|Thu Nov 8, 2007 - 12:09 PM EST - By Jay Gross
Skin cases � in case you�re new to Treo accessories � are like socks. They fit tight, protect what you put in them from abrasion, and peel on and off when needed. Unlike socks, fortunately, skin cases don�t get lost in the wash.
Close-hugging cases have advantages over other types. They�re small, for one thing, and light in weight. Even so, I�m a fan of pouch style cases, vertical, horizontal, or otherwise. Yet there�s plenty to be said in favor of a case that doesn�t take up much more room than the Treo itself. Such is the Smartphone Experts UltraSlim SkinCase, which stre-e-e-tches around the phone, coddling it in a grippy, rubbery hug. There are thick skins and thin, and the UltraSlim is one of the latter.
Installed, the SlimCase gives the Treo a great non-slick feel. Indeed, I�ve permanently appropriated this one to my 700w, which lives on the table beside my desk. My hope is that the non-skid SkinCase covering will prevent its getting knocked to the floor. The 700w has taken a spill in the past, but fortunately that was into the trash can (softly padded with discarded papers, as usual), instead of onto the hard tile floor. Draw whatever inferences you wish.
Another thing I like about the UltraSlim SkinCase is its looks. You get to choose from an array of colors: Frosted Clear, Lady Pink, Executive Grey, and Future Blue. My model is Future Blue, but I could be tempted with the others, even pink - anything but the (boring!) Grey, executive or not. The blue skin brightens up the dark Treo. Its color comes across as �frosted,� and I love the look it imparts.
Convenient cutouts in the SkinCase allow the Treo�s screen, keyboard, and ports to peek through. This is particularly important for the earphone connector, as well as the charging and HotSync connector on the bottom. Even while the case is on it, you can keep your Treo charged and ready, and listen to music. Yeah, I know Bluetooth doesn�t need a physical port.
While they�re �wearing� the SkinCase, my Treo 700p and 700w still fit correctly onto my Seidio INNOdock cradle where my 700p normally parks. However, a TreoCentral user reported that the SkinCase had a problem with charging on the Palm cradle. I don�t have one of those to test and verify with, so invoke the standard caveat concerning �your mileage.�
The SkinCase�s cutouts don�t include holes for the side buttons, the 5-way, or the dedicated navigation buttons above the QUERTY keyboard. These nestle into lumps molded into the rubbery material, remaining easily usable through the case. There is, however, a cutout for the LED to shine through. Unnecessary, really, but there it is.
The ear piece, plus the IR port, the SD Card slot, and the ring/vibrate switch on top are also accorded cutouts. All of the case�s windows fit extremely well, landing in the just the right spot. Nice.
With rubbery material � that�s what the manufacture calls this � one concern is that repeatedly getting the Treo in and out of the case might stretch the case out of shape. In fact, several users have reported just that. Now why, you ask, would you remove it? For me, it�s because the 700w crashes and has to be reset � remove the battery and replace it. The thing needs a reset about once a fortnight, so I get plenty of opportunities to put the case on and off.
Getting the case onto the Treo is a cinch. I think it might be ja smidge too loose, however, as I was expecting a much more difficult task of getting it into place. Removing it is just as easy. A two-handed operation on both counts, but I expected that. After several on/off cycles, my experience is that the case has �grown� a little bit. Perhaps I�m being more careful than usual, on account of reading the comments from TC posters, and of course remembering that I need to photograph the product for this review.
I do get the impression that the silicone, rubbery material, or whatever it is would distort if pulled too far, but it takes more oomph than I�ve given it. When I removed the case to weigh it for this review (18 grams, a piddly six tenths of an ounce), I tried to distort it on purpose, and succeeded in enlarging it slightly. It survived, but doesn�t fit as snugly as it did the first time I installed it. This is inconclusive, I know, so insert the your-mileage-varies caveat here, too. The product is almost inexpensive enough to be disposable after a few uses, so if it doesn�t work for you, you�re not out of very much.
The SkinCase affords good protection for the Treo�s surfaces, but it doesn�t do anything for the screen or the keyboard. Especially if you stow your phone in pockets, purses, or bookbags with a bunch of other stuff, be sure to install a good screen protector.
My review unit included a pristine white lanyard. Too bad there�s no way to attach it. Or am I missing something? No matter. I�m happy to have a longer replacement for the wrist-strap length lanyard that came with my new digital camera.
Smartphone Experts� UltraSlim SkinCase costs little, weighs nearly nothing, and surrounds your Treo with a nice looking splash of frosted color. Or gray. It protects the Treo 700-series from dings and scratches, but does nothing for the screen or the keyboard, while leaving the ports and controls open and freely usable.
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