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XOOM Accessory Review: Portfolio and Protective Gel Cases

Continuing on with our XOOM accessory reviews before we finalize our actual device review, we’ve got the Protective Gel and the Portfolio cases to quickly talk about.  Protection for your brand new $800 device using some sort of a case seems like a no-brainer, right?  And since these are the only two Motorola-branded or approved ones available, they made our list.  Are either of them worth their arguably-steep price tags?  Let’s find out.  

Portfolio Case

I actually love the Portfolio case.  It envelopes your XOOM to give it max protection, but can quickly unfold to provide you with a couple of different viewing angles for desk or lap placements.  It comes in standard black, isn’t awful to look at, and for the most part gives you access to everything you would need from your device.  It also pairs up nicely with the Bluetooth keyboard we reviewed earlier.

What do I mean “for the most part” though?  Well, for whatever reason, Motorola decided to block the charging port when a XOOM is placed in and folded up.  Seriously, there is no way to charge your new tablet unless you completely unfold it from its protection.  I’ve also heard from some owners that the case itself is a little rough on their XOOMs when removing it or unhooking to set at an angle.  I haven’t had any issues with the plastic leaving marks or damaging mine, but I wouldn’t doubt that it could happen.  You also cannot dock your device with this case on.

At a price of $39.99, do I think you should buy one?  Like I said in the opening, I really love this case.  The price does seem a little steep, but the build quality on this thing is above almost any case I’ve used.  It’s right up there with the Otterboxes and Seidios of the world.

Protective Gel Case

Ahh the cute little gel cases.  They come in a variety of colors (pink, black, blue, purple and red), wrap tightly around your XOOM, and provide access to ALL ports.  Yep, unlike the Portfolio case, the gel cases actually have an opening at the bottom which gives you access to HDMI, USB, or charging ports.  You can also use this with the charging dock.

Not a lot of negatives with this one, although the coating on the gel does have a tendency to attract dust, lint, etc.  It also doesn’t provide screen protection, so you would need a screen protector if that is one of your worries.  Other than that, it’s a standard gel case with a price tag that seems a little high.  $29.99 for a piece of molded rubber?  Might want to pass on this one, unless of course you love the pretty colors.

Anyone had issues with either one?  Portfolio case doing damage?

  • Dawnandtony1004

    Just picked up a Zoom at Staples, on sale for $499 used $100 off coupon from Staples emailpaid just $399

  • Jashlock44

    I just got my xoom with the Mortorola fold up case and yes I hate it becuase you cannot use the charger without taking it out of the case or leaving it flat and of course it gets dust on it. The whole purpose was to protect it from the elements.
    jashlock44

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  • Rheuben

    I find the smell of the display portfolio to be really nauseating. Left it outside in the garage (minus the Xoom) overnight, but still can’t have it on my lap for any length of time. Any ideas? Can it be washed?

  • Serpico

    Had the Gel case – returned it because when I hold the Xoom, my thumb would peel the edge back and cause the Xoom to almost flip out of the darn thing.

    Love the Portfolio case – I hated it at first but it grew on me. It is basic, does its job, and its actually very nice looking.

  • Anonymous

    Love/Hate relationship with the case. My port case hasn’t caused any damage and it is great for standing the xoom up landscape. Rocks for carrying and transporting. Seems like great protection. Sucks vertical. Sucks if you want to charge while in the stand (use the dock obviously). Only issue I’m having is that it is slowly stretching just enough to let the Xoom slip down when it is open and push on the volume keys. I really like the stand function but if I had to do it again I would not have bought it. It could have been better thought out. Gel? Hell no. I’d love it if Moto would release a cover like the “other” guys. (also I dock mine with the case in the “stand” position, just flap the flap (oh boy) back and place it on the dock, no worries.)

  • Anonymous

    “You also cannot dock your device with this case on.”

    Yes you can. The docking station comes with another plastic cap that allows for this.

  • http://twitter.com/strifejester Justin Ellenbecker

    I have the portfolio case and it does leave marks on the side when folding it out but these are jsut eh case plastic being left on the device, it wipes right off the XOOM metal housing. So far I love the portfolio case and agree the only downfall is having to leave it open on a table to charge it. Working great as my new alarm clock though.

  • tbone

    i would like to point out one of the better features about this portolio case that has not been mentioned yet…

    its got that new car smell!

