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Universal Leather Case for Smartphone

Thu Jun 7, 2007 - 3:18 AM EDT - By Jay Gross


Covertec’s Universal Leather case for larger smartphones, including Treos, handles the basics of keeping your treasure from harm, while looking pretty in the process. Its leather-covered clip hugs the back of the case snugly, and though it might not look like it at first glance, it rotates, a full 360 degrees.

“Universal” it is. The case works great with any of my four Treos, including my crimson 680 with the Seidio 2400 mAh Extended Battery in it. Indeed, cases that accommodate the 680 and Extended Battery are unusual, because of the extra hump on the battery cover, and Covertec’s Universal is a good solution to that case problem. Small elastic panels built into the case’s end panels let it expand to accommodate the thicker devices – though it’s hard to imagine anything thicker than a Treo 650 or 700p.

I didn’t try the case with any of the non-Treo phones the company’s website says it fits, however. For one thing, I don’t have any of those other phones. Besides, I get the feeling the other items were marketing afterthoughts, since the case feels very much like it was designed for Treos.

Made of soft Nappa cowhide leather, the Universal case puts soft, interior felt-like cloth against the Treo you entrust to its clutches. The interior is also padded with foam, perhaps for a good “universal” fit. The extra cushion offers another layer of protection from the Gremlins in Charge of Everything Accidental.


The Universal Leather case is a cross between a holster and a pouch case. That is, the Treo doesn’t stay entirely covered in leather, so some of its ports and controls remain open for use. Which ones remain available depends on the direction the Treo faces. With its antenna – if it has one – facing outward, the phone’s bottom edge peeks out so you can hook up a wired headset. Placed in the case the other way, you could instead charge the Treo while it’s encased. I like to use it that way, because the screen faces inward, and I feel better toting it around. To put it on a cradle for charging or HotSync, you have to remove it from the case.

The subject for this review is the brown model. If you count black and white, Covertec sells this case in ten (!) colors, including luscious baby pink. Not having any babies, and not willing to share my Treos with ‘em if I did, I stuck with the brown although I’ll have to admit the raspberry is way tempting. I don’t even want to think about “baby” raspberry. The other colors in the palette are red, baby blue, orange, baby green – now that’s a concept! – and blue lagoon. The underside of the closure flap is upholstered in leather of a contrasting color, according to which color case you choose.

The clasp is both mechanical and magnetic, and seems to hold the Treo in place reliably, without requiring a two-handed effort to open when the phone rings. Indeed, it didn’t open, even during a drop. Yeah, a drop. More about that shortly.


For protection, the strong point of Covertec’s Universal Leather is its padded interior. The case’s large corner openings make it unsuitable for rainstorms, though a light sprinkle won’t matter much. Pop it in your pocket or purse when the raindrops fall, or retreat to unbrellaville.

Unfortunately and unintentionally, I conducted a drop test on this one. I’ve never been noted for fast motion. For one thing, there’s the exertion, which goes against my natural tendencies toward indolence. There are times, however, when hustle is required, and I’m up for the challenge if necessary. Crossing the street before the SUV’s mow through the intersection, hurrying to the bank teller line before a lunchtime stampede gets in line ahead of me. Or, just recently, helping my neighbors, who were leaving the country, shuffle a piece of kitchen furniture that I bought from them out of their apartment and into mine.

Cozily snapped into the case, it jostled around vigorously as I heaved and hefted, oblivious to the case and its treasure. Bending to grasp the bottom of the baker’s rack, I heard a disturbing thud. The Universal case’s clip had let go, and my Treo, still in the case, lay on the tiled concrete floor of my neighbors’ apartment. I’m delighted to report that it survived without even a smidge of damage. Whew! Says something for the durability of the Treos, as well as the effectiveness of Covertec’s leather case.


In “normal” use, I wouldn’t expect the clip to let go or jostle loose. Hooked over a belt, instead of a cloth bookbag strap, it might not give up its grip so readily. However, I recommend checking its security carefully - not by dropping the Treo! – before you trust it too far. Actually, this is probably good advice for anything clipped to your person.

The leather upholstered clip nicely hugs the back of the case, but the rotating attachment mechanism leaves a little (leather covered) extra space at the bottom, plus a small gap that can confuse the process of clipping the clip over a belt, bookbag strap, or what have you. The problem is mechanical, not aesthetic. The clip looks fine.

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