Review: Xperia Smart Covers fail to thrill

sony xperia coverIn our efforts to try out things Android we recently gave a couple of the Sony Xperia covers a run. We tried out the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Style-Up Smart Window Cover and the Official Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Style Cover Stand Case. Results were mixed.

The Z3 cover proved to have very confusing instructions for setting it up. Now this is a mixed issue: The reason you need to do any set-up at all is because it has a nifty front window giving access to a special dashboard even when the cover is closed. That’s a lovely feature. The opaque instructions made getting it all running a bit frustrating; but once it was all up and running the cover is light, unobtrusive and effective. The two serious criticisms, though, are that it has a stud closure instead of a magnet so there’s a tendency for the closure to stick on your pocket, and that the sticky surface which holds the cover to the phone isn’t sticky enough: We simply could not get the cover to stay with the phone.

We had more luck with the tablet cover. The tablet simply clips into the cover, and that’s it. A magnetic closure means the tablet wakes up on opening the book-like cover. You can then either just fold the cover back out of the way or use it as a stand. It’s simple enough and effective. If there’s one criticism of the cover it’s only that it’s not anything as good as the iPad’s smart cover. One of the main selling points of the Xperia Z4 is that it’s the lightest tablet of its size on the market and is incredibly thin. The cover feels like it doubles the weight and adds fifty percent to the thickness, and that’s depressing. I’m sure that Sony would love to simply copy the lightweight simplicity of Apple’s approach and understand why they can’t. But it doesn’t feel like they’ve applied their design brains to an alternative that matches the marketing pitch from their top-end tablet. The cover is effective and doubtless the best available at the moment, but it would have been great to have some screen protection in a minimalist fashion that complements the Z4’s build and weight.

So our take is that if you’re after a cover for your phone the failure of the sticky back to hold your phone in place is pretty much a fatal flaw with the phone cover – other than that the cover is excellent once you work your way through the instructions. The tablet cover is as good as you’re going to get – it’s just a shame it doesn’t match the design and build quality of the Z4 tablet itself.

We were provided with a review unit of the Style-Up Smart Window Cover by the lovely people at Mobile Zap.

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