Cases/shells for the Pro1, DIY experiments

There are no official case(s) for the FxTec Pro1, so I have ordered over a score of cases/shells for various phones of dimensions close the keyboard part…

Ten have arrived, nine Nov 13., and here are the preliminary results, and a flip case fitted

Add Nov 21, two more have arrived, for Huawei P20  Pro and Note 7

Add Dec 28, two more have arrived a week ago, Flip cases for Huawei P20  Pro and they are better (the above image)

Add Jan 23, a little more on a P20 Pro flip, reverting the inner part

(Will update if any of the remaining ones proves a better fit)

The bottom ‘half’ of the Pro1 has dimensions 154 x 73.6 x 8 mm, and a number of devices are quite close to that, see e.g here

After trying all ten then generally those for Huawei P20 Pro and Note7 fits reasonable, the other does not fit, or fits poorly.

It is primarily a matter of the other ones having less sharp ‘corners’, that gives a poor fit

 

Pros and Cons

A case gives a nice protection, but it has its drawbacks too, also apart from the obvious extended weight and size.

It maims the aesthetics of the cool looking Pro1! Both hiding the sleek back, and having the bottom half thicker than the upper (this goes for flip and simple a like).

Whether this is outweighed by the added protection or not is a 100% personal thing with no answer fitting all.

 

First an overview of the ones I tried

 

Best fit (of course needing adjustments)

A clear silicon shell for Huawei P20 Pro, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/183819340473

A flip case for Huawei P20 Pro, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/273929614068?var=573824044761

 

Reasonably good fit (of course needing adjustments)

A flip case for Note 7, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/201755537173?var=502786851083

A clear silicon shell for Note 7, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/293215067069

A black silicon shell for Note 7, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/263139815870?var=562372896553

A black stiff shell for Note 7,  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/332143570045?var=541171492261

 

Tolerable fit

A black thick shell for the Honor 20(S?), https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/143393956816
(The listing says 20S, but the package just “20”)

 

Unsuitable

A soft inner and hard external shell for Note 7. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/282069013914?var=581204334934
(It fits OK, but due to it’s two-part construction, would be somewhat complex to modify. Not sure it would be worth the trouble)

A glossy leather Huawei P20 Pro flip case https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000419953491.html or https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/254088416025?var=553428004907
(The inner shell fits fine, but the flip part is very narrow 157x79x15 externally, cutting creditcard-part is barely enough  – and it is horribly glossy anyway)

No fit, typically pops off:

A clear silicon shell for Honor 2oS,  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/143394863647

A black stiff shell for Honor 2oS,  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/123918266548

A clear silicon shell for Huawei Mate 20 Pro,  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/113220086019?var=413824243045

A black stiff shell for Huawei P20 Pro,  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/113220070641

A clear silicon shell for Honor 2oi,  most likely https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/264438098645?var=564094654535
(The listing says the item is from Germany, but the poststamp and return address says France, and different shop name…)

20191213: A black TPU shell for Honor 20i, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/174036507400?var=472849846248

20191213: A black TPU shell for Honor 20i, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/173993704159?var=472786541066

20200109: A Black stiff thermal PC shell for Huawei P20 Pro, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm//273787879752?var=573448815296

 

The flip case

This flip case’s are intended to flip to the left, so the best fit is achieved by using it top-down(!), so the flip goes to the right, and doesn’t interfere with the keyboard

As could be expected some adjustment were needed.

UPDATE Here a number of pictures of the flipcase for the HuaWei P20 Pro, that arrived before Christmas. Note that I as the last steps glued the tiny flap to the case frame, and punched a few holes.

Currently like this

(Yes a pair of these are totally wrong, measured, but remembered the numbers wrong 🙄 )

And with a plug fora magnetically attached data cable

It is a matter of taste whether you prefer to hold the back to the rear, or let it stick out freely, I tend to do the later after the first week.

And adding an extra hole and an extended one for the secondary mic:

Note that I deliberately have let the flap protect the cameras, only cutting a hole in the INNER part, not the outer. So the flap has to be held away to use the camera

Summary:

I have considered making a hole for the LED so it can be used as a torch without holding the flap, but time will tell, what I end up with.

This morning I dropped it from about 150cm 😳 onto a wooden floor, where the flip case took all the impact.

PS It comes with a strap and strap-hole too, for those into that. BUT if you are, it might be better to have the flap turning towards you, so the strap is attached to the lower left corner of the keyboard.