  • John Grace

    What I really want is a portfolio style case with a built-in bluetooth keyboard.

  • Anonymous

    @Kellex – The unit is dockable with the portfolio case “on”, just fold it up and out of the way the same as when it’s in stand mode, then dock the unit. The rest of the case sort of hangs out behind it like a cape (or a folded cape if thats your thing).

    p.s. You did change the chin plate on the charger before docking with the Silicone case right?

    • Rohdawgeleven

      yup! :/

    • John Grace

      That is what I do, with the portfolio case like a cape behind it. I call that its superhero pose.

  • http://twitter.com/MagicsWebpage Brian Diva Cox

    u can have it in the case and docked at the same time… currently is..

  • Billf2728

    My. zoom died today only 5days young verizon just gave me a new one I hope that never happens again just went to sleep and never powered back on

    • Anonymous

      if it does… hold power and volume up for a forced reboot

  • tommy_boy83

    Leaves little scuff marks when unsnapped but the wipe away with a damp cloth

  • Cheesse

    No damage on portfolio, works fine. I plan to do a mod with a drill and a a rubber grommet for charging. I figure if I use the other ports it will be open anyway

  • Rohdawgeleven

    I got the gel case (sucks) cause I needed something and read bad things about the portfolio. It does not fit in the dock charger. I’d love to know how you managed to accomplish that and get that pic.

    • John Grace

      The dock charger comes with 2 plates in box. one is a rubberized plate that is for the naked Xoom, There is another plate in the box the the dock charger came in that is a more shiny black plastic that is designed to work with the gel case.

  • Brian

    How does the portfolio case feel while being held? Does it add a lot of extra bulk? Tempted to get one, but don’t want to ruin the feel.

    • John Grace

      I don’t notice any extra bulk, though that may be because I got the portfolio case when i got my Xoom so it has always been on there. The texture is good and nonslip though not as sticky as the gel case.

    • Booboolala2000

      Doesn’t feel as good as uncovered, but when on the go and really much other times the versatility of the case and its many positions is very welcome. The superhero charging pose is a small, albeit unnecessary. Might just get my exacto knife out and do it myself.

    • Larry

      It feels like holding a tray from the food courte at the mall. I really don’t like the feel of it. The case for the galaxy tab felt much nicer.

  • Anonymous

    I went with the portfolio case myself and like it when traveling but am wondering if anyone who has had time for research knows if the ipad2 case will work and be close enough to the right size for the xoom?

    • Zackkallen

      it wont work due to different dimensions of the devices

  • Dshudson

    I prefer my Xoom out of case, but for travel I do you this same accessory

  • Chuckg73

    I love the portfolio case for what it is. I check evryday though for Otter Box to hopefully release something…my two year old son knocked my xoom out of my hand and it landed screen first on my cement sidewalk from about two feet height. Not a mark on my xoom or screen, the edges of the portfolio case are scuffed and the screen is protected by the Verizon screen protector never touched the ground.

  • jms

    If you put the Xoom in the case upside down you can charge and sync it. Most apps work fine upside down. This works well for app developers who need to keep the screen on and sync a lot.

    • John Grace

      problem is you loose acess to the power buttons andthe camera unless you pop the hinges off.

  • Mehoff88

    Bought a Xoom and played with it for 1 hour before i realized that i have the exact same thing only smaller (Droid X) what a waste of money!!! Seriously, it does absolutely nothing different than my cell phone.

    • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

      That’s a great story too bad wrong place and its your opinion my droid / isn’t as fast I can’t type fast on my x and oh yeah I have mney so its not a big deal but if you go into it worry about the mney then obv you won’t like it

      Sent from my xoom

    • Anonymous

      your holding it wrong

  • Anonymous

    Well I have the portfolio case and its great except for like you said the battery port and the edge, getting just a little wear, but for the battery charging issue, just flipped the xoom upside down problem solved fist in but ways and if its at an angel in the case it actually amplifys the speakers a bit. I took a piece of sand paper and saned down the two nubs on the bottom of the case and I don’t think it catches as much now.

  • Anonymous

    Ugh… I generally don’t put cases on my devices, but I just can’t stand the sound of my Xoom smacking against the table or whatever. I don’t want to buy the portfolio case because of all the design flaws and both it and the gel case are over priced, but I guess that’s the way these companies make money.

