Review: Mozo leather backs for the Lumia 950 and 950 XL
Shown off at the Lumia 950/XL launch, the Mozo leather backs impressed everyone who saw them - and now they're here - or at least some varieties are. Others (fit/material/colours) will arrive over the next few months. However, we have a winner already with one of the colours here - but that's just my subjective opinion. Take a look at the photos below.
The packaging for these 40 Euro accessories is sturdy, but the real 'premium' is in the covers themselves, of course. The Lumia 950 and 950 XL ship with perfectly functional but rather plain tough plastic covers/sides, but the aim here is to:
- provide a premium leather back
- provide metal all around
- provide larger, flatter side surfaces that feel more comfortable in the hand
...all the while not getting in the way of the integral Qi charging and NFC functions or making the phones larger. And Mozo succeeds in every regard. You'll probably put this hyperbole down to me getting free review samples and not having to buy them, but even as I write this I have one particular back cover in the Mozo pre-order system with my own money behind it. Which one? Well, read on....
Let's start with the leather though. There are two textures - the coarser leather for the black, white and red finishes, and the much finer, smoother leather (with stitching) for the brown. Both feel great in the hand - the coarser one looks tacky in photos but is much better in real life. And both are grippy in the hand. Mozo explained that the brown one for the 950 XL here wasn't quite 'retail quality', being pre-production, but if that's the case then the retail accessories will have quality that's off the chart.
Impressively, and one of the reasons why these Mozo covers are relatively expensive, the insides are immaculately detailed, right down to the rubber gaskets around speaker and microphone holes. Plus the full NFC and Qi antennae, of course. Here below, on the left, is the Microsoft original, on the right is the Mozo version:
Here's a closer look at the detailing, here on the Lumia 950 XL version again (partly because it's bigger, partly because there are more fiddly bits, partly because I was using the 950 to take photos...!):
Now to the cover sides/perimeter. Which look like metal but feel like plastic - but then they'd have to be, since the whole thing has to bend while removing from the Lumia. In fact the perimeter (and 'metal' detailing around the camera/flash) is 'non conductive vacuum metal coated polycarbonate'. So a thin metal powder over plastic. The effect is very convincing though - it's metal yet... not metal, in effect. I suppose that there might be issues with the coating wearing off, but we'll need a few months under our belts before anyone knows. However, given the quality of the rest of the accessories here, you have to think that Mozo has done wear-testing on these coatings, so I'm optimistic.
Also important is the profile - the original 950 and 950 XL sides were relatively thin, with curves out into the back of the phones - the Mozo covers have a larger (flat) side profile, for easier gripping of the devices, and then with a shallower curve into the back.
The profile change is subtle but very noticeable in the hand. The leather is stuck on, obviously, meaning that the Mozo cases are a millimetre or so thicker overall, but this isn't a problem at all - the phones simply feel easier to hold and more solid all round (the XL version doesn't 'creak', unlike the plastic used in the Microsoft version, for example).
Which leather colour and finish you go for is personal preference, but I fell in love with the much smoother finish on the brown sample here. Although I wouldn't normally choose this as a colour, the texture and materials all work together brilliantly. Even the stitching, which is genuine (and not 'faux') though obviously not keeping anything together(!)
In short then, the Mozo cases are very well made and fit beautifully - they live up to the hype. While I'd be perfectly happy with any of them, the one I'll probably be ordering is the brown leather back for the Lumia 950. Or at least pre-ordering. I see from the Mozo site that the semi-handmade nature of these cases mean that there are delays before all variations are available.
Mozo is listed as 'an official partner of Microsoft' and from what I've seen here their quality easily matches this billing. Recommended.
Which is your favourite? Comments welcome!
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at