XDA II Case Review: Cases for the O2 XDA
II, iMate, MDA II and Qtek 2020 Posted August 2004 by Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief
Vaja Flip Top Leather Case
Vaja is the Mercedes of cases, offering top
quality leather, intelligent and ergonomic designs, many colors
and several customizations too. Their embossed flip top case
uses Vitelino leather and the unembossed case uses traditional
Their leather flip top custom built case
fits the XDA II like a glove, adding little bulk. The semi-gloss
leather has an attractive grain, and you can order this case
in one of nine colors (embossed) or select from five two-tone
color combinations for the unembossed case.
Once you select your case color, you can add options such
as SD card slots inside the front flap, a matching leather
lining, belt clip, extra cover cushioning and personalization
such as logoing or having your name stamped inside the case.
We received the base version of the custom case in Latte with
a soft leather interior, no SD slots and no extra cover cushioning.
This case is extremely attractive and slim,
and the front cover has a very rigid insert to provide added
protection for the screen. The XDA II is encased in leather,
with openings for the sync port (you can sync via cable but
not cradle when the XDA II is in the case), reset hole, headset
jack and mic. A cut down on the side provides easy access to
the volume slider, camera and voice recorder buttons. As you
can see from the photo on the right, the flip cover can fold
far down so you can take photos when the XDA II is in the case.
A very nice design: the lens is protected, yet you can easily
take photos when the unit is in the case. The case has a snap
What can we say? Another attractive and well designed case
from the folks at Vaja!
Top left, front of case. Top right, back of case: notice
the flap that opens low to expose the camera lens to take
Piel Frama Leather Case
Piel Frama makes top of the line cases for almost every PDA.
Their cases are stylish, classy and extremely well made. Like
Vaja, they make high end cases that add a touch of class to
any PDA or smartphone.
We received their two tone cow skin leather
case in tan and black with contrasting stitching. The case
is also available in solid tan and solid black, and they make
crocodile and ostrich cases as well. Piel Frama is one of
the few companies making a case both for the naked XDA II and
the XDA II in the CF backpack.
Piel Frama's cow skin case is made of aromatic
mid-grain leather that's supple and thick enough to be protective
while not adding much bulk. The interior leather surfaces are
very smooth and soft, and will not scratch your phone. The
case comes with a removable belt clip system.
Leather surrounds the XDA II, protecting
the sides and front bezel. There are cutouts for the sync port
(you can sync via cable but not cradle), headset jack, reset
hole and the volume/camera/voice recorder control cluster on
the left side. The leather doesn't extend far enough around
the unit to block the mic, so no mic cutout is necessary.
Inside the front flap you'll find two SD card slots, three
credit card/business card slots and a large pocket that runs
the length of the flap behind the card slots. The flap is internally
reinforced to increase screen protection. While not as rigid
as the Vaja case, it affords plenty of protection. The case
has a snap closure.
Piel Frama cases are always among our favorites, and the XDA
II case is no exception: it's beautiful, classy and keeps our
Top left: front of case finished in two-tone leather. Top
right: back of case with belt clip mount and hole for camera
PDair Aluminum Case
Looking for even more protection for that
expensive smartphone? Consider the aluminum case from PDair.
As you'd expect, the case is rigid and is great for those who
pack their XDA II into a bag with lots of hard gear, accidentally
site on their PDAs or keep it wedged in a tight pants pocket.
The case is made of scratch-resistant aircraft grade aluminum
and comes with a removable belt clip.
The case is lined with soft neoprene to add shock protection
and protect the XDA II from scratches. Inside the front cover
you'll find an SD card holder (see photo, right). PDair's case
is well-machined: it's smooth, evenly finished and has no sharp
edges. The hinge works smoothly and the tab compression closure
holds tight. Slide the XDA II into the case from the top and
the tight fit and four wrap-around metal tabs will hold it
firmly in place.
Most aluminum cases completely cover
the front face, which is fine for a PDA but awkward for a
device that doubles as a phone. You want to quickly see who's
calling and be able to make calls with the case closed. PDair
takes care of this: a small window allows you to see incoming
calls on screen, and cutouts for the speaker and lower control
cluster (call send/end buttons, d-pad and mic) mean you can
chat with the case closed.
In addition, there are holes for the camera
lens, external antenna port, reset hole, headset jack,
sync port (you can sync via cable but not cradle) and the left
side control cluster.
PDair's aluminum case is well thought out,
finely made and doesn't get in the way of using the XDA II
as a phone and PDA. The only drawback with metal cases is that
they do block RF somewhat, which means you may lose one bar
of signal strength when the unit is in the case. This shouldn't
be a problem if you live and work in areas of strong service,
but if you're in a marginal coverage area, it may be a deal
Can't decide between the elegant look and
cushioned safety of leather and aluminum's strength? Check
out Proporta's Aluminum Lined Leather PDA Case. This black
leather case sports a thick aluminum insert sewn inside the
flip cover. In fact, a cutout inside the front flip reveals
the aluminum and is engraved with "proporta.com"
so you know it's there! This protects the most delicate part
of the PDA, the screen, while encasing the rest of the unit
in soft leather.
The case is finished in tightly grained black
leather with white contrasting stitching. Unlike the Vaja and
Piel Frama cases, which wrap the sides and front bezel in leather,
the Alu-Leather case uses two 1" wide side grips that hold
the unit in the case. This means all ports are easy to get
to and you can sync via both cable and cradle when the phone
is in the case, but your XDA II won't have any side protection.
The case has a magnetic snap closure, making it easy to close
the case when on the go.
Inside the front flip you'll find two molded
SD card slots and matching finished leather. The section of
the case that touches the back of the XDA II is very soft suede
which is easy to fold down when you need to expose the camera
lens to take photos. The case comes with a removable belt clip
and a removable insert flap with a clear plastic window that's
suitable for a photo ID or similar items.
While metal cases can reduce wireless phone reception, the
Alu-Leather case covers only one face of the XDA II with aluminum.
We found it reduced signal reception about 15% compared to
25% for metal hard cases.
If you crave the look of leather but want added protection
for your XDA II's screen, the unique Proporta Alu-Leather case
is just what the doctor ordered.
Who says a nice leather case has to cost lots of money? PDair
cases are attractive, well-made and sturdy but sell for much
less than top-of-the-line cases. While their cases don't come
in myriad colors (black is their color of choice), they are
made of very good quality leather and have plenty of creature
comforts to please most folks.
PDair makes both a book (side opening) and flip top case for
the XDA II, and these are pictured on the right. Each case
is finished in fine grain black leather with suede on the inside
back where the case touches the smartphone. The inner flap
in covered in finished leather that matches the outside grain,
and each have two SD card slots and three business card slots
inside the cover.
PDair cases feature magnetic snap closures,
making it easy to close the case when on the go. The book
style case has a cutout in the back for the camera lens, while
the flip top case's cover "joint" area is extremely soft and
supple, making it easy to flip the cover back far enough to
expose the lens when taking photos.
Both cases use 1" wide leather-covered metal
grips to hold the XDA II in place, and these can be bent for
a tighter or looser fit. The cases are stitched in white inside
and out, contrasting nicely with the black leather.
Since grips rather than wrap-around leather
hold the PDA in place, the sides, bottom and top are
completely open, making it easy to get to all buttons, ports
and switches. Of course, this design doesn't afford side protection,
but it is convenient and you can sync via cable and cradle
while the XDA II is in the case.
If you're looking for a reasonably priced, attractive and
functional case for your XDA II, do check out PDair.