For the past three days, I've had the pleasure of outfitting my original Surface Pro with the first rugged case I've experienced. The case is from Urban Armor Gear (UAG), and while the company makes cases for a wide range of other popular tablets, this is their first try at one designed specifically for Microsoft's tablet offerings. The case I've been testing is for the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, but the company stated they are working on a version for the Surface Pro 3. There's no indication, though, of when a Surface Pro 3 model might be released.
For those that have followed my reviews for various Surface add-ons, you know that I settled on my favorite case, the Manvex Leather Case, in January. You can still read the review HERE. I've been completely satisfied with this case and it was tough for me over the past few days to separate what I loved about the Manvex from what makes the UAG spectacular. But, after day one of using the UAG, I was able to set aside my love for the Manvex and truly dig into what makes the UAG special.
I'll outline the areas I believe are important to know about the UAG and the areas where the most common questions crop up.
Is it really tough?
Toughness is the one specific area that UAG had in mind when developing this case. After slapping my Surface Pro into the case, I could immediately sense something was different. I actually felt a bit more at ease carrying the Surface Pro around with the tough case attached. UAG promotes the case as being drop-tested. But seriously, what reviewer is really going to drop their tablet just to test the claim? Well, as fortune would have it, I didn't have to consider it, since I ended up dropping the Surface Pro accidentally – and the case held up! I've never dropped my Surface Pro – EVER – until this weekend, and it ironically ended up being the one time I could do it without damage thanks to the UAG case.
Despite my inadvertent testing of the UAG's survival ability, the case just feels and looks tough. It's made of Frogskin technology, making it easy to grip when it's both dry and wet. And, now I hear you thinking: "How could he drop the Surface Pro if the material is meant to eliminate slips?" My accidental drop had nothing to do with the UAG case, but was more a case where I was trying to carry too many things at once, and, honestly, this is probably where the UAG case makes the most sense. This case is perfect for those busy business workers trying to lug around client files, a briefcase, a laptop bag, and other miscellaneous items all at once. I don’t care who you are, something is going to accidentally drop eventually. The UAG case is tough enough to handle a drop – and I'm proof of that.
I mentioned that the case looks tough, too, and it does. Available only in black, the UAG case makes your Surface Pro look futuristic and impenetrable.
The UAG case comes with a snap-out kickstand in the back and provides the exact same viewing angle of the original Surface Pro. Unfortunately, it does not provide a second viewing angle like the Surface Pro 2, and that's primarily due to the attached strap contraption that limits how far the kickstand can expand.
For those who (like me) have taken to using the Microsoft Surface on your lap, the kickstand will leave horizontal pressure marks across your thighs. But, this is really the result using any case, except, of course, a Manvex-type.
The UAG case provides no Surface screen protection (it only secures the sides and back), but instead relies on using a Type cover. The Type cover works great, but interestingly I found that the Power Cover actually provides a better, more solid fit.
To hold the Type Cover (or Power Cover) in place, UAG developed an elastic, bungee cord-type mechanism.
Once you close the Type Cover, you stretch the bungee around each of the top corners. I was a little reluctant to believe that this would, indeed, hold the Type Cover closed, but I was pleasantly surprised (particularly after dropping the Surface) by how stable this feature really is. It works great.
One of the bigger issues a lot of people find with 3rd party cases is that not enough attention was delivered to ensure easy access to ports. As Surface owners know, one of the best feature of Microsoft's tablets is that they are real computers that can do real things, including providing regular computer ports like USB, HDMI, and others. You don't have to compromise. And, the UAG case takes that into considerable giving ample access to all the important Surface Pro ports. The attention to detail in this area proves the quality of this case.
I can tell you, after testing the case, that UAG did a phenomenal job making sure the Surface is functional and definitely safe. This is a quality case. It's extremely light and adds no additional bulk or weight to the Surface Pro. Designed to meet military standards for drop and shock, I can see a real benefit to owning one of these, particularly if you're worried about losing your investment to an accidental event.
I know there are a lot or organizations (particularly military outfits) where policy requires rugged protection for electronics. The case from UAG is certified to work definitely meets the grade.
I really have no outstanding issues with this case, except the single position limit of the kickstand – and that's really a minor issue, particularly since the UAG case has already saved me from getting my Surface Pro repaired.
Normally about $60, Amazon has the UAG right now for less than $40.
You can find it here: URBAN ARMOR GEAR Case for Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, Black