Today we’re looking at cases for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” and the Nook HD+
We've covered the Nook HD+ and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” in their own review. We've also seen custom stands to fit them both. Next up is a variety of cases. Most universally fit both tablets as they are very close in size, but a few are specifically fit to the Kindle. The problem with any tablet without an apple engraved on the back is that you don't get any of the bells and whistles for the most part. Cases with awesome fabrics and specialized stands built in are usually marketed to Cupertino's finest alone. Luckily, a few generous companies are making things like custom fit ultra thin cases and heavy duty protective cases that allow you the options you deserve on the tablet that you want. No more being pigeon-holed into a certain tablet because all the cool kids are doing it. Though some of the cases will say they are for one tablet or the other, most are universal and therefore they don't account for things like the kindle's odd charging port placement. Look through the options below and you might be able to have your tablet and your cool case too! Read on...
MyEdge custom designed case (universal tablet) by m-edge
You've seen m-edge product on the site before and the review was mixed. The real problem was due to very high expectations based on the design rendering on the site. The render was a very clear and clean version that didn't necessarily reflect the capabilities of the company's printing process. I don't know for sure if the company has modified the design tool, but this time the experience was much better. The render showed everything from the microfiber leather spine, to the bend built into the back cover with very realistic detail. That bend allows you to use the case as a stand and it works well enough. One remaining design tool issue that I saw was that though I centered my back cover design within the tool, it doesn't account for the stitching. The stitching creates a new psuedo-edge that makes my eye see the back cover as a bit off center though it is technically centered. You'll see in the slideshow a picture that illustrates this issue. That one slight aside, I'm very happy with the final result here.
The company also sent out the Incline 360 tablet case. Like the custom case, this is basically a universal case as well. It has a very clean look and it's on sale for under $20 at the moment. Considering the build quality, that's a deal you need to jump on. It isn't the thinnest case, but the built in stand capabilities are extremely solid. It also allows you to rotate between portrait and landscape. In the end you have 3 landscape and 2 portrait stand positions available. A small micro suction strip keeps the case closed but you lose the instant on/off benefit of magnetic closure cases. The site will let you specify which device each case is for, but the Nook HD+ and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 both fit in the two cases well. It's a basic elastic four corner fit system. There is no cutout to accommodate the Kindle's charging port while the case is closed.
Create Your Own case (universal tablet) by caseable
Caseable is another company that offers a very custom (and handmade to order) option. Where M-edge had a less than realistic design rendering, Caseable doesn't really offer one at all. A small thumbnail of the final design proof shows up when you click the add to cart option but there is no way to enlarge it. When you actually purchase the case, the confirmation email has a slightly smaller preview image, but again, it's not enough to get any clear idea of what you're receiving. This is a large oversight in the process. You need to be confident enough in your product to show a large full detail image proof of the final design, preferably with some type of filter applied to reflect things like fabric variation, stitching, spine material, etc. You do get a real time larger preview while designing, but it isn't reflective of the final product. When I finished my design, it was a bit of a roll of the dice. I didn't know what I would receive in the end. I ended up getting lucky because Caseable delivers a great final product, but I shouldn't of had to guess here. Colors were true, lines were crisp and the overall quality of the build was great. The case uses recycled neoprene as padding and recycled polyester fabric on the outside which is nice to know. The polyester fabric isn't the most luxurious look, but it seems to be very stain resistant and should perform well over time. In terms of build, the Caseable case doesn't feel as premium, but the printing is ultimately better than the m-edge case. One extra little touch is a small pocket inside the case for business cards or small pieces of paper. The case is very thin but that is because it is so basic. There is no built in stand feature but some people don't need it.
Again, this is a very simple four corner elastic fit. It's actually a little more simple than the m-edge case which adds a little reinforcement to the elastic straps. An annoyance with both cases and the universal elastic fit is that buttons are covered. Since it is elastic, it's very simple to move aside or even press through, but you shouldn't have to in the end. There is no cutout to accommodate the Kindle's charging port while the case is closed.
