “hacks” to modify their favorite journal type book into something with a wider range of uses(one of my favorites being the external hard drive). Whether you are personally a fan or not, the utility of having a decent notepad handy while reading is something almost anybody can appreciate, especially students, and it makes an undeniably great gift idea for anybody you know who loves their Kindle.
Also available for the Kindle DX.
Recently M-Edge began taking orders for their new Guardian case for the Kindle. This neat new accessory comes just in time for the many Kindle owners out there who want to take their reader for a relaxing day at the beach or pool. Now, the “waterproof” eReader case isn’t a new idea. There have been similar devices on the market for years now, in fact. The difference here is that M-Edge seems to have gone the extra mile to make this case worth the money and the attention.
Where other cases will let you wipe off condensation or splashes from the water, the Guardian will keep your Kindle safe in up to a meter of water, all while remaining completely functional and controllable. It also has the added bonus of providing flotation for your book, so that dropping or setting aside what you’re doing isn’t going to be something you’re left regretting.
The Guardian comes in three colors(Black, Red, and Blue), features an anti-reflective screen for better reading in the glare of the sun, weighs barely more than 1lb, and can be attached to a lanyard through a ring at the base for added security. It isn’t the cheapest thing on the market, at a surprising $80, but there can be no doubt that it’s worth the money if you’re serious about taking your Kindle with you everywhere you go.