The LED Flip Cover
The LED Flip Cover isn’t something new for Samsung. Introduced back in 2014 with the Note 4, they skipped a generation leaving both the Galaxy S6 and Note 5 without a LED Cover. With the introduction of the S7 and the S7 edge we see the re-introduction of the LED flip cover and the first time we’ve seen this case for the Galaxy S-series. While HTC’s Dotview case appears to be a similar product it is in fact a different concept, using perforations in the case and the screen to display information. Samsung’s approach of having actual LEDs integrated into case itself remains a unique idea with no other manufacturer offering such an option.
The case, the EF-NG930 (S7) and EF-NG935 (S7 edge) comes in Black, Gold and Silver (the colors of the S7), but missing is an all-White version. Samsung haven’t given a word on why they haven’t produced this color, but if I had to guess, I’d say it has something to do with the fact that the LEDs are White and that these wouldn’t be very visible on a White case. I’m sure Samsung could have produced these LEDs in a different color, but judging by the fact that the White versions of the S7/S6 weren’t big sellers, they clearly didn’t want to go through all the trouble of producing a different version of this case for a device that doesn’t sell as well as the other colors.
This case basically takes Samsung’s Flip Wallet Cover, a synthetic flip leather case with card slot and adds an array of LEDs lights. Compared to the Note 4 version, this case goes one step further by adding swipe/touch capabilities to the area where the LEDs sit, allowing you to swipe to ignore a call or stop an alarm. The LEDs are so perfectly integrated into the case, that when off there’s basically no way of knowing they’re even there and one could easily mistake this for the cheaper Flip Wallet Cover. The Note 4’s ability to take it’s backcover of, basically dictated the design of Samsung’s first LED case: it could attach to the back of the phone and thus had direct access to a power source through the use of gold contacts. With the S7’s unibody design, Samsung had to find a way to not only attach the case to the device, but also find a way to power the LEDs. The solution was basically attaching a Clear Cover Case to the leather case and using a combination of NFC/wireless charging to provide power and allowing the phone to communicate with the case.
Design-wise the case is elegant, with an understated design, characterized by the sharp 90 degrees angles on the left side and rounded corners on the right side. The front of the case is clear of any Samsung logo, which is a change we like. On the top there’s an opening for the earpiece, allowing to make calls without opening the flap. On the left side there are two icons for the volume up/down buttons.
On the inside, there’s a place for a single card. The phone itself is securely attached to the rest of the case using the same idea behind the Clear View Cover which we recently reviewed. As a result, the four corners, including the sides are protected. The top and bottom part of the case is left open, giving you access to the USB, headphone jack and SIM/microSD tray. On the back there’s the Samsung logo and an opening for the camera module, which as always sits slightly recessed.
When it comes to protection, I don’t see this case offering a lot more than the Clear Cover case. While it protects especially the four corners of the phone (just like the Clear Cover Case), there’s no guarantee the flap will protect the screen in the event of a fall. In fact, screens have been known to break despite being protected by flip cases which tend to open during a fall or not being able absorb enough force to prevent breaking. The only guarantee you get with the flap is that it offers scratch protection, which can also be achieved with a screen protector.
The conclusion here is that this case won’t offer much more in the way of protection when compared to Clear Cover case. The reason for getting this over the Clear Cover Case is purely for the flash, the looks and the attention you’d get when using this (And believe me it gets lots of attention) and less about added protection. The LED Cover offers lots of style, but only basic protection.
Setup is quite easy: you simply pop the phone in the case and it should recognize the case automatically. I initially thought that the NFC function had to be turned on, but the case seems to work just fine with this feature turned off. Customization comes in the form of 2 options found under “Settings> Accessories.” Here you can choose whether to automatically unlock the screen when you flip the cover open and you can also set an LED caller ID by choosing 1 out of 20 images.
The LED window will basically the show time, incoming calls, missed calls, SMS notifications, a visualizer when playing music using the Samsung Music player, the volume level (when playing music) and battery status while charging. One feature that I loved on the Note 4 version is a small animation in the form of spinning dots for notification of third party apps like Whatsapp. Samsung had the not-so-bright idea of removing this feature, resulting in the situation that the case will only show calls, alarms or SMS. The case also covers the phone’s built-in notification light, meaning that if you’re someone that doesn’t want to miss any notifications you’ll need to keep your phone unmuted as you can’t rely on the case to show you notifications from third party apps.. This completely defeats the purpose of having this case and limits its use. Even worse is the fact is that this isn’t a limitation of the case, but the phone’s own software. Samsung should update the firmware to allow the case to show notifications from third party apps, just like the Note 4’s version of the LED case.
My second gripe is the fact that the touch feature isn’t used to its maximum potential. For example, it would have ideal if the case could add a play/pause, forward and rewind icons that could react to touch. In its current state it can only reject/answer calls or stop alarms.
All in all, this is a great looking case that offers basic protection with a unique feature that no other manufacturer is offering. If you want a case to impress, you really can’t go wrong with the understated design and blingy LEDs. While we love the added touch functionality, we can’t but feel that it’s not used to its full potential. But perhaps this case’s biggest downside is the lack of notification feature for third party apps, something we loved on the Note 4’s LED cover. This is strangely not a limitation of the case itself, but actually the phone’s software. Samsung should update the firmware to bring this feature back, but until they do this is the main reason why we can’t recommend this case to everyone out there. The LED cover is for those that want to stand out with an elegant yet flashy case. When it comes to notifications however it is very limited. It gets a 7 out of 10.
Elegant Flip Cover
LEDs make this one of the most unique case on the market
Quality materials and finish
Basic protection against scratches and bumps
No notification light for third party apps (like on the Note 4 version)
LEDs and Swipe function not used to full potential