MobileTechReview.com PDA, Notebook and Phone Reviews and buyers guide
Phone Notebooks & Tablets Gaming Gadgets iPhone & iPad Shop Discussion

 


Advertisement


Dell Axim X50 and X50v Case Review Roundup: Proporta Aluminum Lined Leather, Piel Frama Leather, Sena Leather, Bellagio Design, Covertec Leather, and Innopocket Magnesium

Review by Andrew D. Goldstein (xdalaw)

Sena Tan Leather Case

The Sena is a leather flip case. The case sells for about $44.00 (not including shipping and tax, if applicable.) The case can be purchased with a belt clip for a few dollars more. Sena also offers a similar case which can accommodate the extended battery. The price puts this case in the middle on the price scale for the cases reviewed here.

First impression: This is a "case-style" case. My last Sena case was Red and Black. It was bold and took some getting used to. I did, and I grew to love the case-color and all! This time, however, I opted for a more conservative tan colored case. For those daring users, the Sena color cases are still available for this model.

Like my last Sena, this is another beautiful case, which I think will eventually become my "go-to" case. While not perfect, it's deceptively effective-and damn good!

Design comments and features

While the leather is fine quality, it is not as soft or luxurious as the Piel Frama or the Proporta. It is smooth, polished, and very well designed and manufactured. For me, the most important feature of this case is that you can use it while syncing in the cradle, and Sena didn't need to create some elaborate Rube Goldberg contraption to make it work.

Simple and slim, this leather flip-case easily fits inside of a suit-jacket pocket. It's also very light-weight. The stitching and cut is precise, and the case is clearly well designed and manufactured.

The leather in this case felt a little slippery at first. I seem to remember my last Sena feeling softer. But, it has softened up a bit with time and use. It now rests confidently in my hand.

The front and back covers are not padded, but the case feels firm and offers the Axim some protection. The only gripe I have is minor. In order to use the case in the sync cradle, Sena decided to cut the corners (literally) of the bottom of the case, and to use a thin piece of un-reinforced leather along the bottom of the case. This leather piece is not too thin, but it is thin. The corner cut-outs, of course, provide no protection to that part of the Axim.

This simple design seems cleaner and more sensible than the more complicated Bellagio approach. It works, and it works well. The price you pay is that the Axim can't be fully covered like it can in the Piel Frama. To me, it's a price worth paying.

The cover is secured by magnetic force. The front cover is held down with a couple of small, round magnets, stitched into the case, between layers of leather. Some may prefer the security of a snap-closure to a magnetic-closure for a PDA case. I used to be one of those people.

But, my last Sena case went a long way towards changing my thinking. The Sena lid stays closed unless solid pressure is applied. While I still wouldn't throw my X50v in a bag with a bunch of other stuff and expect it to remain protected, for "safe" carrying in a chest or jacket pocket, your X50 will be fine.

And, the convenience of actually being able to "flip" a flip case is awesome. This may not help with my driving, but it has come in handy when I'm in the car.

In addition, another nice feature with the magnetic closure is that you can completely close the lid on the Axim while it is connected to a charge or sync cable, locking out dust and better protecting your screen. With snap closures, the "tab" gets in the way when charging/syncing so you can't close the lid completely.

The flip cover has a pocket for a few business cards or for a couple of credit cards. There are also slots for two SD cards. Despite those slots, I was a little skeptical before I tried them, since the case is designed to be slim and light. However, the case can actually handle a couple of credit cards and SD cards pretty easily.

The Axim fits great inside of the case. The Sena design exposes the entire screen and the buttons on the front of the X50, but it also incorporates a thin leather strip between the two areas, to help to secure the PDA inside the case. The leather on the top of the screen is a little shorter than the PDA's length, to fully expose the power button, the microphone, and the Bluetooth and Wifi light.

The case has accurate cut-outs to allow access to the left-side buttons, and to the reset button. Sena designers chose to cut a notch at the top for the headphone jack. The notch allows you to open and close the lid while the headphones are plugged into the jack. This can come in handy.

The result of this design is that you really don't need to take the Axim out of the case, except perhaps to change the battery. Not bad.

As noted above, because this is a flip case, any accessory sticking out of the CF or SD card slots must be removed before closing the lid to the case.

Final thoughts & Rating: If you want a beautiful, thin, leather case for your X50, and you just want to put it on and forget about it, this might be the case for you.

