I was very happy to have the chance to try out another convertible type of case recently. This Smartphone Experts CombiFlip Case is made of premium South American leather and is made to fit the Treo 680. Smartphone Experts also offers the case for the Treo 650, 700p, 700w/wx, 755p, and the 750. I'm always on the lookout for a case that provides ample protection for my Treo while at the same time giving me access to the buttons and ports so I can readily use my Treo while in the case. Read on to see if the SPE CombiFlip Case fits that bill.
The CombiFlip case has a combination design; an open face case with a flip cover. I recently reviewed the Fortte Dual Design Case, and this CombiFlip case is almost identical to the Fortte case. In fact, the CombiFlip is a special case made by Fortte for Smartphone Experts. I'm sure the specific type of leather differs because the Fortte Dual cases are customizable. Even though the SPE CombiFlip case isn't customizable and doesn't have the same variety in colors as the Fortte Dual Design case, the SPE CombiFlip does come in five different color choices as can be seen in the first pic above. The CombiFlip comes in Black, Cocoa Brandy, Red Brandy, Saddle Brandy, and Cream Brandy.
It's very easy to put the Treo into the SPE CombiFlip Case. With the top button unsnapped, you just slide the Treo down inside the case until the Treo rests on the bottom pedestal. I found that the sides of this case didn't press against my Treo enough to hinder the response of my keyboard as I experienced with the Fortte Dual Design Case. I think that my previous experience was due to the sides just being pressed inward too far before shipping though. The sides are quite flexible even though they are rigid. Once you have your Treo encased in the CombiFlip open case, you can use your Treo normally and it will be protected on the back and sides. You certainly don't have to worry about your Treo coming out of the case because it's a nice, snug fit. Plus, you have that strip of leather snapped over the top holding your Treo inside the case. Of course if you want more protection, just clip on the flip cover and you're ready to go into more daring territories where bumps and scratches might occur.
There are some subtle differences of the Fortte Dual Design Case and the SPE CombiFlip Case. Notice that the sides of the case don't connect to the pedestal/rest on the CombiFlip case as they do on the Fortte case. You can't tell by looking at the photo but on the Fortte case, the strip of leather upon which the base of the Treo rests is a thin and flexible piece of leather that is sewn into the case. On the CombiCase, the base on which the Treo rests is a rigid but flexible wire covered with the dark brown leather.
I chose the Saddle Brandy and the Black because I think these two colors go well with my Copper Treo 680 and with other Treo 680s as well. I think that the Saddle Brandy is the prefect color for my Copper 680. The Black would go with any color Treo 680, and I think that any of the colors would go with the Arctic 680. If I had a Crimson 680, I'd probably choose the Red Brandy, and if I still had my Graphite 680, I'd go with the Black.
As with the Fortte Dual Design, the CombiFlip has the flip top that attaches to the back of the open face case. The flip cover has a sewn on narrow strip of leather with a snap on one end and the other end narrows into a strip of leather with a snap. The narrow snap end connects to the bottom of the back of the case and the upper snap connects to the back of the case at the top.
The Saddle Brandy flip cover looks very nice with the two tone color scheme. It is a brown color bordered by a darker brown, and the top part of the cover with a snap is also the darker brown color. The stitching around the edges of the case is an even lighter brown color and looks very nice as does the SPE brand on the front of the case. The premium leather is soft and of course smells sooooooo good!
The CombiFlip Case comes with a removable belt clip so you can carry the case on your side or attach it to a hand bag, laptop bag, or gadget bag. The belt clip swivels 360 degrees so if the case bumps up against something, the clip will enable the case to swivel all the way around.
The SPE CombiFlip Case is a pleasure to use. I like having the option to remove the flip cover and carry the case open while I'm at home. I really don't need the protection of the flip cover while I'm working here at home. It's much easier to talk on the Treo without the flip cover on because I don't have to worry about the cover hanging down or having to flip the cover up underneath the case and snap it there.
Without the flip cover, the keyboard is fully accessible and this case doesn't have one of those built-in clear, plastic screencovers. I love the screen being open the way it is. It's much easier to tap on the screen with my stylus or finger that way. The LED indicator light is visible through a small cutout in the case. The ear speaker is exposed also.
The side buttons are easily accessible and there is a plastic, see-through window over the buttons. The plastic cover keeps dust out and clicking the buttons through the plastic is no problem at all. On the top of the Treo, the ringer switch is accessible as is the IR port and the stylus.
The Treo rests on the rigid wire pedestal on the bottom of the case. The multi-connector, headphone jack, and microphone are all easily accessible on the bottom. Although you can't put the Treo in case on a cradle, you can easily charge and sync the Treo via a USB cable or charge your Treo with a power cord.
There is a cutout for the camera and portrait mirror on the back of the case. Also accessible is the rear speaker via two rows of small holes cutout in the leather.
And of course we have the belt clip post on the back of the case. I wish the case came with an option without the belt clip post. I don't carry cases with belt clips and I always like having the option of a case without any belt clip post. The post is a hard plastic and it is connected to a rectangular piece of leather that is sewn onto the back of the case. I appreciate this extra support for the belt clip post. My husband carries his Treo 650 in a leather flip case. His case doesn't have an extra support for the belt clip post. The leather material surrounding the post on his case is stretched and sags. This causes the Treo in case to hang loosely, and his case has come unclipped several times resulting in the 650 crashing to the ground. So far, the Treo 650 hasn't suffered any damage but I fear that it will in time unless my husband starts using a different case. I gave him a new case that is very sturdy but he won't use it because the flip cover is harder to snap shut. Oh well, at least I tried. But with the SPE CombiFlip Case, I feel confident that there won't be any sagging or looseness of the material around the belt clip post. Hmmm, maybe I'll get my husband a CombiFlip case for his Treo 650. ;-)
The inside of the flip cover has a place to store an extra SD card and also a place to carry a credit card or business card. These are very nice features. The fit isn't too tight like it is with some cutouts in other cases. And you don't want it too loose either as the cards might slip out. I'm always carrying an extra memory card and I often carry a credit card.
Well, protection for me is what a case is all about. I can't stand the thought of getting scratches on my beautiful Treo. I want all sides of my Treo protected, especially the precious and delicate screen. Of course no matter what kind of case I use, I always have a screen protector on my Treo's screen. The case and screen protector are the first two accessories I buy for every Palm device.
With the SPE CombiFlip Case, my Treo is protected on the back and most of both sides while in the open part of the case alone. With the flip cover on, the entire front of the Treo is protected. The flip cover is rigid but the outside is soft and puffy. The screen is protected very well by the flip cover. As mentioned earlier, the side buttons are covered by a see-through piece of clear plastic.
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