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SP Experts MC6 Magnesium Case

Fri Dec 9, 2005 - 11:51 AM EST - By Douglas Morse

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Product Info


Overview

A while back, I took an Innopocket aluminum hardcase out for a spin. Lightweight and super strong, it was and is one of my favorite cases, but I wished for an SD card slot and a stronger hinge. Ever since I found out about the Smartphone Experts MC6 Magnesium Case for Treo 650/600, Iíve been lusting after the case. I obsessively bugged the editors letting them know that when one came in, I wanted to review it. Basically I wanted to keep it out of the hands of the notorious James Hromadka (Ed: "notorious?"). This may be an instance of be careful what you wish for.


Design


The SD card slots (yes, there are two) are built into the back of the case. The card slides into the slot and rests in a plastic holder inside the case itself. The hinge is now a double-hinged affair The first part is where you'd expect it to be, however a centimeter below is a second hinge that allows the cover to flip behind the case.

This hardcase exposes all of the ports. The main navigation buttons are under a beveled swoosh cut-out and are ready to use. The keyboard is safely covered and the screen visible through a hard plastic screen. The inside of the case is coated with a soft thin layer of neoprene.

On the back you can use the small, removable included screw to use with the belt clip that comes with the case. The outside of the case really is beautiful. It is a very slick dark matt black. It is gracefully beveled out around not only around the main navigation keys, but also the speaker, status light, and screen area. This case is sleek and slick.


Usability


The SD card slot is the proverbial blessing and curse of the case. First off, it causes the case to protrude a bit in the back. Those looking for the sleekest case will have to look to the aluminum hard case. As I noted in that review, however, that case is no more bulky, despite being a hard case, than any leather case. The new magnum case, even with the slots, is still sleeker than some leather cases and at 3 ounces lighter than most. Even though magnesium is lighter than aluminum, the aluminum case is still an ounce lighter because there are no SD card slots. What many of us would like to see is a magnesium case without SD slots as an option. That sucker would really be lightweight.

However, the real problem with the SD card slots is the fit. I try to keep up with the forums and I discovered that the first slots were far too loose and Innopocket had to replace a lot of cases. Now they've gone the other way, and the slots are far too tight. I had to use pliers to get my card back out the first time. I used the same pliers to wiggle the card slots around to create a little 'play' distressing the plastic inner part of the slots and now they work perfectly. The card snaps into place and with enough finger force can be pried out. Iím not sure how comfortable you are with a case mod, though it wasnít a big deal. I e-mail Innopocket and they claimed that it should loosen up with use. Iím dubious and this is my only complaint. Since Iíve taken to downloading Lost to my Treo, I really do need a dedicated SD card just for that endeavor.

The rest of the case is fantastic. The double hinge goes a long way to addressing weak hinge issues with the aluminum hard case. The fact that the flip lid can go all the way behind the case is a boon. Although you can use the phone while the Treo is in the case, when you're in a noisy environment, you'll want your ear right up next to the speaker to gain the few extra decibels and shield from extraneous noise. I have not noticed any deterioration in signal strength due to the case. As I noted in another review, a metal case can get very cold against the ear on a cold day.

One potential problem with the double hinge is this: if you have the screw in the back for the belt clip (and be sure it is tightly screwed in) the screw will touch the protective plastic screen, potentially scratching it. Using the old aluminum hard case, I managed to scratch up the plastic screen by carrying the case in my jeans pocket with keys. As some have done, I resorted to removing the plastic screen entirely and found that case to be very functional. The case is still very protective and yet I have access to the touch screen. Also the case itself may get scratched up over time.

This is a hard case with all of that implies. It will protect your Treo from more than minor scratches, dings and dents. It may well hold up during a major fall. The neoprene lining will help protect the Treo as well.

As I mentioned, all of the ports and the top switches are accessible (the top lip of the case holds the Treo in while allowing access to the SD card slot and the ringer switch (which use all of the time). This is a fantastic case at a great price.


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