Quality: 9.0. Nice leather and perfect cut-outs.
Functionality: 9.0. Slim design with optional belt-clip. Not the most protection, but
perfect for daily use in relatively safe environments.
Style: 9.0. Simple and sharp.
Value: 8.0. Not the cheapest, but a top-quality leather case, at a reasonable price.
My "Gut": 9.0. Great case. Not perfect, but if I could only have just one-this is it.

Web site: www.senacases.com

Price: $44

 

 

 

Sena case for Dell Axim X50

 

back view

 

case open

 

Bellagio Designs Black Leather Case

The Bellagio is a leather flip case. The case sells for about $39.00 (not including shipping and tax, if applicable.) The case is available with a removable belt clip. The price puts this case in the middle on the price scale for the cases reviewed here.

First impression: This is a black leather "holster-style" case. While this is a good quality case, I just don't care for the design. After thinking about it for some time I realized why I felt this way.

The case reminds me a bit of one of those faux-luxury car-kits, where a fancy and sleek body is welded onto a Volkswagen engine. The closer I look at the case, the more I feel like the first-rate exterior leather shell is covering up for a second-rate PDA holder.

Design comments and features

The Bellagio case is an interesting creation. While it has elements which are reminiscent of some other cases, the creators at Bellagio Designs seemed to build their case around the idea of being able to use the case while syncing in the cradle. I think Bellagio may have even been the first fine leather case company to figure out how to accomplish this task. But, as with most high technology products, others continued to work at it too, and have come up with other (and better) solutions.

The exterior materials are superb. The Italian leather shell is sturdy, smooth and soft. The stitching is clean and simple. When the case is closed, and you're looking at the front, it is sharply styled and looks good with the metallic grey/silver Bellagio badge.

The front cover is thickly padded and it feels reinforced, while the back cover is quite firm and strong. However, the front of the case is so thick, that I needed to pull the cover down to snap the case closed. It certainly didn't flip closed like the Sena case.

The interior materials are not superb. The leather inside the case feels too thin, the nylon and stitching have a "machine-crafting" look and the cutout for the button-lock switch on the left side of the Axim seems a little too small and uncentered.

To permit syncing in the cradle, the back of the case has a "trap-door" that flips up so that the bottom of the X50 can be placed in the cradle. Even more of the Axim's bottom is exposed than on the Sena, with it's thin leather and corner cut-outs.

The cover is secured by a magnetic snap tab. This is similar to the Proporta and to the Covertec case. but unlike those, the tab snaps on the back of the case like the Piel Frama. The flip cover also has a pocket for a few business cards or for a credit card. There are also slots for two SD cards.

Bellagio added another unusual design feature in this case. They decided to reinforce the leather around the sides and top of the screen by stitching a thin bar into the leather. The bar feels very solid, and is about the thickness of a ballpoint pen refill cartridge. Bellagio may have done this to prevent the inside cover from pressing directly against the screen. This makes sense if you have a credit or SD card in the lid's pockets. The downside to this is that it adds unnecessary thickness to a case that's already a little pudgy.

The Axim is a little tough to get into or out of the case. The fit is very snug. In fact, Bellagio has a page on their web site which explains how to get the Axim out of the case. That seems a little unnecessary if the designers had come up with a better system.

The case has cut-outs to allow access to the reset button and the headphone jack. The headphone jack cutout is a circular hole like the Piel Frama , only a little smaller. The same limitations apply.

As noted above, because this is a flip case, any accessory sticking out of the CF or SD card slots must be removed before closing the lid to the case.

Final thoughts & Rating: This case would probably fare better if it wasn't being compared and assessed in view of the other cases in this batch. They just "outclass" this one for me. Aside from my gripes with the attachment system, this is a good leather flip case. If you choose to get it, be prepared to lug a pretty thick package.

Quality: 7.5. Fine exterior materials and manufacturing. Lesser inside quality.
Functionality: 7.5. Ability to sync in cradle is helpful to many who want to leave their
Axim in its case.
Style: 8.0. Good looking, classically styled case..
Value: 7.0. Not the cheapest, but a good-quality leather case, at a decent price.
My "Gut": 7.5. A very unique case. But, I think it's a little too thick, and the interior design is just a step behind the competition for my own taste.

