When I heard that James was sending me a Smartphone Experts SC650 Skin Case for review, and I thought Iíd better do a bit of research before I started testing. Iíve never used a skin case before and James has reviewed four or five of them
The Skin case for the 650 that achieved the highest rating was the S650. James thought it was a perfect skin case because it was sleek, had the perfect cut outs, and was priced right. At the lowest end of the scale, the Speck SkinTight case for the 650 was not to his liking, especially as he found the included holster difficult to work with.
Since the SC650 Skin Case is a variation of the S650 (the C standing for clip), I expected to find a very good case. However, the implementation of the belt clip was different than Iíve encountered before, and coupled with an extremely stretchy silicone case it made for interesting testing.
The SC650 skin case is a silicon membrane that stretches over the Treo. At first, itís very hard to conceive of getting the skin around the device through the top opening (which appropriately enough is just wide enough for he bottom connector and headphone jack. With a bit of wiggling and sliding, the case finds its way onto the Treo. I always felt I was going to tear the thing, but it seems to be made of tougher stuff.
In addition to the cut outs at the bottom, there are cut outs for the keyboard, screen, microphone, top buttons both speakers and camera. There is even a small cut out for the LED. All of the cutouts line up perfectly with the Treo 650. Since I've never used a skin case before, I was surprised to find that the control buttons, though covered, were usable as well as the side buttons. In fact, I liked the soft touch the case added to those buttons. I was also impressed that the case had raised areas over each individual button that helped with accuracy.
What differentiates this case from the S650 is the presence of a removable belt clip. A small white nub can screw into the back of the case and a included white belt clip can be used with it.
The belt clip is low profile, though it uses a different mechanism than Iíve seen before. Instead of a release mechanism at the top of the clip, the catch inside the clip takes pressure both to insert and to remove. Think of it as a snap that clips in and it clips out.
Since this is essentially the same case as the S650 except the clip, I think it important to start examining that.
As I mentioned, the nub for the clip is removable from the back of the case leaving only a raised nut to screw back in. Although the white clip is low profile, the nub is not so—the Treo does not ride as sleekly as some cases like the with the belt loop built into the case itself.
Clips rely on pressure to insert them. Not usually an issue when the nub is attached to metal or stiff leather, but when the nub is attached to very stretchy silicon, well it's kind of like Elasta Girl. I found I had to support the nub with my fingers as it went into the clip. I also found out that you have to support the nub as you pull the case out of the clip because, as I mentioned, there is no release mechanism. If you have a spare clip lying around that fits this nub, you may want to try it out because I didnít like all of that support and tugging. I like the old-fashioned press and release.
Iíve gotten used to not using the keyguard with my cases. One extra button press is annoying. With the Skin case, youíll need to turn it back on again and of course use a screen protector. Also, the case needs to be removed for use in the Smartphone Experts Cradle—an alternative I found is to peel the case partway back so it can sit unattractively in the cradle. One other note: you cannot reset the Treo with the case on. All of these things may seem obvious, though I find I donít often think of the ramifications of case use until I start working with one.
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