The ‘Barely There’ case for the BlackBerry PlayBook literally lives up to its title of being “barely there,” so much so that I put it on my PlayBook two weeks ago and forgot about it until it was time to write this review. Is that a good thing?
From a design perspective, sure. Basically, the Barely There case is a shell that fits around the back of the BlackBerry PlayBook’s rubberized body. The Barely There case snaps effortlessly into place, fits near perfectly and adds no significant bulk to the PlayBook. It’s glossy, but not overly slippery. Still, you sacrifice some of the PlayBook’s nice rubberized grip when the case is attached. The Barely There case features slots and openings for the PlayBook’s various ports and controls, but otherwise covers the long sides of the tablet. The short sides and the display remain exposed.
Can it Protect?
Is it a good thing from a protection standpoint? That could be a different story.
Because the Barely There case is really just a thin sheet of plastic (though one made from “specially engineered materials,” according to Case-Mate), I’m not ready to stress test it with my PlayBook inside. I’m sure it offers at least some protection to the back and long sides, but I’m still going to cringe if I drop my PlayBook in the case from three feet on the sidewalk – especially if it lands display side down.
To be fair, I was able to fold the Barely There case in on itself both lengthwise and widthwise, and it didn’t snap like a conventional piece of plastic. So that’s worth something. In fact, if you slap the Barely There case on the PlayBook and then pop the combo in the neoprene slip cover that ships with the tablet, it can easily handle the occasional drop.
What About the Screen?
For screen protection, the Barely There case can be flipped and attached, leaving the back exposed. I can see that coming in handy when tossing the PlayBook into a backpack or pocketbook with keys and other screen scratchers.
If you can get a Barely There case on sale, it might be worth the investment. Otherwise, it’s hard to justify the $35 MSRP. It currently ships in either black or pearl, with the pearl unit just screaming for a custom design option.
Now that, a design-it-yourself Barely There case, would be worth my $35, and you can bet I’d never forget it was covering my tablet.