 

UPDATE Here a number of pictures of the (initial) result on the Note 7 flip case, that was my first attempt

 

 

So here is what needed to be modified.

  1. Hole for the USB-C
  2. Hole Opening for the fingerprint sensor + buttons
  3. Hole for the 3.5mm Jack
  4. Hole for the rear camera arrangement, Inner only
  5. Optional a bend of the top cardboard gives a better fit
  6. ADD: Optional remove the credit card part
  7. ADD> Optional pop a few holes in the lid for the notification LED and the call-speaker

on 2, I did a first cut, it needs a little adjustment, as is clearly visible from the image. ADD Later opened up completely and replaced the old image.

on 3. Extension of existing hole. ADD: I later opened more to include the power button and volume rocker

on 4. When the case is changed to flipping to the right, it will also offer protection for the camera arrangement when closed, so only a hole in the inner back was needed. Silly me I made hole in the outer also, but at £6 including shipping it is affordable to try more than once…

on 5. the ‘lid’ has a piece of cardboard inside, if you ‘break’ this along the edge of the (now upside down) card-slots, you will get a better fit, that closes easier.

ADD: This is not as needed if you remove the credit-card part.
(The two end-shots were done BEFORE I had this idea, so looks ever so slightly better now)

All the cutting are done by hand using a Victorinox Swiss Champ pocket knife, mainly with the scissors, and the camera-hole partly with the knife…
Sure this could have be done more cleanly with proper tools, but I see this more as a proof of concept, and an intermediate case, until a proper one is offered somewhere…

The camera example above is with the preproduction unit as the motive.

And YES both the units and the table could have benefited from a little dusting before being ‘photographed’.

ADD: on 6) I removed the up-side down credit-card part, reducing the weight from approximately 65 to 60g, and reducing the thickness at the thickest over the clasp to 2.5cm

I should have done that rather than 5) above

ADD: On 7) I popped a few holes in the lid:

Yeah I know, could have been done more accurate, but still see this as a ‘proof of concept’

 

A simple shell case

Some days ago I modified a simple shell (that was the first to arrive), the modifications are practically identical to the above 1-4, though I did not swap the shell around.

Here on the “Pre production” unit.

I did not cut the hole to include the LED – that was not a super good idea, as the whole silicon case acts a bit like a diffuser, so most likely I will extend it soon.

ADD: Also tried opening around the fingerprint sensor on the soft case and to my surprise it did not have a substantial effect of the structural hold on the device.

 

 

Another Simple clear shell case:

The shell for the the Huawei P20 Pro, gives an even better fit than the Note 7 Shell, as the top/bottom and camera holes matches better.

Only three cuts are strictly necessary, extensions of two and a cut for the fingerprint

The hole on the back can be extended to free the secondary microphone

ending in

 

ADD:

I have cut away a larger part of the sides of all of them, the below is for the flip case. It did NOT reduce the structural hold as I feared it could.

Despite a sloppy cut, it is on purpose that I left some between the fingerprint and power, to guide the finger towards the scanner.

 

Add 20200123

Some (sorry forgot who) gave me the idea of detaching the inner shell and glue it the other way round in the flip case.
This will leave fewer holes in the exterior and less need for cutting. It will expose debris of the glueing when open a full 360 degrees though, but you won’t see that much on black and dark blue model, but it is quite visible on the ‘yellow leather’ coloured one.

When reglueing I get the best result after thinking a little extra before glueing it back.
The Pro1 being thicker than the original the case was designed for we want to use the slack they provided fully. so:

  • Keep the soft part as close to the cover-edge as possible, without pushing away the bottom magnetic flap.
    (You might glue the bottom flap to the soft case)
  • Keep the soft part slightly above centre, yet not sticking out of the top, to better have space for a magnetic plug at the bottom.
  • Squeeze the edges of the ‘book cover’ near the ‘back of the book’ to make the effective back as broad as possible.

Here an image of one flip case with the Pro1 after glueing, next to a brand new (yet) unmodified one. Note how the slack at the right of the original is used to reach over the thicker Pro1, and it is here a little squeezing of the front/back edges, can bend it in an addition 1mm or so.

The slack on the original is enough to hold a USB cable (but not enough to hold a pencil)

Note how the reverting makes the back of the soft shell cover the original hole, on the cover back. Also note the hole added for the secondary microphone.
IF you want to be able to use the camera with the flap HALF open, you can easily cut a hole for that. But this way the camera is fully protected, but you need to open the case a full 360 degrees to use the camera – pros and cons….

And a slow motion video opening BOTH in one go.