    Guess I’ll pick up the gel case even though it looks retarded.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=545634778 Alan Paone

    I don’t like big bulky cases like these. The device is sexy, the case never is, makes no sense to cover up an $800 high end peice of tech with a $20 chunk of rubber. I’d go with a zagg protector, clear, thin and invincible.
    Also, how long will it be before someone copies the cover/case for the new i*ad. That shit is still blowing my mind.

  • Poiriermp

    I really like the portfolio case on my xoom. I have noticed markings on each of the corners on the bottom from removing the case. They tend to wipe right off though. Overall its a solid buy.

  • Budcar38

    Love the portfolio case for in home and on the go.

  • http://twitter.com/bkwolfe Bryan Wolfe

    I love the portfolio except you can’t charge while its closed. People complain about not being able to keep it tilted and charge but that’s a Xoom design flaw.

  • Nospamnerd

    I just had a scratch on my screen after 13 days. No idea how it got on there, but it was driving me crazy. I thought the screen protector wasn’t need with the gorilla glass and how my Droid held up without one.
    Luckily for me, Verizon Wireless exchanged my Xoom and didn’t charge me the restocking fee! Thanks Verizon Wireless and I already ordered a ZAGG screen protector.

  • Nospamnerd

    I just had a scratch on my screen after 13 days. No idea how it got on there, but it was driving me crazy. I thought the screen protector wasn’t need with the gorilla glass and how my Droid held up without one.
    Luckily for me, Verizon Wireless exchanged my Xoom and didn’t charge me the restocking fee! Thanks Verizon Wireless and I already ordered a ZAGG screen protector.

  • tbaybe

    ooohh i cant wait to accessory shop!

    • Anonymous

      You out one butterfly on this and i will drive up there and beat you!!!!

  • Gottheguds112

    I love the portfolio case as well. However, the two tabs on the lower back receiver are not only useless but DO mar the sides of your new device. I recommend taking an exacto knife and some coarse –> fine grit sandpaper to make them flush with the sidewall. The curvature of the back receiver and the wraparound front latch are such that you still ensure a snug fit in all circumstances.

  • http://twitter.com/MBDOWNS Beamish

    I bought both the portfolio and the gel case. The gel case lasted 15 minutes for me before I tossed it aside in favor of the portfolio. The protection is better, the angles work well and you can also fold it flat since there is a second hinge point half-way up the back of the case.

    You can dock with the folio case: you do not use the “case” sized adapter, just the naked Xoom adapter and flip the portfolio case behind it using the second hinge. I have been doing this every night for the last week and it works fine.

  • Anonymous

    I have had issues with the portfolio case leaving marks (easily wiped off) on my XOOM where the two tabs hold the bottom half on. I filed them down, problem solved. However, the portfolio case has a slightly annoying smell. I love the gel case, but when I leave home, my XOOM gets the portfolio. I have a ton of faith in Gorilla glass, but I’m not completely crazy. :-)

    • Anonymous

      I do the same. Portfolio case when im not at home and the gel case for around the house use. You use a screen protector? Debating if I should purchase one or not.

      • Anonymous

        No screen protector for me. I can’t stand them. Unless your planning to do diamond cutting on your screen, I don’t think they’re necessary. I’m sure there are some who like them, but to me they’re a waste of money.

  • Failed

    Haha kellex hype the crap out of thunderbolt…and said it would.be first 4g phone lol…haha the iPhone 5 will be apple now own Verizon haha death to droooid haha u NERDS

    • Kevoskee

      To have a name like yours, means u failed. And with a comment like yours, means I forgot to spray u with pesticide. Now scram now please and die

    • tbaybe

      wow… u are in the wrong place…

    • http://twitter.com/bkwolfe Bryan Wolfe

      English mother fucker, do you speak it?

      • Anonymous

        nope, only troll

      • Gmr4life

        hahahaha so funny

    • Anonymous

      three things on this

      #1 his comment doesn’t make sense

      #2 Why would any of you guys reply to something like this, you know he comes back to check his post to see what anger he stirred up, if he came back and there were 50 new posts, none to him, he looks like that much of a loser and probably won’t bother coming back

      #3 I don’t mind when trolls come on our discussions since it is usually one or none each post, check out an equivalent apple blog, there are quadruple fold the amount of android trolls because of the simple fact android>iOS and it is so easy to troll those guys..

