Microsoft Surface Pro4 – Incipio Feather Hybrid Case

Edit 2016.02.22 – I confirmed that the new Surface Pro dock works just fine with this case. Some photos at the end of this post.

Edit 2016.02.28 – Posted a DIY fix to the annoying flap/kickstand issue. See here for the update.

Following my earlier return of the Surface Pro 4 i5, I have now replaced the i5 with the fanless Surface Pro 4 M3. So far I am liking the M3 and will have more comments about this in the next blog post but today I wanted to share a quick review of the Incipio Feather Hybrid Case that I bought for the Surface Pro 4.

There are many cases one can buy for both the Surface Pro 3 and 4. Some people held the view that there is no logical sense to stick the Surface Pro into another cover because this will utterly destroy the slim form factor the device comes with and I am not disagreeing with them. I think there must be a compromise between the amount of protection one would want for the device and the impact to the device’s portability/usability.

I took a look at eBay and Amazon for the type of covers that would fit the Surface Pro 4. I think I can come to the generalization that surface pro covers come roughly in the following genre:

  1. A sleeve cover which essentially allows the surface pro to slip into it when the device is not in use.
  2. A folio case of some sort which integrate the surface pro with a paper writing pad. These will assume that the surface pro is always used as a tablet much like an ipad.
  3. A smart cover type case which houses the surface pro and its keyboard but in the process replace the kickstand of the SP4 with the one that comes with the case.
  4. A rugged shell type case that protect the surface pro 4 from drops and knocks and could possibly make the SP4 act as a bullet proof shield if you are being attacked in a gunfight. Some shells have what they say, compliance to military standard.
  5. A softer shell type case that protect the surface pro and allows the use of the built in kickstand.

Now my personal preference in choosing a case is that it must have the following features:

  • Not too bulky and not too heavy.
  • Gives reasonable protection to the surface pro in normal transit and in normal usage. No, bullet proofing won’t be necessary here.
  • Allows the proper integration of the type cover. Some cases assume the type covers will never be detached from the SP4 and is therefore a no go. The case must also allow the type cover to be properly flipped all the way to the back.
  • Allows the usage of the SP4’s kickstand. This is a very important consideration. Look at the Surface pro’s construction and I think everyone will agree that Microsoft has done well to the kickstand. It is just a very functional design and very beautifully done. Why opt for a case that does not make use of the built in kickstand.

So with the above consideration, I have narrowed my choices to these:

  1. Survivor Slim from Griffin – This is supposed to be selling for USD 89.99 but I can’t even buy this yet. The website still says “Coming Soon”. Come on guys, the SP4 was released Oct 2015 and it is now almost end Feb 2016. The promotion video of this case looks good however so this might be a consideration if someone can wait.
  2. Kensington BlackBelt 2nd Degree rugged case – This case is selling for USD 59.99 and is available right now. It also appear to have all the features I would want for a case.
  3. Incipio Feather (Advanced) – This case is looking very good. It is slim enough, appear to have good protection and allows the use of the kickstand. This is selling for USD 44.99.
  4. Incipio Feather (Hybrid) – This case is very similar to the Incipio feather advanced case above but appears to have a beefier protection and has a pen holder for keeping the surface pen. This is selling for USD 49.99.

I may have missed other suitable cases during my research but these 4 are top of my list. Eventually I decided to get the Incipio Feather Hybrid case for my Surface Pro 4. I bought this for Aud $69 from ExcelTek. Not a bad price considering that the Aussie Dollar is fairly low now.

Here are some photos:

The case is essentially a frame to which the Surface Pro 4 can be inserted. The material is rubber of course but there is a nice softer texture to it and would appear to give fair amount of protection to the surface pro. There are bumpers on all the corners which I quite like.

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All the cutouts to the ports are quite nicely done. No issues with using the USB ports. A slight complain from me is the charging port. Sometimes the charging connector cannot make positive connections because the the rubber cutout is slightly in the way. Not a deal breaker however.

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The camera lens is also well protected. I like this given that I intend to use the SP4 on construction sites and the like.

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Here the bumpers to the corners can be seen and it can also be observed that the body of the surface pro 4 is a fair bit recessed into the frame. So if the device is flipped upside down on a table for instance, the screen should not touch the table and this should prevent the screen from being scratched unnecessarily.

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The case allows full use of the type cover and it can be attached and re-attached very easily. Nothing gets in the way.

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And perhaps the most important feature of all, the case allows the full use of the built in kickstand.

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I do have some complains here. The original kickstand plate of the SP4 and the case’s kickstand cover are held together by 2 rubber attachments at 2 places (left, right). My issue is that these are not secured enough and if I collapse the kickstand fully into the frame, the next time I wanted to pull out the kickstand, the rubber attachments fail to grip the kickstand properly. Quite annoying really. This looks like a design issue and I really think incipio has not done enough testing to see this problem.

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The case comes with a pen loop and a cable attachment. I think this is very cumbersome so I have removed the cable. The pen attachment is quite useful however.

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Conclusions:

This is a well made case not without its problems.

What I like:

  1. Give good protection without too much bulk. Side bumpers works well.
  2. All ports easily accessible
  3. Allows the use of the built-in kickstand well.
  4. Allows the use of type cover well.
  5. Pen attachment that works well
  6. Reasonable price.

What I don’t like:

  1. Kickstand does not hold together that securely.
  2. Charging connector sometimes fail to make positive contact due to the way the ports are being protected.

Edit 2016.02.22

Here are some photos showing how the new surface pro dock will work with the case.

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Edit 2016.02.28

Posted a DIY solution to the annoying flap/kickstand issue. This is what it looks like. See here for more info.

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Thanks for reading. Hopefully this will help anyone who is looking to buy a case for the Surface Pro 4.

Posted on February 14, 2016, in Surface Pro 4 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Hi there, just wondering, have you ever tried using the Incipio Feather Hybird case with the new dock? Because it seems the dock connector is larger than the charger, I wonder if they work together.

    Thanks!

  2. Hi there. I am afraid i could not help you as I don’t have the dock yet 🙂

  3. IS there any chance you can bring your PC to the retail store to test it? 😀

  4. Bless you!!!

  5. Great review. The pictures are very helpful. I am looking forward to your thoughts on the Surface Pro 4 M3.

  6. Thanks Martin. Glad you find the review useful.

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