Web site: www.bellagiodesigns.com

Price: $39

 

 

Bellagio Axim X50 leather case

 

back of case

Axim X50v case open

Covertec Brown Luxury Leather Case

The Covertec is leather flip case. The case sells for about $37.00 (not including shipping and tax, if applicable.) The case comes with a sturdy removable belt clip. The price puts this case in the middle on the price scale for the cases reviewed here.

First impression: This is another "holster-style" leather flip case. But, I think this one is unique among the batch, in that it feels and looks sturdy and secure, despite the basic exposed design.

I had never owned a Covertec before. I hadn't intentionally avoided buying one, in fact, I always was very intrigued with these cases, but it just seemed that I'd always bought a different case.

I wasn't disappointed when I got to try one out. The leather is thick but polished, and the cut and stitching are excellent. The securing slot holds the Axim tightly, but is not too tight that it's hard to take it out if you need to.

Design comments and features

The Covertec case is my favorite of the "holster-style" cases. The leather is sturdy, high-quality, and attractive. While less than half of the PDA is secured in the case, it feels safe and unlikely to slip out. Even when I dangled it upside down as a test, it didn't budge. (And, I'm pleased with that, since I couldn't afford to buy another X50v if it didn't hold.) Since I've only used the case for a short period of time, I don't know if the leather will stretch and loosen too much over time, but since the leather is thick, I think it should wear well.

While this case doesn't offer the most protection (due to its exposed design), the parts that are covered are well-protected. The flip-cover is leather-lined, and it ably protects the screen when it's closed. The cover holds two SD cards in nice recessed slots, and has two pockets for a couple of credit cards.

The only drawback to such a sturdy flip-cover is that it's a little thick. This means that the case is a little thick, too. It still fits into an inside suit jacket pocket, but it is a tad bulky.

The flip-cover is secured by Covertec's magnetic snap, which is easy to open, but holds closed pretty securely when not pushed too hard. I'm not so sure that the snap wouldn't open if it was tossed into a bag or purse (similar to the Proporta, the Sena, and the Bellagio), but if you plan on putting this in a suit coat or similarly protected place, it will be fine.

The case allows easy access to the d-pad, the four primary application buttons, and to the exposed buttons on the left-hand side of the device. In addition, you are able to easily access the headphone jack which is accessible through a cut-out corner on the top of the case.

Covertec neglected to cut a hole in the back of the case to allow access to the soft-reset button. To me, this is a really annoying design flaw. I don't want to have to take my PPC out of my case every time I need to access that button. And, since it would seem to be such a simple feature to add, I'm not sure why they didn't.

The Covertec comes with a solid plastic removable belt clip, a screwdriver, and the necessary hardware to attach it. That's not a bad way to hold the case if you like belt clips. I don't, but this one seems solid and well designed. I wouldn't hesitate to use it. And, the metal mount on the back of the case does not add much size or weight to the case if you choose not to use it.

Finally, you can't fit the Axim in its cradle when it's in the Covertec case. You can, however, charge or sync it in the case, if you are using an appropriate cable.

As noted above, because this is a flip case, any accessory sticking out of the CF or SD card slots must be removed before closing the lid to the case.

Final thoughts & Rating: If you want a leather "holster-style" case, this would be my choice. Fine quality and construction make this an excellent case.

Quality: 8.0. Fine materials and quality manufacturing.
Functionality: 8.0. Solid and comfortable in your hand. No soft reset hole a
bummer.
Style: 8.5. Good looking, handsome styled case..
Value: 8.0. Not the cheapest, but a top-quality leather case, at a reasonable price.
My "Gut": 8.0. A really fine case. It's a little too thick, and it's a little too exposed
for my taste, but for a "holster-style" case, it's my choice.

Web site: www.covertec.com

Price: $37


 

Covertec Dell Axim X50v PDA case

back of case

Above: Back of case and belt clip kit

case open

Innopocket Magnesium Case

The Innopocket is a black magnesium flip case. The case sells for about $37.00 (not including shipping and tax, if applicable.) The case comes with a removable belt clip. The price puts this case in the middle on the price scale for the cases reviewed here.

First impression: This is a really great "case-style" flip case. But, this one is very different than all the others in this review. It is sleek, sturdy, and very cool. If Darth Vader had a case for his PPC on the Death Star, it'd be this one.

