|Mon May 1, 2006 - 5:04 PM EDT - By Xious Sonenberg|
There is a mind-boggling number of Treo cases of all kinds, made of more materials in more shapes, sizes and prices than you can imagine, from simple elastic-y polymer skin cases, metal cases, leather cases, even water-proof cases that let you make and take calls while scuba diving or lounging in a pool.
But what if you don't want an actual case; something which you can't shed quickly, and would prefer to have your Treo naked when in use?
This poses a slight problem, as you don't want to just drop a $500 phone into your pocket to get dinged and scratched against coins and keys like spoons on a Brillo pad, nor do you want to keep it just laying around where anyone can make big eyes at it and snatch it away when you aren't looking.
This is where holsters and pouch cases are both practical and economical. Most pouch style cases clip on your belt, or on the side of your purse so you can access them at a moment's notice, and some of them even have other personal mounting options, be they belt loops, lanyard straps and other little fastening doodads.
In this article we'll describe a cadre of different pouch cases to give you a better lay of the land on how this style works and why they might be the kind of case you'd like to add to your arsenal of Treo protection.
First up, the Lateral Pouch, $39.95 from Sena Cases. This one probably comes in the widest variety of color combos, for the fashion-conscious who wants to choose something that best matches their wardrobe. In both solid and two-tone designs, the Sena has high aesthetic appeal, and you can, if you wish, buy multiple styles for different occasions.
The Sena is fairly sturdy, composed of high-grade leather with a springy one-piece belt clip on its back. The clip is tight, giving just enough resistance to snugly slip over a belt or over the side lip of a handbag.
You can choose from a wide variety of dazzling colors, including: black, red, tan, black & red, or black & blue. Talk about choices!
I like it in black with blue highlights. To me, this color combo is very attractive for the business professional as it goes well with most suits and still implements a subtle sense of flair.
Inside you'll notice the pouch is lined with a protective layer of what feels like soft felt, and your Treo guides in smoothly, with minimal effort. I found the fit a little tight, but not so much as to be disconcerting, and it'll probably loosen up a bit over time, as most such cases do. Over it flips a two-inch wide flap of leather, held very securely in place with two invisible disc magnets hidden under the leather.
The flap closes with a solid �clack�, and opens with a slight lift, providing tactile feedback that lets you know that it won't open until you want it to.
The major flaw is that there is a inch and a half wide slot on the bottom of the case which looks like it's there just for style, which means that part of your Treo is totally uncovered and left open to the elements.
Style over substance? I would rather have full protection than a simple styling note any day.
Next, here's Covertec's Leather Premium Case, $34.95. The Covertec has to be the most visually stunning holster I've ever seen. It comes in your choice of black, vibrant red, or a natural tan. All are constructed of very soft, matte finish leather, and if leather is your thing, they smell wonderful. I opted for the red one, as it best matches my wardrobe, and I didn't think the tan color had as much eye-appeal.
After showing it to some women, I would say that from a feminine perspective, this would be an obvious choice as its design meshes well with almost any purse. It is classy and sleek with simple curves and an overall balanced aspect that gives it stunning show-off appeal.
This, like the Sena has a spring clip on its back with about the same amount of tension. Unlike its competitor, it uses a snazzy matte steel snap style closure, shaped like a Life Savers candy. The ring snaps soundly over a steel pin with a gentle �click�. It is not as stiff to open as the Sena, but is secure nonetheless.
The Covertec is lined partly in a felt-like substance, leaving about half an inch at the back of the case showing tan, smooth leather. Unfortunately the curvaceous design leaves about 1/4th of your Treo completely exposed to the elements on each side. In my opinion, this is not satisfactory, as the purpose of a case is to protect your device. The Covertec case does not do this as well as it could, though it does provide a place to stash your Treo that should get a lot of admiring glances from onlookers.
Next in line is Krusell's Horizontic Platinum, $49.95. If you are looking for maximum protection and maximum configuration options, this case is for you. While it may be lacking in the art department, Krusell's offering still has some visual appeal. It is a much more conservative design and comes only in black patent leather. The material is much stiffer and harder than the first two cases we've covered, and thus is a much sturdier shell to keep your Treo safe.
The interior of this case is lined simply in smooth leather, which means you can quickly whip your phone out to answer a call. Its snap closure is on the backside of a flap that covers the full length of the case; not just a two inch strap.
Where the Krusell really shines is the way you wear it. Included in the box is a plastic clip, which you can lock into place over a slot in the back of the case. This clip is not just a bar of metal like the others, but rather a truly spring ratcheting mechanism that you squeeze to open or close. It doesn't just slide over a belt; it clips around it so it can't fall off if you bend over to pick up a nickel off the street.
If you don't want to go this route, Krusell still has you covered. This case also has two leather belt loops built in the back, and a slot to clip on a strap or lanyard.
Like the last two, it also has an opening at the bottom, which is about two inches wide, but unlike any other case it has openings cut in the sides for your Treo's docking connector.
But the Krusell wasn't originally designed for the Treo, so the cutouts don't line up perfectly, and you can't connect a full sync cable to a 650 or 700 while in the case. You can, however, wiggle in a charging cord and power up your battery without sliding your phone out of the case at all.
For this reason, and because of how many ways you can wear it I think the Krusell is vastly superior to the former two cases, and I hope they release a version with cutouts for the newer generation of Treos soon.
Next, a different style of pouch: the Nutshell Holster, $54.95. This 'lil rustler is a very durable product that clips on your belt and holds your Treo in a quick draw position like a cowboy's pistol.
With the Nutshell, your Treo just slips in or out of the case, which hangs vertically off your hip. About half an inch of the top of your phone peeks out from the top of the holster, its antenna pointing skyward, so you have something to grab when drawing it out from your side. Alternatively, you could slide your Treo into it upside down, so its ports side sticks up. This is ideal for jacking in headphones for music listening, unless you get your Treo modded with a 3.5mm jack on the antenna, but kiss your warranty goodbye if you go that route.
The Nutshell's materials appear to be a very rugged, tough composite. Their warranty confirms this, providing the most amusing and comedic description of why the case won't break that you will ever read; it covers almost any sort of possible abuse you can dream of, such as being trampled by live cattle or plowing over it with a '56 Plymouth.
Other than its durability, the Nutshell is pretty plain-Jane, and has no markings except a small tag with its name. The inside is lined with a fabric material, while the outside is a textured vinyl-feeling substance. And like Henry Ford's Model T, it comes in any color you want, as long it's black.
The Nutshell has a spring clip like most of its competition, and also has a triangular metal ring to attach a lanyard, strap, or your SD card key ring.
Lastly, lets look at one of TreoCentral's house brand cases: the Smartphone Experts P6 Pouch Case. This bestseller is solidly constructed of slick and soft black vinyl with a fabric material liner that makes it fast and easy to stash your phone and draw it back out again.
The clip on this baby is a another one-piece number, but unlike the Sena's or Covertec's, it's big and beefy - much larger than the other two and as sturdy as good �ol Wyatt Earp.
The P6 only comes in black, and features a magnetic flap that covers most of the length of the case. The magnets are concealed under the material, much like Sena's and are very strong. Them suckers aren't coming undone until you want them to.
Very little of your Treo is left exposed - mostly the antenna and the back corner, leaving the headset jack free and clear to use while your phone is secured.
Where this case really shines is value: the P6 retails for $19.95 making it perfect for those of you on a tight budget, or for your Treo owning buddy's next birthday.
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