Speck CandyShell Case for Galaxy Tab Review

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Intro & Overview

Speck makes cases and protective coverings for pretty much all mobile devices out there (including laptops). They believe in unique, high quality design – and they have the cases and awards to show for that. They’re one of the first to have cases for the Galaxy Tab, but it’s a rehash of an old Speck classic. As expected, the Speck CandyShell for Galaxy Tab is basically a bigger version of the Speck CandyShell for iPhone 4. These are two very different devices, so some caveats arise, despite the sturdy design of the CandyShell.

Rubberized Buttons…

Instead of having form-factor holes exposing the device buttons, the Speck CandyShell for the Galaxy Tab has rubberized button covers which fit snugly over your Tab’s native buttons. The volume covers work well (just a slightly heavier push than usual), but the power sleep on/off require a rather heavy squeeze to get your Tab started. Although it adds protection to the Tab’s core buttons, this is probably undesirable if you’re the type who likes to conveniently toggle the power/sleep button to conserve batteries between frequent uses. (The Android’s four on-device buttons only work when the device is on.) This problem isn’t present on the iPhone CandyShell case, as the iPhone’s depressable Home button, which wakes the device from sleep, is on the exposed front side of the screen.

Solid Protection on All Sides…

Solid protection on all sides

The Speck CandyShell for Galaxy Tab case fits perfectly over the Galaxy Tab, with solid, opaque protection surrounding all sides, except for the exposed front side. Size-wise, the CandyShell adds a few millimeters to the Tab, but the encased device still fits nicely in any additional protective sleeve or bag designed for e-Readers or the Tab. For Sprint CDMA users, this means you’d have to take the case off whenever you need to access your DEC and HEX (assuming you seem to never remember to put it in a handy memo for future reference). Again, this problem isn’t present on the old Speck CandyShell for iPhone 4, since it’s GSM (AT&T) and uses a sim card instead of a device activation system via unique identification code.

Unexpected Device Stealth!

Stock Photo, Courtesy Speck

As with all Speck products, the Speck logo is prominently displayed on the backside of the CandyShell. (In the field, I’ve had several people stalk me down thinking I have a coveted test device – including a Galaxy Tab user, who, in hindsight, said the device looked “too big in [my] hands.”) The case includes fitted holes for the backside camera, microphone, earphones, proprietary charger port, and the SD card slot, but could otherwise serve well for putting your Tab under stealth.

Beveled Lining for Ultra Touchscreen Protection

Beveled lining

Although the Galaxy Tab may have a touchscreen made of unbreakable Gorilla glass, the extra protective lining (measuring a rubber-beveled 2 mm) on the Speck Candyshell front serves for excellent extra protection. According to the guys I met at the Corning Gorilla Glass booth at CES, that extra lining from the case could (in theory) protect the touchscreen from shatter from at least two stories (10 meters)!

Case Installation

Insert the Tab on button-side first to fit

You install the case by slipping the Tab in from the side with the buttons, then nudging the rest of the device in. Once inside, the case adds a better grip surface than the bare device, but is still smooth enough that you might get a thrill out of running your finger against your encased device. The rubberized lining (grey) on front extends to the case’s four corners, which adds a distinctive look to the case.

The Feel of the Case…

When you hold a Speck CandyShell in your hand, the first thing you notice is that the rubber beveled lining on the front feels good on your thumb, and helps keep your grip from slipping. (A very needed enhancement on the super-slippery naked Galaxy Tab.) Your other fingers on the backside caress over something smooth and sturdy, a lovely expanse of glossy hard shell exterior, with the texture of the engraved Speck logo in the middle, so that if you read finger braile, you know exactly what case you are holding:

The Speck CandyShell for the Galaxy Tab is currently available in black, white, bw plaid, or purple, with a MSRP of $44.95.

Bulletpoint Summary


  • Speck’s sleek, cool-looking design
  • High quality material
    • Hard, smooth, sturdy no-slip exterior
    • Rubberdized insulation on the inside!
    • Feels extremely good to touch…
  • Beveled lining on front-side provides extra protection on the touchscreen
  • Perfect fit!


  • Hole for back camera is a trap for fingerprints
  • Heavy squeeze required on the Sleep/Power button
  • Clear edition not available and device logo/brandmark completely hidden (could be a pro if you don’t want people to know which device you’re using).
  • Existing Speck iPhone 4 case clone - c’mon, Speck, give us a unique design for the Android’s first iPad-competing tablet!