Proporta Alu-Leather Treo 650 Flip Case Review

June 13, 2005

imageThe kind folks at Proporta gave me the opportunity recently to look at a couple of their new cases for the Treo 650.

The first one up is their Alu-Leather Flip Case for the Treo 600/650.

The Alu-Leather is a rather odd duck of a case—it’s a leather flip case, with an inner sheet of heavy aluminum for added protection right over the display.  It’s kind of like having a bit of the protection of an aluminum case, without all of the clanking.

I’ve never been terribly fond of flip-cases for phones—I can’t see who is calling without opening it, and when I’m talking, the flip cover is usually flapping around in my way.

So, I started out a little prejudiced against this style of case, but I wanted to give it an honest try.  I’m suprised at how much I ended up liking it.

The case itself wraps the top and back of the Treo, and leaves the sides exposed (except for a leather-covered backet on each side to hold the phone), as well as the bottom (other than the strap that holds the case closed.  A leather strap comes across the bottom and fastens it shut with a magnetic latch.  The inside of the flip cover conceals an SD card holder.

The antenna and charging/message light are exposed, but the camera lens and SD card slot are not.

The leather is nice, supple and well padded, which is great feeling, but unfortunately makes the whole thing a little bit “thick” feeling when the cover is closed. This is somewhat offset by it being narrower than many cases, due to not covering the sides.

What I like about the Alu-Leather —

Even though I love my Vaja iVolution case, and I use a good screen protector, I’m always just a bit nervous dropping it into my pocket.  There are always hazards like car keys, coins, and occasionally a leatherman tool just waiting to gouge my screen.  It hasn’t happened yet, but it still makes me nervous.  I’m also concerned that I’ll bump a sharp corner with my leg and break the screen.

I have no such worries with the Alu-Leather.  The aluminum is probably not thick enough to stop a bullet (I don’t care to find out), but outside of that, not much else is going to go through the front of this case.  The way the aluminum insert is positioned, even a fairly heavy blow directly over the screen would end up distributed around the screen rather than on it.

Another little problem I have with the iVolution is that my fat fingertips have a bit of trouble with the keys right at the edge of the cover (including the number/lock key).  With the Alu-Leather cover flipped open, you’ve pretty much got a bare naked Treo at your disposal for fat-fingering.

Since the case does manage to cover the speaker, I had expected to have trouble hearing my ringer and alarms, but on the whole, the case doesn’t appear to muffle the phone much.

The case is well-made and well stitched, and feels good in the hand.  It’s easy to open one-handed, but if you close it one-handed, it is a slight trick to get the magnetic catch lined up right (it’s easy to get it “almost latched”.)

What I don’t like about the Alu-Leather…

I’m still not a fan of the flip-cover, although this one is not bad; you can snap it open quickly with one hand, and if you plan ahead a bit, you can flip the cover over entirely and latch it open with the magnetic catch.  If I had to pick a flip-cover, this one could easily be my favorite.

I’m a little nervous about the sides and bottom being exposed.  If you should happen to drop the phone on a hard surface and it landed on one of the bottom corners, you have no protection against breakage (granted, this is probably the place to break it if you have to though).

The strap running across the bottom covers the charging/sync connector, so you can’t charge the phone without unsnapping the cover.

I’m not a big picture taker, but if I was, having the lense covered might be a deal breaker.  On the other hand, having it protected might make me like it more.  You could easily slide the phone up slightly with the cover open to expose the lense.

On the whole, this is really an excellent case, particularly given the low $35 price tag.  I’m not sure I’m ready to give up the Vaja for it (although I have for nearly 10 days without much trouble), but if I was in the market for a sub-$100 case, this one would be fairly high on my list.

Proporta Alu-Leather Flip Case for Treo 600/Treo 650

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