When I ordered my Treo 680 from Palm's website, I knew that I wanted to find a nice case for the device as soon as possible. I usually go ahead and order a case for my new device even before the Palm gets to me. I always carry my Palms in cases to protect them from scratches and to preserve their beauty.
I had bought a Fortte case in the past for one of my Palm PDA's, and was impressed so I figured that I'd see what kind of cases they offered for the Treo 680. After looking over their case choices for the Treo 680, I decided on the Palm Treo 680 Dual Design.
I like the way that Fortte packaged the Dual Design case. The case came in a nice, black box with the Fortte logo in gold on the lid. Inside the box, the case was hidden beneath a piece of thin, white paper that also featured the Fortte logo.
By the way, I love their logo because it's a shield with a castle inside it. This emblem makes me think of the Wolfsburg Castle logo (below left) on my 1973 VW Karman Ghia steering wheel. Anyway, I always notice how a company logo looks on a product, and many times the logo can make the product stand out. The Fortte logo has been a favorite since I first saw it.
The Palm Treo 680 Dual Design has a great design. "Dual Design" is right since the case is designed so that you can use the open faced part of the case alone or have your Treo's front covered by the convertible flip cover. The case is made of premium full grain leather and comes in a choice of Warm Red or Black, with or without a removable, low profile ratchet belt clip. Of course you can choose from a variety of other colors if you want to customize your case. I had mine customized and picked the New Tamponato Collection
Natural Vegetal Tanned leather, and for the color I chose the Renaissance Forest Green. At the time that I bought the case, I had a Graphite Treo 680, but now I have a Copper 680 (which is why you'll see both Treos pictured in the review) and I think that the green color goes well with both Treo 680's. I love the green color and the leather is so soft!
If you wish to customize your case, there is a nice variety of colors and textures to choose from. You can even pick a combination of colors if you'd like. You can select the different color collections and the embossing of your name, initials or logo. After selecting the model of your preference, the color and the clip option, then you will be guided to a special page where you will be able to change your color and, if you wish, add a logo or a name. The Fortte website makes it very clear in bold letters that "All special orders are nonreturnable and nonrefundable." The site also states, "The location of the metallic emblem or the embossed 'Fortte' on our cases may vary depending on the model and/or to accommodate the embossed logo/name."
And of course I love the little silver Fortte emblem on the front of the case! The stitching around the edges of the case and the leather overlay at the top of the case is a nice touch also. The lighter shade of green on the overlay looks good as does the lighter shade of green in the stitching.
I appreciate that the flip top comes off. I'm not too crazy about some flip covers since you usually have to fold them back to keep them out of the way when using your Treo, or you can fold them back and snap them underneath to keep them out of the way. With this case, the flip cover snaps on and off at the bottom of the back of the open case. The snap is connected to a thin strip of leather that is attached to the bottom of the flip cover. The upper portion of the flip cover narrows to a strip of leather which goes over the top of the case and snaps around back, closing the top flap. There is a third snap involved which is on the end of a strip of leather on the open case. With this snapped, the Treo is safe and snug inside the open case. Not that there's any danger of your Treo sliding out of course as the fit is snug. I like how the two strips of leather cross each other on the back of the case.
My one major gripe about the case is that when I first got it and put my Treo inside, the rigid sides that surround the top and sides of the Treo's screen were very tight. I didn't realize just how tight until I tried using the Treo. There was no response whenever I clicked the buttons or tapped on the screen with the stylus. I took the Treo out of the case and the Treo worked just fine. I put it back in the case and the problem repeated itself. I realized that the rigid leather sides on the open case were pressing against the sides of the Treo, squeezing the device hard enough to result in my Treo not functioning correctly. Ugh. Now according to Fortte's website, this case is supposed to be a "Dedicated fit for the Palm Treo 680". I've had my share of fancy leather cases over the years and most of the time, even when the company claims that the case is designed to fit your device perfectly out of the box, I've had to do some stretching and breaking in to get the correct fit. I have one case for a Palm device that is great looking but the fit is soooooo tight that you'd think that someone had hydraulically forced the Palm into the case. I think it took me like twenty minutes to even get the Palm into that case. I pray that I never have to take the Palm out of that case! With this Fortte case, it just took a few nervous moments, a little tugging on both sides of the case, and my Treo has worked perfectly in the case since. In fact, this is my favorite case so far of any case for any of my Palm devices. If not for the very tight fit in the beginning, I could actually call this the "perfect case" for me. But that tightness was really a shock since I'd never had a case so tight that it could put enough pressure on a device to disable it. I hope that I just got an extremely tight fit and that not all of the cases are that way. Thank goodness it's made of leather and I was able to tug on the sides and relieve the pressure off my Treo.
