Both the HTC One (M8) and One M9 shipped with a special accessory known as the Dot View case, but the company surprised people when that didn’t return for its most recent flagship. It’s actually for the better since the replacement is a lot more useful. When the HTC 10 launched in April, the Ice View case was introduced as the primary accessory. The Ice View case is a window to the phone, providing a quick look at information so you don’t have to press a physical button and swipe through menus for the essentials.
Hit the break for our review of the HTC Ice View case.
The Ice View case is a run-of-the-mill folio case that has physical alterations to separate it from what you know today. Facing you at all times is a transparent window rather than the dots that you knew on the Dot View case. So, yes, you’re getting a full view of your phone’s display. That’s great news for anyone who didn’t like deciphering little dots on the predecessor, though I doubt a problem existed. Regardless, getting to see the entire display while protecting it from incoming attacks is a big plus for the HTC and the Ice View case.
On the bottom left of the case, you’ll see HTC’s name imprinted on a little button-like piece. Underneath that is the magnetic which turns the display on and off when opening and closing the window.
The rest of the Ice View case is familiar as it provides protection to the rest of the phone, but it’s a relatively light piece of plastic as a whole and so I wouldn’t expect it to really prevent the HTC 10 from getting dents or cracks if dropped. I’m fine with that, though, because a case like this is about appearance and not protection.
When the display is on, you’re greeted with a frosty vibe that plays to the product’s name. Everything on the display is completely visible but with a cool filter that doesn’t make anything particularly sharp.
Unlike the Dot View cases, the Ice View case comes in just one color. It’s a little boring that you can’t get this case in any color other than black. The last two years, HTC’s Dot View cases came in traditional and crazy colors to give you options. Not the case with the HTC 10 and its Ice View case. Any customization comes from within the companion app, but that’s not nearly as satisfying as having color options because of limitations there as well.
Because the transparent window is so thin, you’re able to interact with the display as if the cover wasn’t even present.
The Ice View case, when the display is turned on, gives a quick glance at everything you need to see at at that moment. The date, time, and weather will always be shown, and icons for apps with incoming notifications will circulate, too.
Aside from showing daily information and notifications, the Ice View case can carry out traditional actions. You can read messages, change songs, adjust volume, and launch the Flashlight app without ever opening the window.
My favorite feature on the Ice View case, however, is being able to take pictures and record videos. Since you can see through the transparent window, HTC will let you quickly launch the Camera app and fire away. Is it a little blurry because of the frost look? Yep. But you should be able to tap to focus and trust that the phone does gets the right shot. This feature is a huge upgrade from the Dot View cases because you couldn’t see through the window, a hindrance that you don’t come to realize until your current folio case causes you to miss important moments you want to look back on.
Instant access on the Ice View case is magnificent. I just wish HTC would let us at least change graphics’ animations and colors because this is not a one-size-fits-all scenario.
So what’s open for you to tinker with here? Not a whole lot, honestly. The Ice View app is pretty bare, leaving just a handful of things on your side to change. Through the app, you can set the timeout length, manage which apps show notifications, toggle call history, and turn on/off Motion Launch gestures.
Other than those things, what you see is what you get from the Ice View case and its companion app.
HTC’s Ice View case is a tough sell for most people at $49 for two related reasons. There aren’t enough features here to justify spending that amount of money on a case when other worthy cases are way cheaper (albeit without remotely close neat tricks).
If folio cases are your thing, don’t look anywhere else. Get this first-party accessory from HTC and enjoy special features that only the Ice View case activates for the HTC 10. Though, if you want a traditional case, you’ll have to keep shopping. HTC’s Ice View case for its 2016 flagship is a little too flashy (and expensive) for those who want a simple case that provides style or protection.