Review: Nokia CC-1005 Silicone Cover for the N8


This is going to sound completely outrageous, but I've been reviewing what is just about the perfect accessory for the Nokia N8. There's virtually nothing which could be improved on. It is, almost literally, perfectly implemented. Oh, and I can now choose the colour of my N8 depending on my mood. It's going to sound outrageous that it's 'just' a silicone case, but don't confuse this accessory with a cheap cash-in that you might find listed from Hong Kong on eBay. Read on for why...

Author: Nokia

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CC-1005 Silicone Cover photo extract

So..... we have yet another top smartphone which functions better with a silicone cover on than without? [cough.... iPhone 4 Antennagate....] That's right, though the rationale is somewhat different and rather less enforced this time!

Beautiful though the Nokia N8 is, it does have a couple of major form factor issues:

  • the camera glass is only very slightly recessed and so picks up fingerprints all too frequently
  • the loudspeaker is flush with the camera mound and so gets muted too much when the N8 is placed on an acoustically absorbent surface (or one where the mound is flush-face-down)

And a couple of minor ones:

  • the N8 is quite slippery, with its smooth metal, it's easy to drop
  • having chosen your colour of N8, you're stuck with it(!)

The last two are obvious fixes as a result of using a silicone cover, but the first two are worth investigating in more detail. 

This is the official Nokia-designed cover, and as a result it's almost perfectly designed and made. No awkward gap placements, nothing that looks unfinished or fragile, etc. In particular, the rear of the CC-1005 covers the camera mound (this is where quite a few of the eBay contenders fall down), meaning that the camera glass surface is now a good 2mm recessed from the surface of the silicone back - enough that laying your finger across the phone's back doesn't usually allow any contact of dirty fingers.

CC-1005 Silicone Cover photo extract

Importantly, even the tiny microphone hole (shown on the left, below) is allowed for - this is the other detail that most cheap eBay contenders miss out. So putting the CC-1005 on will let you take better, quicker photos because you won't have to keep stopping to wipe the camera glass first. And it won't dull the audio in your videos because the microphone is still accessible.

CC-1005 Silicone Cover photo extract

Secondly, the mono speaker is also effectively recessed away from the flush surface of the camera mound, dramatically reducing the sound dampening effect of putting the N8 down on a soft surface or a flat surface with the tail end of the phone raised slightly. Without a case, I could reduce the sound output of the N8 by a good 95% just by positioning it 'wrong' in the office or living room. With this case, I couldn't manage to dampen the sound by more than about 30%. Result.

Now one aspect of silicone cases is that they sometimes obstruct the 'feel' of normal button operation. Nokia has thought of that and provides moulded protrusions on the case's exterior that perfectly match the original button feel and transfer your pressure to the actual button underneath. I tried taking some photos and was astounded how natural the 'silicone' version of the button felt. And the same goes for the volume/zoom keys. Impressive.

CC-1005 Silicone Cover photo extract

The cutouts around the case make sense. An extra large hole for the 3.5mm audio jack (so no nasty fouling of over-sized plugs) and HDMI port access, shown below:

CC-1005 Silicone Cover photo extract

Access to the keylock switch (a little harder to use than usual, but certainly not a problem); lanyard; 2mm power input; microUSB port and LED charging light, shown below:

CC-1005 Silicone Cover photo extract

The only slight disappointment in the CC-1005 design is that I'd have liked extra moulding on the 'home' button (shown bottom left in the first photo above). The Nokia N8's home button is hard enough to depress at the best of times because of its awkward positioning, and designing a moulded case was a classic opportunity to add extra thickness over this button to make it easier to press. Instead, we've got a plain moulding that, if anything, makes it slightly harder to press than usual. It's not really the case's fault, but it's a missed opportunity.

Overall though, top marks all round. Encased in silicone, you'll feel a lot more confident placing the N8 on various surfaces, knowing that nothing's going to harm the phone and, just as importantly, the phone's metal etchings won't scratch the surface itself! Add in the extra camera glass and loudspeaker aperture 'protection' (or at least distancing from the world!), both of which have practical usability advantages, and you've got a winner. Yes, you can buy N8 silicone cases on eBay for a third the cost, but they'll miss one or more of the tricks of the real McCoy: cutouts, mouldings, and so on. For the sake of a tenner, get the real thing.

You even get a replica silver Nokia Nseries logo on the back, in the exact same place as the original that it covers - ok, I'm being superficial here, I'm just sayin'..... The CC-1005 is also available in green, red or black (more or less mimicking the original phone colours), by the way. I'm guessing that Nokia intend you to buy a case that's the same colour as your phone, but for those (like me) with the black N8, these covers give us the chance to brandish the colour we always wanted to try....!

Nokia's CC-1005 would have made stunningly good little Christmas stocking filler for the N8 owner in your life. As it is, it'll have to be a birthday present, I guess. Or maybe just a little treat!

Product page for the case (in blue, as reviewed) over on Mobile Fun, who kindly supplied the review Nokia N8 case sample.

Steve Litchfield, All About Symbian, 12 January 2011

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