|Mon May 7, 2007 - 6:54 AM EDT - By Jay Gross|
Monacoís leather flip case for the Treo 750 and 680 does what every case should Ė protect the Treo Ė and it does it beautifully. This excellently made case comes in three colors, none of them black. Howís that for a new thrill? And howís that for fashion, too.
I have nothing against black cases, really, but why would I want to wrap my beautiful, crimson Treo 680 in boring black when I take it out in public? As for 750 owners, (750ís donít come in colors), the color cases offer a chance to break from the banal. Have you got the nerve to tote the pink one?
Nerve, for sure Iím well supplied with that. However, my phone is crimson, and the fashion mavens havenít yet deemed it to coordinate with pink. Maybe next season. So, I went for Monacoís red model, which is what Iím reviewing here.
The hand made (so says the package) leather case is of the flip persuasion. The Treo fits into a snug pouch, which sports a cutout for the keyboard, and the case closes vertically, latching at the bottom via a narrow, leather tab with a magnetic snap. The snap appears to be plentifully strong to do the job.
On the back, the case offers a tapped hole that permits attaching a rotating belt clip. The clip comes in two pieces, a screw-on button and a plastic clip that captures the button and offers a clamp to latch over the edge of clothing, belt, strap, or whatever. The button can be unscrewed and stowed when not in use, for a clean look, free of protruding appendage. Great idea Ė removing it, that is. Itís not very sightly, though it serves the purpose if needed.
The Monaco Flip Case looks fine wrapped around my Treo 680, and it offers great protection while leaving the most important controls readily accessible. Because of the way the case is reinforced, however, it will not fit on my Seidio Inno.Dock cradle. A few millimeters less stiffener panel, and itíd work. Oh well.
Nonetheless, with the case in place, closed and latched, I can easily charge the 680 off the cradle by hooking up the charge cable, or HotSync using the sync cable if the flip latch stays open. The headphone jack remains accessible, too, even with the case closed and latched. The case also leaves openings for the side buttons, but itís not really comfortable or advisable to make or take calls without opening it. Even so, it comes off (and goes on) quick as a wink, so it poses not much of a barrier to desk-bound operations.
The openings, while convenient, donít include one for the access door to the 680ís SD Card slot. You have to remove the case to insert or change an SD card. I do this occasionally, but not often enough for the oversight to be a problem. However, if youíre constantly changing your card, perhaps to listen to different MP3 music files, the case could be a significant barrier. Itís simple to whisk it off the Treo, but thatís not a one-handed operation, and certainly not something Iíd want the drivers around me performing while Iím coping with a busy freeway.
The case does have a slot in the cover for an extra SD card, which slips underneath a flap of leather. Tight! Itís such a snug fit, the card is unlikely to go flying, but getting it in there in the first place is a blood pressure raising experience. Getting it back out isnít too bad. After some more round trips, itíll probably be fine, but watch out for flying SD cards when you fling the flip case open if it ever loosens up too much.
The problem with encasing your Treo in any case is the often delicate balance of protection against convenience against usability. It would be nice to have capacious pockets for those extra SD cards, plus screen protection and all the ports open, and not have to worry about rain, and Ė well, the list is endless. Monaco strikes a good compromise here, leaning toward the conservative side for more protection while giving up a little accessibility.
The case protects against raindrops (ack!) with its padded, reinforced leather panels that stick out far enough from the Treoís contours to also keep bumps and knocks away. When closed, its stiffened flap keeps most anything away from the touch screen, yet affords instant access when needed, such as looking up a number, making or taking a call, or running a quick check on the weather forecast over the Internet.
Besides, the case leaves the ports available for use. This includes the headset jack and the charging connector on the bottom of the Treo. If only that pesky righthand side accommodated the SD card door.
The case isnít much protection against rain, but if you move it off the clip and into a pocket itíll be fine in anything short of a massive soaking. Forget dunking altogether. Just forget it, okay?
As for looks, the Monaco folks have that down pat. The Leather Case is beautifully made of quality materials, nicely put together and well designed for sleek appeal Ė whether you opt for red, brown, or Ė dare I say Ė pink! Iím not thrilled with the looks of the clip.
With the clip installed, the case rides too far from belt or clothing, bobbles around like a spring-loaded duck, and distracts from the caseís other niceties. Its only advantage is that itís removable. Use it when you need it, hide it in a pocket when you donít.
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