Phone cases often try to strike a good balance between functionality and style. On first glance, Noreve’s leather flip case for the BlackBerry Z30 tries to be more of the latter than the former. But can it live up to the company’s promise of “functional luxury”? Let’s have a closer look and find out.
When you first receive the case, it certainly does a good job of exuding luxury. The case is packaged in a stylized box, with a carrying pouch also provided. As you first open the box, you’re hit with the lovely smell of leather, as the Noreve case is made out of handcrafted leather that looks and feels absolutely excellent. Customers can personalize this leather to their heart’s content – Noreve offers 12 exterior colours, 35 interior lining colours and 12 leather finishes. Two different belt clips are also offered, or the option of no belt clip at all. To top it all off, Noreve will even gift wrap the packaging.
This personalization can come at a cost however – the basic black-on-black Perpétuelle leather finish with no belt clip and no gift wrapping will set you back the equivalent of $56. This is the case I tested, and it seems like a reasonable deal all things considered. But once you start dabbling with the large variety of options, that price can balloon right up to nearly $160. In fairness, however, that money gets you a custom, handmade case built with top-notch materials.
Clearly, Noreve’s got the hang of the luxury part of things. You’d have expected them to skimp on functionality along the way, but I’m glad to report that this case is actually very rather functional. The most notable detail they’ve added is the hole in the front for the LED. Not only is this a detail that many case manufacturers miss, but Noreve’s implementation is better than most that I’ve seen before. The hole is not covered with any material, and it leaves plenty of room for the light to be seen, as opposed to some cases with small, plastic-covered holes that dim the LED and make it difficult to spot at an angle. To take advantage of another BlackBerry-specific feature, the case also packs a standby mode magnet in the flip cover, which I never had any issues with.
Noreve also uses a rather unique method of keeping the case shut. Most manufacturers rely on a magnet to shut flip covers. Noreve, however, has integrated a flap into the top of the cover that latches snuggly onto the top of the Z30. This seems to be a much more reliable way of ensuring the case remains closed, though it does make it a little more difficult to open with one hand. Another detail worth mentioning is that this case flips open downwards, which ensures that the cover doesn’t fall back onto your hand or get in the way of the camera while you’re using the phone – a very small feature, but useful nonetheless.
To top it all off, Noreve has ensured that all the ports, buttons, and even the top speaker remain accessible all the time. The bottom speaker of the Z30 is covered, but there are a number of holes in the bottom of the case that allow the sound to get through. It’s still a little muffled, but works just fine if you insist on keeping the case closed while listening to some audio. Noreve has also kept open the two noise-cancelling microphones at the side, which is a relief as that’s a small detail that some manufacturers could easily forget.
As far as protection goes, I was fortunate enough not to drop my Z30 during testing, but the case seems as if it could provide some more than reasonable protection for your phone. It’s not an OtterBox, but it puts a pretty thick layer of leather between the phone and anything it may hit, the screen is always covered when you aren’t using it, and even all of the exposed ports and buttons have enough material surrounding them that they should be protected from accidental drops.
All things considered, this case is is a great blend of luxury and functionality. It delivers on Noreve’s promise by providing style and protection while ensuring you have full access to all of the Z30′s features. Though it’s not ideal for one-handed use, and is among the more expensive cases money can buy, it’s fantastically well-designed and well-built. If this case is in your price range, suits your taste, and you don’t need the hardcore protection of something like an OtterBox, there isn’t much reason not to buy one – well done, Noreve, very well done indeed. You can head on over to Noreve’s website here to order one for yourself.