With phone costs constantly increasing, one of the first purchases I always make for my new phone is a protective case.  When you’re constantly removing your phone from your pocket, it’s going to get dropped occasionally.  You can buy rubber sheathes and skins, and full device shields that you can hardly see and you can purchase hard cases or shells to give you the best protection available.  Monaco is one of the companies that makes such a product. They produce a range of aluminum cases to protect most modern phones and our good friend Sean over at WirelessGround sent us a Silver Aluminum Cases from Monaco to test on a Nexus One.

For me, most of these cases I’ve tried increase the size of my phone too much and end up in a drawer somewhere.  The Aluminum Cases from Monaco does increase the size of your phone but because it’s aluminum instead of rubberized, it still slips quite easily into your pocket.

Here’s the information from the WirelessGround site:

The Nexus One Monaco Aluminum Case is manufactured with 100% anodized aircraft grade aluminum and the design of the case is form fitting for the Nexus One devices. The neoprene lining located on the top, bottom, and side holds the handheld securely in place. The open screen design allows easy access to the touch screen. The lock on the side holds the top and bottom of the case tightly together and prevents the case from accidentally opening. With this form-fitting metal aluminum case, your investment is protected. The case also features a removable 360 degree swivel belt clip (easy to install and remove).

Nexus One Aluminum Case Features:

  • Slim, lightweight and strong, the most durable case available for the Nexus One
  • Form fitting design
  • Neoprene inner lining for extra protection and acts as a shock absorber
  • Easy access to all buttons and features
  • Extra strength aircraft grade aluminum
  • Anodized aluminum prevents scratches
  • Cutouts give easy access to the functionality of the Nexus One
  • Packaged in Monaco gift box

The Upside:

I’ve been testing the Nexus One Aluminum Case from Monaco for a couple of weeks now and I can say that is sure does feel like it gives great protection for your phone.  The padding on the inside of the case grips my phone really well and keeps it pretty secure.  I’m sure if I dropped my phone with this case installed, it would be very well protected.  The openings in the case are all made precisely and fit all the camera, headset, volume and every other outer connector and button on my phone very well.

The Downside:

Unfortunately, when I have the case installed on my phone I find it very hard to get to the outer edges of my screen making it a real pain to pull down my notifications bar.  It also makes it almost impossible to drag my icons across to another screen.  Monaco really has to make the screen opening of the case larger to accommodate the actual use of the phone. Because of this I really can’t recommend this case to anyone.

One other concern is that the bottom edge of the front of the case does not have any padding and the edge of the aluminum is touching the front of my phone immediately below the trackball.  While I haven’t seen any marks on my phone during my testing, I would be concerned that after prolonged use, it may cause some issues.

The Verdict:

The verdict is that this case gets a thumbs down from AndroidSPIN.  While the quality of the case is really nice, the design and implementation of the screen opening just doesn’t work.

Again, we would like to thank Sean at WirelessGround for sending us the review case and you should check out his accessory store when you get a chance.

  • kathi17

    I have bought Monaco aluminum cases since I had my Dash. I loved the protection they give, and there is a series of vent holes where I attach a tether so I won’t drop my phone while using it in a crowd.

    I was disappointed to see that they don’t have the plexiglass over the screen any more though. I suppose because of touch screens, but even though I have to open my case every time I want to use the screen on my G1, I still like the fact that the screen is protected while the case is closed and I am not using the touch screen.

    I like the fact that even if someone steps on my purse at a basketball game or something, my phone is totally protected. I can still use all of the functions except for the keyboard and touch screen while the case is closed, such as answering a call, or making one by using the trackball, and with the tether over my wrist, I don’t have to worry about dropping it in a crowd, and having it get stepped on.

    The plexiglass over the screen is no more inconvenient than keeping the phone in a leather pouch, and is more convenient because you have access to all of the buttons.

    I wish they would give you the option of the screen for all of their cases.

  • kathi17

    I have bought Monaco aluminum cases since I had my Dash. I loved the protection they give, and there is a series of vent holes where I attach a tether so I won’t drop my phone while using it in a crowd.

    I was disappointed to see that they don’t have the plexiglass over the screen any more though. I suppose because of touch screens, but even though I have to open my case every time I want to use the screen on my G1, I still like the fact that the screen is protected while the case is closed and I am not using the touch screen.

    I like the fact that even if someone steps on my purse at a basketball game or something, my phone is totally protected. I can still use all of the functions except for the keyboard and touch screen while the case is closed, such as answering a call, or making one by using the trackball, and with the tether over my wrist, I don’t have to worry about dropping it in a crowd, and having it get stepped on.

    The plexiglass over the screen is no more inconvenient than keeping the phone in a leather pouch, and is more convenient because you have access to all of the buttons.

    I wish they would give you the option of the screen for all of their cases.

  • nonmindo

    My friend has this case, i totally agree with the fact that its hard to utilize the full functions of the screen, also we both have N1’s and his reception is HORRIBLE in comparison to my reception when he has the case on, most times he doesnt get more than 2 bars on edge when i’ll have full 3G……perfect for protection, and if you have the know how it polishes to a nice shine using a dremel.

  • nonmindo

    My friend has this case, i totally agree with the fact that its hard to utilize the full functions of the screen, also we both have N1’s and his reception is HORRIBLE in comparison to my reception when he has the case on, most times he doesnt get more than 2 bars on edge when i’ll have full 3G……perfect for protection, and if you have the know how it polishes to a nice shine using a dremel.