For many of us, one of the first things we do after purchasing a new smartphone is to buy a case for it to protect it from life’s bumps and knocks. There’s a real variety of cases to choose from ranging from slim, bulky, smart or some combination of the three. When it comes to cases, I’m a bit of a cheap skate, as shown by my using a £2.99 TPU case with my Huawei P9. While it’s done the job with no complaints, I’ve been thinking about moving to something a little more premium with added functionality. Naturally, when Mobile Fun got in touch asking me to review the official Smart View case for the P9 I pretty much snapped their hands off.
So, a flip case is a flip case, am I right? Mostly. You get flip cases that do the basics of protecting the front and back of a handset, and then you get cases such the HTC Ice View and the Huawei P9 Smart View case offering extra functionality. As you can see from the image above, the P9 Smart View case has a little side window that allows you to seen the clock, date, weather, and location, without having to lift the flap.
The P9 Smart View case can be had in dark grey, pink, gold, gold or brown, which is the color I chose to review. I figured my Mystic Silver P9 would look great in the brown flip case, and I was right.
The Smart View case is made out of synthetic leather, so no actual cows were harmed in the production of the accessory. While the material feels synthetic, it doesn’t feel too plasticky and there is a patterned texture that aids grip. The flip case may add around 2mm of bulk to the phone, but it’s still easy to hold in the hand and doesn’t make the P9 feel like a phablet or anything. I usually don’t enjoy using flip cases mostly due to the awkwardness of using them and the flap being a slave to gravity, so I found it unfortunate that the case doesn’t have a magnet on the flap to keep it in place. It’s a personal preference, flip case lovers will be used to the little quirks of such cases.
There are cutouts on the rear of the case for the fingerprint scanner and the dual cameras and flash, along with a cutout on the flap for the front speaker. The cutout for the fingerprint reader has a nice ring to it which guides your chosen finger to the scanner. The audio jack and USB Type-C charging port are easily accessible, but the hybrid SIM/MicroSD card tray is hidden, so you must remove the handset from the case if you want to change SIM cards or remove the MicroSD card. It isn’t perfect, but considering how often SIM and MicroSD cards are changed, it shouldn’t be a big deal. As you can see, the Huawei brand name is also present on the rear panel, and it’s a good example of how to brand your products, inoffensively.
There’s a faux join on the fold, and although it doesn’t really serve a practical purpose, it does add to the case’s aesthetics somewhat.
On to the business end of the review, and I was a little underwhelmed at the smart aspects of the case, which seems to be limited by the P9’s firmware without much leeway in customization. Basically, you can choose to have the time, date, weather, and location, or nothing at all. While it does have its limitations, being able to see the aforementioned data in the side window is a neat feature to have. That being said, it seems that the Smart View case only displays information as long as the screen is lit. Once the handset goes to sleep, so does the Smart View window and the only way to keep it active is to wake up the device by pressing the power button or, you guessed it, lifting the flap briefly.
My last niggle with the case is that the Smart View window is a fingerprint magnet, at times it seemed that it would be smeary just by looking at it, but that could just be me as the displays on my devices are usually smeary messes anyway. Still, it’s something to consider.
Unlike the HTC Ice View case, the official Huawei P9 Smart View case doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Instead, it’s priced much more reasonably at around $27.49(£24.99), and as mentioned before, can be had in dark brown, pink, gold, or brown. It still isn’t exactly cheap as chips, but if you want a flip case to fully protect your P9 while displaying information for a time, the official Smart View flip case is well worth taking a chance on.
Buy it now: MobileFun