Top critical review
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you get what you pay for - keep your expectations realistic
on May 21, 2014
TL;DR: cheap is as cheap does. Or cheap does as cheap is. Or life is like a box of expired drugstore chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get. Except probably food poisoning.
This gets 3/5 stars because amazon says that means "it's okay." Even for a < $3 product, it's just "okay." At $1 it would've been a steal, and at $3.50 it would've been a rip. At $2.50-$3, it's just "okay."
*NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS ONLY FOR THE CRYSTAL CASE. I don't know what to say about the reusable screen protector, as I already had screen protectors on my screens that have done me very well, so I never installed the ones that came with this.
So I paid less than $3 for this. I bought it precisely because it was cheap, and I take good care of my electronics so I didn't quite expect to need it anyway. I just wanted a "security blanket," and I wanted a clear one so that I could continue to enjoy the lovely gold design of my LE Link Between Worlds 3DSXL.
To be honest, the case did more damage to my unit than not having a case at all.
Bear with me here.
The case is made of cheap, brittle plastic (this is like waaaay important guys). As well, the joints feel like they could give way in the slightest breeze, which is just SUCH a BOTHER. Sometimes the unit itself would kind of "slip out" of the case, as the joints turned inside-out like an Olympic power lifter's elbow during a poorly executed, overly ambitious snatch.
What's more, although the case fits, it doesn't fit *snugly*, and it allows in dust, hair, dirt, skin, Cheeto dust, fly wings… Any kind of small particle can get under this case. Hell, I only use my DS maybe once a week, and normally I keep it in a pretty little carrier, but so much ick got under this case and I kept telling myself "you need to clean that out and get a new case" but I tend to ignore myself when I talk to myself because it's not good to listen to the voices. And because of this poor fit, as well as the hardness of the plastic, the protective case wiggles and moves and rubs agains the surface of your unit (heh).
There are subtle imperfections in the item itself. Not sure if it's a problem with the mold or the packaging process, but I don't really care. Well, I *didn't* care. I mean, hey, I paid less for this case than a medium - excuse me, "grande" - shake - excuse me, "frap" - at Moonbucks, so I did not expect it to be perfect. I just expected it to keep dust and hair and fingerprints off my glorious two-tone portable joy device. It... didn't quite do that, but I was fine with it because other than being a magnet for disgustingness, at least it kept my 3DS from getting scratched, right?
The cheapness ended up damaging (very slightly) my actual 3DS (dramatic timpani).
(Again? I heard you the first time.)
See, there was a tiny, insignificant, barely noticeable little scratch/dent/crater (from the universe's tiniest meteor impact?) on the protector. The kind of thing you can barely see. The kind of thing *I* barely saw and let it be. There were actually a few such defects, but it was this *one* little jerkwad that ruined my life (and my baby's modeling future).
Recently, I decided to change my case, mostly because I was finally fed up with all the dust getting underneath this case. I wanted something with a more snug fit. I ended up buying another brand's Nintendo licensed "Duraflexi Protector" which was > 4x the cost of this one. Ouchies. But it was time to stop being selfish and start caring for my baby like a proper parent, so I made the sacrifice and exchanged money for security. (Also, prettiness. Because nothing is more important than being pretty. NOTHING.)
When I was changing out the cases, as I was gently wiping away all the dust, I noticed one smudge would not budge. As it turned out, this unbudging smudge I could not nudge, was not a smudge at all. It was a scratch deep into the top cover of the 3DS. A permanent scar on my baby - my 8-month-old baby! The HORROR! What kind of failure of a mother was I to allow this to happen?
I looked on the protector and, lining it up against the top side of my 3DS and, sure enough, *precisely* where my baby's lifelong disfigurement now was, on the complementary area of the protector, there was some sort of manufacturing defect, some sort of jagged bubbly perversion of the surface that, from friction (again, ill-fitting case, hard plastic, etc. etc.) had dug into the smooth, supple, fragile exterior of my darling, leaving a permanent etching that reminded me why "cheap" and "high-quality" do not go hand in hand.
It's not that huge of a deal. But, ultimately, price really shows in the end product. If you're trying to get something to really, *really* protect your product from daily wear and tear, you need to shell out a bit more.
What you can do to avoid damage to your 3DS:
* Go with another product - something made of a flexible polyurethane or silicone.
* *Wrap* your 3DS in some sort of skin before (or instead of) using this case.
* Forego a protective case at all and opt for a carry case instead, because most case damage comes from incidental bumps and bruises while carrying your 3DS, rather than from touching or playing it.
* Forego a protective case at all and go commando. Let your 3DS swing in the breeze like Mother Nature intended.
* Place your 3DS into an airtight display case and hire security guards to monitor it 24/7, reminding them to avoid ever touching the thing in the first place lest their filthy human oils wear away the paint.
In conclusion, as always, caveat emptor.