KlearKase For Kindle Hands-On Review

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.

The Pros


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.

Reading Experience:

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.

The Cons


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.

Reading Experience:

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.

OtterBox for Amazon Kindle Overall Unimpressive

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.

Kindle Case Gift-Giving Suggestions

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.

Kindle Lighted Leather Cover

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.

Marware Eco-Vue Folio Kindle Case

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.

M-Edge Platform Kindle Jacket

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.

M-Edge Leisure Kindle Jacket

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.

Oberon Leather Cases

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.