I use this case a lot. When I'm at home, I take the flip cover off and carry my Treo in the open front part of the case. Then when I go out, I just snap the flip top on and I'm ready to go. As mentioned earlier, the case comes with a removable belt clip. The post on the back of the case is low profile. I don't use the removable clip very often but it's nice having the option to do so, and the low profile post keeps the case close to my body. I don't like posts that stick out a mile and cause my Treo to bump up against everything in my path. I actually prefer cases that have the removable screw on the back that are flush with the case. I usually just put my case in a gadget bag, my purse, or I carry it in one hand and carry my mini purse in the other.
With the flip cover off or flipped up, the entire screen and keyboard are accessible. On the inside of the top flap is an SD slot and also a place to put a credit card. I put a credit card in the slot and it fit great. I never carry a credit card in there but I do occasionally carry an extra SD card in the little SD card slot.
There is easy access to the charging connectors and the headphone jack on the bottom of the Treo. I was able to put my Treo in my Seidio Inno.Dock Cradle while in the Fortte case so that's a really big plus.
The top of the Treo is easily accessible also. I just have to remember to undo the top snap and move the leather strap out of the way whenever I want to beam something to someone or have something beamed to my Treo.
Also easily accessible are the side buttons as can be seen in this photo. The voice record button isn't quite as easy to press as the volume buttons but it's not really worth complaining about.
The camera and rear speaker on the back of the Treo are both accessible as can be seen in the photo above in the "Design" section of the review. I took several pictures and had no problem. I've had cases in the past in which the cutout for the camera wasn't big enough and caused photos to have a shadow on one side.
One of the main reasons I buy a case is for the protection it provides my device. I baby all my Palms and I want them to stay in pristine condition as long as possible. I have some type of case for every Palm device I own. I'm probably borderline obssessive compulsive when it comes to fingerprint smudges and scratches on my Palms. I hardly ever even carry my Treo around the house unless it's in some kind of case. I'm so afraid that I'll trip and my Treo will go flying through the air or that I'll accidently bump the Treo against something. My cats are always curious (no big surprise there, huh?) about all my devices, and one of the cats scratched the crap out of the front of one of my cases while the Treo in case was on the bed next to me. I cringe at the thought of what would have happened to my precious screen if my Treo hadn't been inside that case! I'm sure that needle sharp claw would have gone right through my screen protector. Bad kitty!
With the flip top attached and closed, I think this case provides excellent protection for my Treo 680. The top flap is soft and puffy on the outside but is very sturdy underneath and protects the Treo's screen quite well. When the flip cover is closed, almost the entire top of the Treo is covered. The stylus is uncovered plus a small portion of the top edge of the Treo.
Without the flip cover attached, the screen is exposed, therefore vulnerable to scratches and bumps. The open case does however provide some cushioning against bumps to the sides and back of the Treo. When I'm using my Treo around the house in the open case, I usually lay the Treo face down just in case one of our three cats decides to jump up to where it's placed. Most of the time I'm sitting here at my desk though and I feel safe leaving my Treo lying face up. Besides, the cats all know that there's no room for them up here on the desk because it's cluttered with so many Palms and other objects. All they care about is getting up on my lap when I'm sitting here anyway ;-)
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