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Speck SkinTight case for 700p and 700w

Mon Jun 26, 2006 - 4:21 PM EDT - By Xious Sonenberg


A few months ago we put Speck's Toughskin for the Treo 650 under the spotlight to see how it ticked. Now that the 700 series has a firm foothold in the Treo community, let's take a gander at their new offering for the 700w and 700p. Since the w and p are physically identical, this case fits and works with either.

Like all Speck products that I've seen, the new SkinTight for either Treo 700 comes in the adult-proof Indestruct-o™ packaging that stores like Best Buy love. Once you torch open the container, you'll find the case and a plastic belt clip to use with it.

The SkinTight comes in either black with a smoke colored clip or clear on clear. Either clip has a cutout in its cup for your Treo's multi-connector, so you can HotSync with your 700 secured on your belt if you want to.

I recommend the black case over the clear, as many posters in TreoCentral's forums have noted that their clear case yellows over time from exposure to UV light. So, if you opt for a clear case, don't take it to a tanning salon and get some sunscreen for those hot desert days.


Reshaped, redesigned and rehabilitated, Speck SkinTight looks strikingly different from its older cousin - a reduced footprint, less aggressive, with somewhat less protection.

Speck chiseled the fat bumpers off the sides in this new design, leaving only three triangular bumps on the left and right rear sides. The Kraton material (the rubbery polymer that the Speck case is made of) has apparently gone on a diet too, and feels somewhat thinner than it's predecessor, which is most evident around the ringer switch.

It doesn't feel as protective as the earlier model, but still feels quite solid and rugged, though I don't have a dozen Treo 700s at my disposal like Consumer Reports so I didn't smash mine with a hammer to test it.

These design changes mean that it slides in and out of pockets easier — even your front shirt pocket — though it does still have the nasty habit of inverting your pants pockets and dumping their contents because it's so incredibly grippy against fabric.

Inversions are for airplanes on stamps, not compartments in clothing, so they still need to work on this.

On the flip side, the grippy material means it won't slide off your car seat when you have to stomp on the brakes during rush hour. This doesn't do anything for the hot coffee in your lap, but it's nice to know that your Treo won't go flying into the hidden underworld of potato chips and pennies under your car seats. But the case still attracts dust and lint like a magnet, so if you're obsessive compulsive about how your gear looks, you might want to keep some dust wipes handy.

Other notable changes include the screen-protecting window's clasp, which is broader and encompasses part of the Kraton material, keeping it tightly closed so it doesn't pop open at those inconvenient times while taking the kids to Wally-World.

The section of the case that overlays a 700's control buttons has been reshaped, and now it aligns with them better, though the grilles for the earpiece and rear speaker are still rounded and don't have the same “cubist” style of the 700s' new casework.

In fact, it looks as if Speck took the opposite approach that Palm did with styling: Instead of making their case design more Big-Brother 1984-ish, they opted for more curves and contours than their 650 case had, ostensibly clashing with Palm's scheme to make the new Treos look more business-like. But these Speck cases are designed for rough and tumble, heavy-duty protection, not as dainty accessories for fashion models.

The included belt clip is very bulky and doesn't do its job very well. Within minutes of attaching my Treo 700p wearing its SkinTight, the clip lost its grip and my Treo went tumbling down. Figuring out the proper orientation is also tricky, as the clip's cup design doesn't fit very well and as you can see from the photo, the cup at the bottom makes using the keyboard's bottom row of keys impossible unless you take the Treo out of the clip.

Still, the skin looks striking and slick, and quite different than your run-of-the-mill silicone skins. At roughly twice the price of those, it should.

On the down side, the guys in the lab still haven't figured out that Palm built an IR port and SD slot into the Treos, and cutouts for both of these are mysteriously missing.

Thankfully, Speck's new generation case glides off a Treo easier, and with far less stretching and fighting required than their model for the 650, which is good as you'll be taking it off a lot when you want to change SD cards or do any beaming.

Case designers usually go out of their way to make everything accessible through tight-fitting cases. Why Speck still designs a case that totally covers the SD slot and IR window is mysterious.

After months of use, my 650's Speck case stretched out just enough from having to yank it off and wrestle it back on like a leather coat in San Francisco's Summer that its hinged plastic screen window eventually fell off on its own and vanished somewhere into the seat cushions at my favorite café, never to be seen again.

Speck sells extra windows for just such a situation, though I should hope that it wouldn't happen to the new skin as quickly.

They did include a cut-out for the multi-connector, and even while in this heavy duty case, my 700p fits snugly and soundly in Seidio's INNODock Cradle. There are also cutouts for the stylus, so you don't have to de-skin your Treo every time you want to pen something on the screen, and for the ringer switch, the camera, and a teeny-weeny one for the LED that doesn't blink on Sprint's network.

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Product Info
> Name Speck SkinTight case
> Company Speck Products
> Treo Models 700w, 700p
> Fact Sheet & User Opinions
> Available
> $34.95

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