A Month With The HTC Dot View Case: It's Aight.

7/11/2014 Stephen Colbert 0 Comments

I've had the HTC Dot View case for my HTC One M8 for over a month now and it's been an overall positive experience.  There are definitely several negative points, but on the whole, it's likely one of my favorite cases.  The HTC Dot View app released an update today adding a few features, so I figured its time I put down some of my thoughts into a proper review.

The Good

First, the HTC Dot View case is a very good looking case.  Most cases (especially third party cases) cover up the design language of the phone, which is one of the biggest draws of the HTC One brand.  HTC did a good job keeping the case slim so it doesn't overpower the M8's design langauge.  Access to the side and top buttons are also entirely unhindered, so it keeps a near naked feel in the hand.


The materials chosen by HTC are top notch.  Many plastic cases--especially those that clip on in favor of a full wrap--feel brittle like they will break easily.  The Dot View case is solid and sturdy, though.  It has even survived a couple unfortunate drops.

What separates the Dot View case from other cases are the special features.  The dot view case has a magnet in the top flap that tells the phone if it is open or closed, and will respond to taps and swipes in closed mode.  After the most recent update, a double tap on a closed case displays the time, then switches to a recent calls screen.  The phone will also display various notifications through the dot view flap.  It has a great look about it, very reminiscent of a Lite Brite (although maybe not quite as fabulous)!


The newest update also brought custom wallpapers to the Dot View case.  This is a similar concept to a lock screen wallpaper, except it is exceptionally pixelated since it is optimized for Dot View.  There are quite a few default wallpapers to choose from, but you can also convert your own photos for a custom wallpaper (although darker photos don't show up very well in daylight).


One of the most convenient parts of this case, is the easy unlock.  Since the Dot View component basically replaces your lock screen, opening the case performs the same action as pressing the power button.  This is great, because I feel the power button is inconveniently located (at least for my hands), but also because it pairs perfectly with Pebble Locker.  Pebble locker turns off my lock screen, so long as my Pebble is paired (a feature that will come native on Andoid L), so once I open my phone, I don't need to worry about any lock code, or even just swiping the unlock bar, it just takes me directly to my lock screen.


However, there are several detractors.  Some issues could easily be fixed in future software updates, but others are physical issues with the case that will hopefully be corrected for any future versions.

The Bad

Although I am a fan of the construction and the materials used, the soft touch plastic used for the cover is very grippy.  This makes it an issue to take out of my pocket.  This has improved some with time and I imagine it will continue to become less tacky, but it has already been over a month, so it would nice if it was smoother right out of the box.  The texture also results in a dot view patter smudge on the screen several times a day.  Screen smudging is unavoidable without a case, so I don't mind this too much, but finding a way to avoid this would be a big bonus.


The hinge on the side is also an issue.  It is definitely necessary, because it keeps the case closed when the phone is sitting face up (unlike the folio case for the HTC One M7), but it creates issues for one handed phone use.  I've managed to re-learn my grip on the phone to mostly accommodate for this, but it would be nice to see this improved upon for future iterations.

This is also not the best case to use if you are looking for a protective cover.  I had yet to drop my phone prior to using the Dot View case, but in the process of relearning my grip, I dropped it once in a parking lot, and the case separated from the phone on impact, causing the gun metal finish of the phone to receive several dings and scratches.

Although the cover does support touch actions, I find the double tap action doesn't always work.  I often need to repeat the action multiple times to bring up the Dot View screen.  Because of the grippy surface of the cover, it is also sometimes difficult to perform the sliding up or down motion to answer or decline a call.  The features are great when they work, but it's not a seamless integration.

There are also some lack features that are lacking.  Fortunately, these can all be added later in another app update, but they are currently sorely missing.  The biggest lacking feature is the notifications.  Right now, the dot view case only supports standard notifications for calls, voicemail, messages, and email.  Since I use Google Voice for texting and voicemails and Gmail for email, the only thing I receive notifications for is incoming calls.  Adding support to Google Voice and Gmail would go a long way toward improving the functionality of the case.

Overall, my experience has been positive.  Many of the detractors are more opportunities for improvement than they are negatives.  Considering many of those features are also lacking without the case, I find the case is an overall net benefit to my HTC experience and I'm excited to see what HTCs 2015 generation brings.


The HTC Dot View Case is available on Amazon for about $30 and is available in Warm Black/Dark Gray, Imperial Blue, Baton Rouge, and Orange Popsicle.


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