      I know this won’t stop you guys from saying things like ‘wrong place’ or ‘troll’ .. he knows hes ‘trolling’, and that is why he came to the ‘wrong place’

    • Anonymous

      iPhone 5 probably won’t even have LTE, it will probably be too soon for apple.

  • http://twitter.com/RobTheITguy Rob Rowald

    I too love the portfolio case. I was considering modifying it to allow me to charge with the case closed. I just haven’t figured out if I want to punch a small hole or open the entire set of ports up.

  • http://twitter.com/RobTheITguy Rob Rowald

    I too love the portfolio case. I was considering modifying it to allow me to charge with the case closed. I just haven’t figured out if I want to punch a small hole or open the entire set of ports up.

    • http://twitter.com/bkwolfe Bryan Wolfe

      Yeah I’m going to do the same thing, just waiting on someone else to be brave and figure out the best way.

      • Zackkallen

        y nt just drill a hole in the cast so tht way u have a clean slot for the charger?

      • kenny

        I happen to work at a printing company and used a paper drill to put a perfect hole for the power port. I realize not everyone has access to that equipment but i think a hole punch would have the same results.

    • Anonymous

      I’m thinking exactly the same thing.. I got out the hole punch but was afraid to do it.

      … but except to the difficulty charging, I love the case.

    • Serpcio

      I have a friend (in another state) who works with leather – he said they have hole punches that would leave a clean perfect hole… I just haven’t had the time to try it yet (nor have I found said punch anywhere!)

  • http://twitter.com/xfireguru Sam

    My gel case is actually a pretty poor fit. I will be giving the portfolio case a shot after reading this.

  • http://twitter.com/xfireguru Sam

    My gel case is actually a pretty poor fit. I will be giving the portfolio case a shot after reading this.

    • Anonymous

      did you get the motorola one? or one of the cheaper off-brand ones?

  • Anonymous

    I’ve got the portfolio, and love it for carrying, but am not a huge fan when I’m trying to use the Xoom for short spurts. The plastic on the bottom, which must unclasp from the Xoom in order to make the case fold, often holds on too tightly… while it hasn’t caused any damage, it’s a nuisance. And I would probably not have a problem with it if I could at least charge with it on, but as Kellex noted, that’s another flaw. That being said, I’m not going to have my Xoom unprotected, so that $40 is a necessary cost in my mind, until something better comes out.

    Still mulling over getting a gel case… if only Wrapsol would come out with a screen cover for the Xoom, I’d feel like the gel cover and Wrapsol over the screen was adequate protection (had Wrapsol on my DX and it’s been absolutely perfect… way better than Zagg)

  • Anonymous

    I’ve got the portfolio, and love it for carrying, but am not a huge fan when I’m trying to use the Xoom for short spurts. The plastic on the bottom, which must unclasp from the Xoom in order to make the case fold, often holds on too tightly… while it hasn’t caused any damage, it’s a nuisance. And I would probably not have a problem with it if I could at least charge with it on, but as Kellex noted, that’s another flaw. That being said, I’m not going to have my Xoom unprotected, so that $40 is a necessary cost in my mind, until something better comes out.

    Still mulling over getting a gel case… if only Wrapsol would come out with a screen cover for the Xoom, I’d feel like the gel cover and Wrapsol over the screen was adequate protection (had Wrapsol on my DX and it’s been absolutely perfect… way better than Zagg)

  • TheDonger

    I love my portfolio case but have been thinking of drilling mine so that I can get at the charger port. Anyone done this yet? Did the plastic drill easily or melt?

    • Anonymous

      I saw on one of the forums that a guy used a hole punch to put a hole in the bottom – gotta be an industrial one though so that you can get the hole in the middle of the case… it looked like it did a perfect job, but I’m not about to go out and buy one of the industrial hole punches for $30 just for this convenience when in a few weeks a case will probably be out for the same price with the hole that should have been there all along…

    • Xertion3

      Well… I used the drill on the folio to cut room for the power only. Works but looks like someone cut a hole in the folio. I tried to clean it up best I know how but Freddy Kruger won that battle. Function vs. Form.

  • Jak341

    I was holding out for an Otterbox, but I may check out the Portfolio now.

  • Anonymous

    I passed on the portfolio on launch day but I may give it a try after reading this. Thanks.

  • DroidzFX

    Xoom YAY first