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TechnologyTell Review: Casefanatic HunterF Case (Galaxy Note 2)

Sections: Accessories, Communications, Mobile, Reviews, Smartphones

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It’s no secret that I love my Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Almost two years ago, my laptop prematurely died. I’ve owned only two laptops in my life so far, and neither of them lived much longer than three years, despite my careama and vigilance.

Instead of getting a replacement which would, ultimately, be too bulky, too expensive, and too craptastic with real-use battery life, I upgraded my Galaxy S2 to the Note 2 and haven’t looked back since. I have the same (or better) productivity and far greater mobility with a “phablet.” If I need some serious photo/video editing or equivalent, my desktop gets that done handily.

So with all the saved money, what do I do? Accessorize! A Logitech K810 Bluetooth keyboard, Brainy Gadgets tablet stand, Anker external battery pack, and Nomad ChargeKey cable round out my gear nicely. I’ve gone through a few different cases – I try not to get crazy on that. But this most recent gem I discovered one late night while surfing the web just might be my very last one.

Design & Installation

Let’s just get it out of the way – the Casefanatic HunterF case borrows from Apple’s iPhone design, even down to the look and feel of the buttons. The case is flat on both sides, with rounded corners and angled edges all around. What can I say except that it’s a good look, especially for the Galaxy Note 2. And as far as I know, it’s the only aluminum case just like this.

Casefanatic HunterF case

“Apple is really making the iPhablet?? No way! How did you get that one to test out??” -Gullible Best Buy Employee

The two-piece HunterF case comes with a thin, plastic screen protector, a microfiber cloth, mini screwdriver, and four teeny screws. Only two screws are used to secure the parts of the case together. The extras are spares.

Although thin, the aluminum is far from being weak or flimsy. I wouldn’t necessarily put much force to test it, but it readily resists strong finger pinches. The HunterF case consists of the bumper edge and the back plate, which also replaces the Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s back plate.

Installation is simple. Set the bumper face down. Gently slide the Note 2 in and and seat it. Insert the back plate (top first) into the little nocks, and then let it drop to close it up. The two screw holes are located on the bottom to keep both of the case pieces together.

The inside of the HunterF case has felt lining to keep the smartphone from rubbing up against the metal. It wouldn’t be fun to have metal chewing up the exterior edges of the Note 2.

Fit & Protection

The HunterF case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 provides a snug, rattle-free fit. If you are serious about shaking the smartphone, you’ll be able to hear a noise as it shifts slightly, but that’s about it. The battery stays put and secure as well.

Casefanatic HunterF case open

How it looks, ready for the back cover

The cutouts for the ports are good, but not perfectly centered. The rear speaker port, microphone ports, and hole for the camera lens are off by about 1.5mm.

This is more of an aesthetic, since there isn’t any impact to performance. The S-Pen is only slightly deeper for when it needs to be pulled out. No big deal to me.

What I really like about this HunterF bumper case is that it covers the very edges of the Note 2’s glass screen all the way around. The screen can take an angled corner hit and not instantly shatter. It also provides a lip so I can lie the smartphone face-down without having the screen touch surfaces.

Casefanatic HunterF closed

The back is in place, then just needs 2 screws in the bottom

The HunterF case will give enough berth to most screen protectors out there. I have 1mm of leeway on the bottom end of my tempered glass screen protector. The rest of the edges have more room than that.

Almost all of my 3.5mm audio cables plug in fine for both the straight and L-shaped ends. Fat cables won’t. Audio port accessories are not likely to work either. I can attest that my Thermodo won’t fit. The Pressy button will fit, but won’t be able to be reached easily. The iBlazr LED flash should work, since it sticks out some even when fully plugged in.

Because of the curvature of the Galaxy Note 2, the Micro USB port seems like it would have problems with cables fitting. Out of all the cables I have (which is many), the only plug that needs a slight wiggle is my Anker 18W car charger. That’s it.

Casefanatic HunterF case felt

Notice the felt lining in the corner, on the edges too

While it was a little disappointing at first, I’ve shrugged off how the back panel of the HunterF case doesn’t lie flush and seamless with the bumper edge.

There is a 1mm gap on a side and the top. If you’re really looking it over, you’ll definitely see it.

For all intents and purposes, I regard the HunterF case more for looks and less for protection. While it will prevent scratches and can handle minor drops, this case isn’t designed to absorb and prevent shock-related damage. I haven’t tested any drops greater than three feet. If I’m lucky, I won’t have to know how it handles a chest-high fall haha.

Wireless Connectivity

The major sacrifice that comes with owning and using the Casefanatic HunterF case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is NFC capability.

Casefanatic HunterF case rear

Only slightly off on the cutouts

The smartphone’s NFC antenna is built into the plastic cover, which had to be removed in order to install the HunterF. Again, no big deal. My use for NFC is simply lazy-Bluetooth.

But the big question most have is about how the aluminum case affects reception and data speeds. On a wireless network, the effect is negligible.

But if I am running on my 3G Sprint network, the decrease in speed can be felt and it also shows in the numbers. Sprint 4G? That’s a pipe dream that’s not fully realized in my area (Sacramento, CA) yet, so I have no idea about the HunterF case with that.

Here are the typical pings, download speeds, and upload speeds I get (SpeedTest.net app used for these numbers):

CASE ON Wireless (4/4 reception bars) : CASE OFF Wireless (4/4 reception bars)

Ping 42ms, down 17.51Mpbs, up 1.61Mpbs : ping 44ms, down 17.82Mbps, up 1.49Mbps

Ping 46ms, down 16.97Mpbs, up 1.53Mpbs : ping 40ms, down 18.10Mbps, up 1.57Mbps

Ping 42ms, down 17.82Mbps, up 1.61Mbps : ping 43ms, down 17.69Mbps, up 1.56Mbps

CASE ON 3G (3/5 reception bars) : CASE OFF 3G (4/6 reception bars)

Ping 133ms, down 0.16Mbps, up 0.09Mbps : ping 92ms, down 0.69Mbps, up 0.87Mbps

Ping 119ms, down 0.29Mbps, up 0.10Mbps : ping 91ms, down 0.65Mbps, up 0.83Mbps

Ping 212ms, down 0.17Mbps, up 0.16Mbps : ping 103ms, down 0.53Mbps, up 0.85Mbps

As far as I can tell, the Bluetooth wireless connection strength and range hasn’t been affected by the aluminum case.

Verdict

For all intents and purposes, the Casefanantic HunterF case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 leans more towards fashion instead of protection. It’s great against scratches and tame bounces, but it’s not meant to handle heavy-duty shocks or serious drops.

Casefanatic HunterF case buttons

Clean edges and buttons

Owning this case also means sacrificing NFC connectivity and 3G speeds. But since I spend most of my productive time on a wireless network, the trade is easy to overlook.

The appeal of the HunterF case is the unique style (to Android), as well as the feel of cool metal instead of some plastic or polymer.

The case does get warm during extended gaming sessions, but my Note 2 doesn’t end up any hotter (internally) than with other cases I’ve owned.

The HunterF case for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is available from Casefanatic.com in a few different color choices. Those who have a Galaxy Note 3 can find similar, aluminum bumper cases on the site as well. Sure, it’s not the most practical smartphone case to own, but to me it’s pretty awesome.

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