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Monaco Aluminum Case for Treo 680

Wed Oct 3, 2007 - 12:43 PM EDT - By Jay Gross

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Product Info


Wrap your Treo 680 in Monaco�s fitted case made of aircraft aluminum, and go forth into the wilds of the world with confidence that your treasure is mostly safe from almost all harm. Actually, your treasure�s keyboard isn�t safe at all, since it�s exposed through a cutout in the aluminum, but the rest of the phone is probably good for anything short of an asteroid crash landing on your belly button.

The case�s heavy duty metal won�t even notice keys, coins, or other stuff that could attack your Treo if you park it in a pocket or a purse. If you clip the case onto your belt � more about that shortly � any flying objects that don�t send you to the emergency room probably won�t injure your phone. Clipped to a belt, however, the Treo looks out into the cold cruel face of the real, to say the least, world. So, any flying object that takes careful aim could harm its keyboard, or at least press some keys. You are forewarned. If you find yourself in that kind of flying object situation, be sure you�re wearing eye protection and a hardhat. Better yet, get out of there! Objects big and mean enough to ding your 680�s keyboard might do a number on you, too.

The Monaco Aluminum case is form fitted to the Treo 680, and that�s what I tested it with. My 680 is crimson (deftly sneaking that important information into this narrative, right up front). Though hiding much of the crimson thrill, the black Monaco looks good with it. The case also comes in silver. I like the looks of the basic black.

To fit the Treo into the case, simply slide it in from the top opening. The phone slides over and rests against a soft padding, and once it�s snugly inside, the cover closes and latches. The package calls the lining Neoprene, but it feels like plain old felt to me, so that�s what I�m calling it. The Treo can�t slip back out through the top with the cover closed. It�s not likely to go flying, even with the cover open, as it can�t do much sliding around, anyway, as the fit is quite snug, leaving only a little wiggle room top to bottom and none left or right.

The cover sports a little plastic window that permits an unfettered view of the Treo�s screen. The hard plastic pane is not stylus friendly, so you�ll have to open the top of the case to do any tapping, whether with stylus or a fingertip. However, it�s quite possible and super easy to operate the Treo with the 5-way button controls instead of tapping the touchscreen. This will give you some good practice if you�re tempted by the new Treo 500v (or whatever Palm calls it when it�s shipped for other carriers besides Vodafone). The 500v�s screen is non-touch-responsive.


While it�s nestled in the Monaco Aluminum case, the Treo 680 remains almost entirely usable. As previously mentioned, you have to open the windowed front cover to tap the screen, but the 5-Way and all the other buttons are readily available to your fingers. This includes the volume up/down buttons and the side button that you can configure to do whatever you like � like call home or bring up the caller log. The charge and HotSync connectors at the bottom, as well as the Treo�s earphone jack show through an opening. At the top, the ringer switch (ring or vibrate) and the IR port also stay accessible. There�s a little porthole for the LED to peek out, as well as diagonal openings over the speaker.

On the back, the camera�s lens and primping mirror peek out through an oval-ended hole on the back, and Monaco thoughtfully provides a scooped opening so the 680�s stylus remains readily accessible. The only thing you can�t get to is the 680�s SD Card door. You have to remove the case for that. Unfortunately, you pretty much need to extract the 680 entirely. Part way won�t help much.

Removing the Treo from the case to change the SD Card isn�t all that much of a barrier � the phone slips right out, and the soft lining is likely to prevent scratches, even if you have to do this often.

Unkept promise

The package, one of those plastic clamshell affairs but not too terribly frustrating to open, claims the case has a pocket inside for an extra SD Card. It doesn�t.

I�m not a fan of belt clips, but I do use them some of the time, mostly to attach Treos � yes, often more than one � to my camera bags. Monaco�s Aluminum 680 case supplies a great way to handle the clip decision: on or off. The case comes with a little plastic button that screws into a tapped hole on the back of the case, if you want to use the clip. A rotating plastic clip snaps over that. Remove the button, and the back is clean again.

Although I like its remove-ability, I have two problems with the clip: First, it�s short, though way strong. There�s not enough leverage on the fingertip end of the thing to open it easily, and not enough reach on the end that clips over the belt or strap. I wouldn�t advocate making the clip any weaker, just longer, so my clumsy fingers can get some leverage to open it. Currently, it doesn�t interfere with the camera�s view, close as it is, so maybe that�s why it�s short, however.

My second problem with it is that it has no detents. Maybe some people like that, but I�m not comfortable with having my crimson 680 flopping around untended at my waist or dangling unfettered off my camera bags� straps. Monaco�s clip makes no effort to prevent that.

The good news on the clip is that it�s about the same as the ones on many other cases. If you have a detent equipped clip from a case you�re discarding, it just might fit the button. Problem solved.


With an impeccable overall fit and finish, the two-ounce (60-gram) Monaco Aluminum Case for Treo 680 wraps its treasure in sturdy aluminum for a very fair $29.95. It cushions its charge with a soft lining and leaves everything but the SD Card slot usable without removing the case. It admirably protects everything but the keyboard. As for the screen, the case shields it with a hinged, windowed cover that you can open quickly to use the Treo, which is not likely to fall out of the case, even with the cover open. Despite the detent-free clip system that for my taste leaves the Treo too free to rotate, this is a great case, offering great protection, good usability, and a nice look.



Design 4
Usability 4
Protection 4
Cost/Benefit 4
(not an average)
  • Extremely sturdy, fends off most anything
  • Choice of black or silver
  • Plastic window protects screen from harm
  • Hinged door secures Treo in case
  • Most access and functions remain accessible
  • Soft felt lining protects Treo during insert and remove operations
  • Cons
  • Catch requires two hands to open, though it is quite possible to operate the Treo with the 5-way control
  • Treo must be removed from case to access SD Card slot
  • Keyboard and buttons get no protection

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