SLIMLINE (Kindle Fire HD 8.9) by Poetic cases
This is the first custom fitted option I'm showing. This is for the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 and only that tablet.... unfortunately it doesn't do a great job to custom fit the tablet it's made for. All of the cutouts match, it has a magnetic closure which triggers auto on/off, and the piece feels sturdy while still being extremely thin. Unfortunately, the build is lacking severely. Off the bat, the piece is packaged in cellophane. It also costs under $10 on Amazon though, so beggars can't be choosers. I wasn't judging the packaging, what I was judging was the fact that one of the magnets had popped out and was floating inside the package. I had to get out the super glue myself and that's not a very good first impression unfortunately. I was excited to overlook the magnet though because this is an extremely thin fitted case with a built in stand and magnetic on/off for under $10. I popped the tablet into the fitted plastic inner case and I seemed to have trouble popping in the left side, that's never really gotten much easier. It's in enough to function, but a drop would potentially send the tablet itself flying out of the case. This case offers a lot, but I'd be glad to pay just a little more for a proper fit. If you lead a gentle gadget life and aren't afraid of accidental drops this might be the piece for you.
Handcrafted Leather Case (universal tablet) by Hidden Mountain curriers
A certain term is thrown around these days. It's built a very negative connotation over time and unfortunately this lifestyle has attached itself to a certain style. The trouble with the “hipster” is a common attitude that has become prevalent in places like Brooklyn, Portland and certain parts of Los Angeles. The worst examples of the hipster attitude all involve a smug and very jaded outlook on most things. Unfortunately, things that aren't inherently horrible like vests, pocket watches, old-timey hairstyles/ facial hair to an extent, and well designed handmade products have been lumped into this group's identity. It's important to be confident enough to separate yourself from society's labels, but it's a bummer to have something awesome project a non-truth about you as a person. Edison light bulbs are very cool, but if you tell someone you only use expensive handmade old timey light bulbs and they don't immediately laugh, then they either aren't really in touch with reality or they are selling Edison light bulbs.
The undeniably amazing byproduct of the “hipster” idea is the resurgence of artisan products. After the big wars, we gradually turned into a society of convenience. Cheap, fast, and simple were the only qualities that mattered. Canned, frozen, plastic, and mass produced turned once essential jobs into novelties or hobbies. Quality is GREAT! We've become so used to made in China that many people wouldn't hesitate to buy a much more deficient product to save .32 cents. The problem isn't that we're cheap necessarily, it's that many of us are trained to seek out the deal and we don't consider the actual product enough. Michigan based Hidden Mountain Curriers is pushing the boundaries of handmade leather products. Of course they have the bestsellers of the day, tablet and phone cases, but they also offer some really fun things that you wouldn't think of immediately. Things like a Hand tooled Leather Chessboard, a leather mini maglight belt sheath, camera, rifle, and guitar straps and even full-sized backpacks and purses. It's great that we live in a time that supports this type of artisan craftsmanship.
The design of the tablet case couldn't be simpler. It makes your tablet look like an awesome journal. It's the best kind of luxury item because it doesn't need to advertise the fact that it's expensive. No shiny fabrics, no bells or whistles. This is ultimately a leather wrap for your tablet that will last forever. Best of all, the full-grain stone oiled leather is finished to be weather resistant and it should only get nicer with use. There is a hard middle period akin to a teenager's awkward years. When you first get the piece it is pristine. You'll quickly discover that the suede like finish easily becomes marked up and it can look a bit dirty for a period, but patience should reveal a unique patina that will be your own work of practical art. The case closes with a small flap of leather with a hole that accepts a small brass button. It is a nice touch that will age with the leather and last just as long as the leather. It's funny to say it, but this is the tablet case that you might just pass on to your grandchildren.
There is no cutout to accommodate the Kindle's charging port while the case is closed.
Handmade Hardcover Lotta Jansdotter Seaside Stripe case (universal tablet) by iris + lily
Continuing with the handmade idea, iris + lily makes tablet covers that make your cold hard electric device look like a paper journal. The company has a very wide range of designs using different materials. A consistent theme seems to be contrasting colors and textures in each design. The Lotta Jansdotter Seaside Stripe immediately caught my eye. The design is masculine enough while still being interesting. Each case is made to order and with most items it's nice to look forward to variation. The differences between the example picture and the product I received were small but enough to change the feel of the case. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't what I wanted. The company seems very willing to comply to your preference so I can say if you specify that you want EXACTLY the case picture they will deliver that. Unfortunately, I didn't have this foresight. The design features thick vertical stripes paired with a dark linen textured design. The dark linen looked even better in person, the vertical stripes weren't as successful. The issues all happened for me at the border of the two fabrics. In the picture the border is softened with a dark gray ribbon. In actuality I received a white shiny textured ribbon which makes the feel of the case a bit more feminine. Also, the stripes aren't exactly straight but that's by design. In the pictured design, the dark ribbon is applied across edge of a yellow stripe and it makes a perfectly straight border between the two fabrics. In the piece I received, the white ribbon sits across a crooked white stripe and the border feels a bit sloppy and not nearly as clean. These two small points were enough to change the experience in the end. Be specific when ordering here and you'll be happy with the look and feel of this very well made case.
