I’d read that the HTC Dot View case, code HC M100, could be annoying, but needed something to give my phone some protection as I bought the phone outright and need it to last as long as possible.
The phone fits snugly into the case, and has yet to work its way out. The case not only protects the front and back of the phone, but also wraps around the sides of the corners which would give it some protection if dropped. Aside from the corners (roughly 1cm of the side edge covered), the rest of the top, right-hand side, and bottom are left open, so you can still easily get to the power button, the IR Blaster isn’t covered, and volume control is still accessible, as well as the micro USB and headphone sockets. The left hand side of the phone is completely covered due to the hinge, but there’s nothing you need along that edge anyway. It has rear openings for both cameras, the flash/torch and the rear noise-cancelling microphone. The front has an opening for the front camera and also the light sensor. In theory the notification LED will show through one of the top speaker holes, but the LED is so tiny that it basically never lines up with the hole well enough for this to work. This isn’t a problem for me as I don’t rely on the LED anyway.
The front of the case contains a magnet that both allows the phone to know to go into Dot View mode and also to automatically wake and sleep as the case is opened and closed. It’s worth noting that the Dot View front cover is for the most part not completely perforated – the “dots” are recessed but there’s a clear plastic screen in the middle of the cover. The only holes that are perforated all the way through are those for the top and bottom loudspeakers.
The case itself is made from two materials. The rear cover is made from black flexible plastic with a soft-touch matte finish. The front cover is made from matte finish black rubber, this makes it grip and tends to pull the pocket lining out when I pull the phone out from my pocket, and it collects a certain amount of dust and fluff. That said, even if the outside gets a bit messy it does seem to be helping to keep the pocket fluff out of the loudspeaker holes, which were previous getting blocked up all the time.
When the case is closed, if you press the power button the Dot View initially tells you the time, temperature, and gives you a weather symbol, then changes to show a list of the last three numbers to call or be called. You can select these by swiping left or right through the case. Other “case closed” actions include being able to answer or reject calls by swiping – due to the openings in the case you can make a call with the cover closed, and if you dial with the cover open you can then close it without it ending the call, so you don’t have to talk with the cover open. The swiping actions through the case cover seem to be a bit hit and miss, frequently the actions don’t register, which is annoying if you’re trying to answer an incoming call. But I now just open the case, answer the call with the green symbol as normal, then close the case and start talking.
On Valentine’s day this year the dot view background, normally just black, changed to some pink hearts, which was a nice touch. Going into the HTC Dot View app allows you to change the background theme to one of several included, or convert your own photo to a Dot View background. The app also allows you to customise some other features such as what notifications to show, the Dot View timeout, and whether to bypass security to show the call history even if the phone is locked.
Using the phone for apps, text, email etc. is fine: the front cover wraps around to the back and whilst it’s fairly rigid so doesn’t easily sit flat against the curved back of the phone, it still allows me to use the phone one-handed if I need to. The hinge is basically just the same rubber stuff that the front cover is coated in, but it’s moulded such that the hinge pulls the cover closed anytime you’re not actively holding it open. This would be handy if you dropped the phone.
To sum up, the Dot View cover is pretty good, but not perfect. The rubber effect on the front makes it hard to get the phone out of my pocket. But it is easy to use, and the Dot View concept is quite fun. The protection it gives to the phone’s screen, rear and corners looks to be good, and because the cover stays on all the time if you drop the phone whilst using it it’ll still be protected, unlike with my previous “pouch”-type cover where you had to take the phone out all the time to use it.