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Speck See-Thru Hardshell Case for Treo 680

Mon Jul 30, 2007 - 8:03 AM EDT - By Jay Gross

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Would you recommend Speck Products SeeThru Hard Case for Treo 680?
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Product Info


Overview

When you choose a color for your Treo, and pay the cost of owning one, you donít want to hide it under a boring case. At least I donít. So, I welcome the chance to show off my (crimson!) Treo 680, while still affording it enough protection to keep my comfort zone comfortable.

There arenít many choices, and there ought to be many more. Iíve previously reviewed Seidioís Super Slim Hard Case (Crystal) for Treo 680, and liked it. A lot. It got graded off a little bit in my ratings because it doesnít offer any protection of the Treo screen, where protection from scratching, flying, or bumping objects is most important. For looks, however, it rules. Itís totally clear. ďCrystal,Ē as the product name states.

Speck Products has a new contender in the clear-ish case fray, and Iíve had the opportunity to check it out thoroughly. Itís built along the same general idea, but Speckís ďSee-ThruĒ hard case isnít transparent, and certainly not ďcrystal.Ē My 680ís crimson beauty does shine through, but not as ďclearlyĒ.

Speckís case adds a couple of wrinkles. First, thereís screen protection, in the form of a little slab of plastic that youíre supposed to lay over the screen before you snap the two halves of the See-Thru case around your Treo. The plastic is too stiff, however, and although the screen is well protected from harm, itís not as usable. One thing I wonít give up for this type of case is usability, so I removed the screen protecting plastic and went forth with only my expensive Boxwave ClearTouch Crystal screen protector doing its job. Iím not entirely comfortable with this arrangement, simply because I often put my Treos in my pockets, rather than using a clip, where theyíre at the mercy of bouncing keys, coins, marbles, and other potentially scratchy objects.

Iíd rather have a little door that opens for screen access, or some other contrivance to add the same level of protection to the all-important screen that the See-Thru case provides to the rest of the 680. That means, alas, moving to a different type of case, though fortunately some are available in colors to match the color Treos.

Well, itís not fair to go on too much about the See-Thruís lack of screen protection, since I threw the included plastic pane away. Your mileage individualizes itself, as the standard disclaimer cautions. Besides, itís not at all difficult to remove the See-Thru from the Treo, which you have to do anyway to access the SD Card slot.

Now the color. Seidioís case is clear. Speckís is smoky translucent. Matter of taste, but if youíre going to let the color of something shine through, why put any coloration in the plastic at all? I do like the smoky plastic, but Iíd like it better if it were clearer Ė not necessarily crystal clear, but that wouldnít be a bad thing either.

Installing the See-Thru is a simple matter. To put the case on, lay the screen protector over the screen (if you choose to use it), set the case in the bottom half of the clamshell, and slip the top part on. Start the process by fitting the top part of the clamshell over the bottom edge first. The ďsnapĒ that holds it together is at the top, and the case wonít stay put unless itís assembled in this order. If done this way, itís quite secure.

The process Iíve described is the reverse of the companyís official directions given on their website. The companyís recommended way works, too, although I found it easier to put the back on first.

To remove it, disengage the catch, say with a fingernail, and the clamshell will open easily. After the first time or two, the process takes only seconds. Isnít simplicity wonderful?

To attach the Treo to a belt, strap, or clothing, the case comes with a feather weight clip-equipped cradle made of the same translucent plastic. The grip works upside down or not, and rotates 360 degrees with frequent detents to accommodate most any configuration you care to fling at it. While its spring isnít as strong as some Iíve tested, the wide, ďbarbedĒ plastic clip should enable a pretty reliable attachment over almost any edge.



Usability

The See-Thru case has cutouts for the buttons on the left side of the Treo, for the HotSync, earphone, and charge connectors on the bottom, and for the keyboard. Thereís another opening on top for the ring/vibrate switch, plus cutouts on the back for the camera. The back speaker is covered with perforated plastic, and the ear speaker on the front is covered by a plastic panel that has some airspace around it. Really, it should be simply cutout, a modification you can probably make yourself with skillful application of an X-Acto knife and some patience. I didnít bother, as the sound attenuation from the plastic isnít much.

To use the Treo 680ís SD card slot, as I already complained about, you have to remove the case. This is unfortunate, but might be a necessary evil. After you cut so many holes in such a case, thereís not much left to hold it together Ė literally as well as figuratively.

Built for the lightweight Treo 680, the See-Thru case wonít weigh you down. Without the clip, the plastic halves barely weigh anything at all - 0.6 oz. (17 g.). The clip brings it up to 1.5 oz (42 g). Nice.



Protection

The purpose of any case is the protection of your treasure, and Speckís See-Thru Hard Case has that covered Ė except for the screen issue Iíve already whined about. However, the plastic case is far from soft. Nuff said about that, too. Moreover, the keyboard remains exposed. Fortunately, itís not as likely to be scratched by errant keys and coins in a pocket, purse, or book bag.

Forget splashes altogether, and if you get caught in a downpour, shield your Treo from the raindrops while you head for cover. The case offers almost no protection from moisture, and donít even think about dunking it.

In a (gasp!) drop, the See-Thru case will probably fend off major damage to the Treo, but itís made of hard plastic, not energy-absorbing materials, so the brunt of any blow will go right through to your treasure without much abatement on the way. For such moviní and shakiní Iíd be happier with a case made of soft materials. And padded, too. For this type of case, however, the protection is about as good as youíre going to get.



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