On the practical side, the case has a magnetic closure that does NOT trigger the auto on/off unfortunately. It also has one of the less successful built in stands of the cases I've seen. You can position it to stay upright but not with much confidence. A bit more reinforcement would be welcome here. There is no cutout to accommodate the Kindle's charging port while the case is closed.
Defender Series (Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9) by OtterBox
You should know OtterBox by now, they make THE definitive protective case. The kind of case you can throw across a room without too much worry of your device exploding. They do have some consistent criticisms though, chief among them are difficulty getting cases on and off of your device, dust gathering under built in plastic screens, and hard to press buttons. Some of those gripes are still here, but there isn't better protection available for this specific tablet that I've seen. The tablet case itself is enough, but the set also comes with an integrated cover that turns into a stand. It's a very complete thought all told.
Though, anyone who purchases it will most likely keep it regardless, the case is easy enough to install, but extremely difficult to remove with just your hands. OtterBox really needs better instructions and an included pry tool here. People will use pens, knives, nails, etc. to try to open the integrated locking points and some will either damage the case or tablet or even hurt themselves. I ended up with plenty of sore fingertips and bent fingernails during testing. When the case is on it's on though. Like many of Otterbox's cases this is a two part case. A fitted silicon outer skin and a plastic inner skeleton. The silicon skin is fitted perfectly, you won't find sloppy saggy edges like on some two part cases. Built in flaps cover open ports and aside from cutouts for the speakers on the back and the camera on the front, the case is sealed. Dust, dirt, and oil still find their way in though. I really wish there was a way to completely seal the included plastic screen protector. Some opt to remove it completely and just apply a screen protector to their device directly, be aware that you'll void the OtterBox warranty if you do this though. Some also complain that the built in screen protector adds too much glare which the Fire itself does a good job of managing while naked. I personally didn't see a huge difference.
The added bonus here is the plastic cover. Not only does it protect the face of the screen even further, it does that much more to seal out dirt. The cover has four rubber bump stops on it's face to protect furniture and inside you'll find an expandable stand that allows three different positions. The bump stops make the stand so sturdy that you could literally punch the tablet with glee and it would stay standing (don't punch your electronics please) The case attaches so securely that you could comfortably pack the tablet loosely in your checked luggage without worry. The buttons are still a bit difficult to press and I mentioned the issues with removing the case, all told OtterBox makes the best protective cases on the market for most devices. They were good enough to design a model for the slightly niche Kindle Fire tablet when so many others passed. You have to admire that because it shows that the company does care a bit about protecting your products above blind profit hoarding. Making anything other then an Apple device case is a clear risk. Good companies take the risk to provide a more complete catalog of product.
Premium Leather Case (Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9) by Noreve Saint-Tropez
Finally, Noreve Saint-Tropez. You've also seen this French company's premium pieces on this site more than once but never in such a large design. They use premium materials and hand make cases that are truly different. They most closely match the styling of couture woman’s purses. It always perplexed me that a ladies purse, an abused thing that sits on dirty floors at outdoor cafes, could cost hundreds of dollars. When you feel the materials used the idea is a little less out there. You hear “like butter” used to describe everything but Noreve's cases feel inside and out like they were poured into molds rather than stitched together. The fabric stays cool and your hand just glides across the premium leather in different finishes. This time I selected a suede like finish in an orange color. I'd seen the traditional white, black, and brown leathers. I wanted to see how the colors looked. Rather than Tang or sunny D, this is a beautiful natural orange close to a very ripe apricot. The cases uses the same mesh speaker covers that the phone versions use and it also features a button closed flap that acts as a stand and stays put when not in use. The fit is custom and perfectly tight without being difficult to take the device in or out. Though this piece is fitted to the tablet, it oddly doesn't incorporate a cutout for the charging port. It does, thankfully, incorporate a magnet for auto on/off with the flap opening.
A slight annoyance to report. The magnetic closure flap appeared dirty compared to the rest of the case. Noreve told me that this was a specific quality of the leather used and could be “cleaned up” with a Nubuck or Suede eraser.
Thank you again to the companies above for supplying their product for this review.
ENJOY YOUR GADGETS!