I've used a few aluminum hard-cases before to protect my PPCs. In fact, I've always bought one for the weekend. They're perfect for those busy days when you might not be quite as careful as you should be with your Axim. For me, that means throwing it on the car seat, in a backpack or pouch, or carrying it in a jacket pocket while playing with my dog and daughter or while doing errands. Each or these situations could wind up killing your PDA if you're not careful.

Design comments and features

The Innopocket case is well-designed and made. I heard that the first batch of these cases had some quality problems with chipping paint and ill-fitting lids in the first few weeks. However, my understanding is that those problems are history now. In fact, I understand that Innopocket has been very aggressive and helpful in refining their design and in replacing any defective cases promptly and happily. Fortunately for me, I didn't even have to test them, since mine appears to be one of the updated designs.

So, why magnesium? Isn't aluminum perfect for this type of case? Well, if aluminum is "perfect" for this type of case, magnesium might be "even-more-perfect."

Innopocket says magnesium is 37% lighter weight than aluminum. And, for the X50/X50v, the black color is really a perfect match in terms of style. (I think this case is sold by another manufacturer in grey/silver, but for me that wasn't even a consideration.)

In terms of overall design, the case is magnificent. My old aluminum cases seemed a bit boxy, dull, or industrial. Not this one! Perhaps it's a macho, guy-thing, but I don't think so.

Sleek and well shaped to beautifully shadow the Axim's lines, and engineered with accurate cutouts for all of the buttons on the side, back and bottom of the PPC. The Axim is snugly encased with the help of a neoprene liner. Unfortunately, the case cannot fit in the cradle, so you'll need to charge it with a sync/charge cable. If you sync with Bluetooth or wifi, you won't mind that. If you use the cradle, it's not too difficult to remove from the case.

In addition to the material and the style, the Innopocket is unique for a metal case because it's a flip-case. Usually, metal cases seem to be book-style, which can make holding them for extended periods of time uncomfortable, and which can be awkward for those "lefties" among us. The flip lid has a double-hinge, which allows it to flip completely out of the way and behind the PPC. That was what I used to love about an old Visor Deluxe cover I once used, and I always missed that feature. The cover holds a single SD card, but there is no credit card or ID slot.

This case is not particularly bulky, but it is solid. And, it does feel a little heavy, but for my purposes-i.e., protecting the X50v from my carelessness-it's perfect!

The case allows access to the d-pad, the four primary application buttons, and to the exposed buttons on the left-hand side of the device, although the button-lock-button was a little tricky to reach, since it was recessed so much due to the thickness of the case. There is a hole for accessing the soft-reset button on the back, as well.

In addition, you are able to easily access the headphone jack which is accessible since the double-hinge doesn't cover the entire top of the PPC. Innopocket also cut holes for the microphone and to see the BT/Wifi light when the case is closed. Finally, the stylus is easily accessed thanks to a nifty cut-out on the upper-back of the case. All of the other cases pretty much ignored the fact that most of us do need to pull-out the stylus once in while.

As noted above, because this is a flip case, any accessory sticking out of the CF or SD card slots must be removed before closing the lid to the case.

Final thoughts & Rating: If you want maximum protection with a case as cool as your X50, this is it. Impressive engineering and manufacturing, along with excellent customer service make the Innopocket Magnesium a safe choice.

Quality: 9.0. Fine materials and quality manufacturing.
Functionality: 8.5. Great protection and fit. Not fitting in the cradle is a flaw, but an
acceptable one everything else it provides.
Style: 9.0. Good looking, tough, sleek case..
Value: 8.0. A reasonable price for protecting your Axim in style.
My "Gut": 8.5. My new weekend-case. No worries, mate!

Web site: www.innopocket.com

Price: $37

 

 

innopocket magnesium case for Dell Axim X50

 

 

case open

 

Comparison Table of Reviewed Cases

NAME

RETAIL PRICE

QUALITY

FUNCTIONALITY

STYLE

VALUE

MY "GUT"

PROPORTA

$33

8

7.5

8.5

7.5

8

PIEL FRAMA

$54

9.5

8.5

9

6

9

SENA

$44

9

9

9

8

9

BELLAGIO

$39

7.5

7.5

8

7

7.5

COVERTEC

$37

8

8

8.5

8

8

INNOPOCKET
$37
9
8.5
9
8
8.5

 

The End

 

 

Back to MobileTechReview.com Home Questions? Comments? Post them in our Discussion Forum!