STM Bags is a name that most people will associate more with premium quality laptop bags and sleeves than with smartphone cases, but STM does have a few cases for the Samsung Galaxy S4 which we’re going to take a look at today. The cases in question are the STM grip and STM harbour 2, both hard shell cases with slightly different characteristics, so let’s ive in and see what’s what.
As its name suggests, the primary characteristic of the grip is, well, for superior gripping purposes. It’s back is covered in ridges which create a much better surface for getting a good hold on your device and the material is a plastic which has a rubbery finish making it the perfect texture for something that needs to be grippy. The case itself is made from polycarbonate which ensures that the case is rigid and tough, but also very light.
The grip is extremely easy to apply as the Galaxy S4 just slips in and clips into place. Ample room has been given to all ports and access points, though I did notice the volume and home buttons are a little close to the edge of the alcoves they’re in. Even so, there’s enough room to operate the buttons correctly.
The grip also has enough of a lip on its front to protect the screen in the event of a screen first drop. While the grip looks sturdy enough to protect your Galaxy S4 from normal daily rigours and the occasional waist-high drop, it probably isn’t a prime candidate to protect your device from an earth-shattering leap of faith. That said, the grippy nature of the case will hopefully help in that respect to stop that eventuality even occurring.The price of the STM grip is $19.95 AUD which is a fair amount for a solid, protective case and one which shouldn’t break the bank.
STM harbour 2
The harbour 2 is a slightly different case to the grip, and yes, as you might have guessed from the spelling of “harbour”, STM Bags is actually an Australian-based company that has now gone global. The name “harbour” actually refers to the ability of the harbour 2 to still allow your Galaxy S4 to dock with other devices; how it does it is devilishly simple.
As you can see in the above image, the harbour 2 has a hinged section which allows it to bend away. Being able to do this has multiple benefits including being able to use it as a makeshift stand, or being able to dock your Galaxy S4 with whatever specialized device you have. Since the harbour 2 is made from thermopolyurethane (TPU), it is a little bit stiffer than the grips polycarbonate shell, so the hinge actually acts as an aid when putting your phone into the case, allowing you to slip in in the bottom and closing it to seal the device in. That said, as functional as the hinge is, I do worry that over time that the hinge point will eventually wear out and simply separate the bottom section from the case.
Unlike the grip which had open button ports, the harbour 2 utilizes closed button covers. These seem to be well made and don’t appear to put too much pressure on the buttons as some cases are liable to do. The remainder of the ports have plenty of clearance and aren’t impeded by anything, though if you have a set of headphones that has a particularly chunky audio adapter, you might not be able to fit your adapter into the jack of the harbour 2 as it leaves only a small diameter gap for use.
Much like the grip, the harbour 2 also has an extra lip on its front to prevent any screen damage during falls, and it feels like more of a heavy duty case than the grip courtesy of its thicker case and greater coverage of the phone. I also think it’s a better looking cases thanks to its two-tone colour scheme; both cases are available in 4 different colours. The STM harbour 2 is slightly more expensive than the grip at $29.95 AUD, but obviously it does offer a little more protection and a little more functionality than the grip.
So there you have it: two very solid cases from STM Bags which do the job admirably depending on what you’d prefer your case to be able to do. The grip is a great, light case for the people who are a bit prone to letting their phone slip whereas the harbour 2 is a slightly more functional case which is a bit more protective.
If you’re interested in either of these cases, you can visit their respective product pages (links below), or if you wanted to find out about STM Bags or any of their other products, you can visit their website here.