Prima Open Face & Lateral Holster Leather Cases for Palm Treo

Reviewed by: Jack Reikel, July 2007
Manufactured by: Prima Cases
Requires: Palm Treo 600, 650, 680, 700 or 750 PDA phone
MSRP: US$19.95-$29.95 (depending on model)

The Prima Open Face & Lateral Holster Leather Cases are meant for everyday use in a variety of situations—casual, dress, business, travel. The all-leather cases are model-specific and designed to accommodate all of the external screens, buttons, switches, ports, speakers, cameras and slots found on most smartphone, PDA and PDA/phones available today. Most Prima Case models are available with either fixed or detachable belt clips for use with belts, purses and shoulder straps.

Want good chef's knives? Browse the German cutlery sites. Want good leather cases? Browse the Italian sites. At least, that's what common wisdom says. The problems these days is that there's a ton of good stuff happening elsewhere too. Of course there are other makers, many of whom are brilliant, superior and creative (although you rarely go wrong by looking to the Italians first for leather products). On the other hand, makers such a Vaja and Prima, both based in the U.S., continue to prove that finding good products which are designed domestically is just as easy as it used to be. As part of The Colemax Group, Prima Cases (started by the founders of Bellagio Cases—all in New Jersey) has the advantage of being able to draw on several decades of design and manufacturing experience in this product category. The original Palm III, IV and VII cases were all Colemax creations. CBS Sports field teams and execs also carry Colemax cases. Various Colemax divisions also produce laptop cases for HP and Dell Programs. With all this touted cred, I was certainly prepared to be very tough on both of the Prima models sent to us for review.


So how do you test a PDA, PDA/phone or smartphone case? The best way is by using it, telling people you work and meet with that you're testing and reviewing it (thereby generating demands to see, handle and comment on it), letting other people play with it and use it, and gathering consensus about the case's strengths and weaknesses. Most important of all, you have to be selfish about your needs and the ways in which you've become accustomed to using your handheld device, because a case is useless if its design forces you to access and use your handheld device in unfamiliar ways. Last, a case must stand up to the rigors of inevitable abuse including bumps, bangs, drops, soaking, pulling, tearing and abrasion. At the end of each day of use, an assessment also has to be done to determine how well the case has shielded the device it's being used to protect.

Both cases did well throughout daily usage over a period of two months. The cases are well made and should hold up for a lot longer than most people actually keep their devices. Basically, after two months both cases still looked relatively fresh, without any visible wear or weaknesses in any seams or in the belt clip and its assembly, and without any unsightly abrasions or marks. We used the cases with three different Treo models: 650, 700p and 700wx. The cases fit all three devices quite well, provided adequate protection, and permitted access to all the exterior control surfaces.

Knowing yourself and your physical habits helps determine which sort of case to purchase. Open face cases are my favorite, but there are plenty of klutzes out there who regularly bump and bang into things. An open face case leaves the device screen vulnerable to damaging impacts. If you're one of those klutzy types, choose a holster case instead.

Cons: Stay away from the Prima cases finished in chocolate brown. In my opinion it's not a pleasant color and (like the review unit) may draw some unfavorable comments. Despite a smooth and finish-friendly fibre lining throughout both cases, the interior of the lower retaining wrap on the open face model has a coarse, exposed edge and stitch which, over time, may mar the rear surface of a device. Holster cases have an opening in the bottom so that you can use a finger to push up on the handheld after opening the top flap with your thumb. But if you're sloppy with the holster case you can end up accidentally pressing buttons—a knock against holster cases in general though, not the Prima case in particular. Inserting a Treo into any holster case requires some care and a specific technique so that a bump against the head of the case doesn't accidentally release the SD storage card in the top slot of the device.

Pros: Excellent quality for the money. The belt clips are solid, usefully sized and easy to orient and use by touch alone. The open face case latches and releases effortlessly, and remains secure even while hanging from your belt during motorcycle riding and other activities (the holster case is just as secure, although a strong gust of wind during a motorcycle ride can momentarily lift the magnetic flap closure). My personal preference runs toward open face cases. Plenty of friends and associates prefer holster cases. To each his/her own obviously, but either of these Prima Case models should suit you well. Lots of color choices, especially when ordering online. Tastefully designed cases with color-matched stitching. Cleanly finished corners and seams. Designed without excessive bulk. Lightweight. Recommended.

KSN Product Rating:



© Copyright 2000-2007 All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | hot news | about us | search | store | subscribe


The latest in tech news and information Find a product review on KSN Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe