|Thu Apr 12, 2007 - 9:33 AM EDT - By Douglas Morse|
Sometimes you get a little something to review that looks underwhelming, and then offers a pleasant surprise. The Smartphone Experts Leather Hard Case (for the Treo 750 and 680) is just such a case. It seemed to offer no screen protection and had little else to recommend it except a funky design that at first glance, I wasnít so sure about either. Fortunately, I was wrong.
This Leather Hardcase is one of the first cases of its type that does not have a cross bar of any sort between the screen and lower buttons, nor does it need it. All you need to do is gently pry open the top of the clamshell like case, slide the Treo in, and the case then snaps back around the Treo. The case itself is hard, thick leather with a felt lining. It is the stiffness of the leather that allows the case to work without any cross supports or top securing straps. The top of the case curls inwards with a lip to hold the Treo securely.
This hard clamshell like design allows access to everything on the sides, including miniSD port and bottom ports. On the back is a perfect cutout for speaker, camera, and mirror. Also on the back is a spot for a removable belt clip screw. I really appreciate it when cases have this option. I canít say the belt clip itself is anything special. Itís your typical two cent spring loaded type.
Iíve been using the black leather case and find it comfortable to hold with just the right amount of texture. Smooth, but not slippery. It is also attractive, though the case also comes in graphite, crimson, copper, and artic (grey, red, orange and white to you and me). Because of the way the case is designed, these color choices compliment rather than fight with the exposed colors of the Treo itself. Usually Iím all for the unobtrusive black, but the red looks quite nice.
Before I move on, I just want to say I have recently been more and more impressed with the Smartphone Experts offerings. Their cases increasingly take into account the details necessary to make the Treo functional. The cut outs are well thought out and accurate, their case offerings varied, and the cases are well constructed.
As I mentioned, everything on the Treo is accessible when using the Smartphone Experts Leather Hard Case, from all of the side switches to front access of keyboard and screen. The removal of a cross piece is a welcome change. I never quite realized how annoying they are: the distance between the five- way navigator and the top row of keys is quite small and a cross piece continually gets in the way.
Surprisingly, the case offers good protection. It is a hard case, as advertised and does afford solid protection around the back and top sides. Since the case rises a few millimeters off the Treo, it affords a bumper like protection around the whole thing. I felt comfortable even putting it in my pocket even though the screen and keyboard are exposed.
The removable belt clip works as advertised, though I do wish the nub were a bit lower profile. You need to seriously crank the included screw in with a coin to get it to its lowest level, which is still not low enough for my taste.
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