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Old 01-18-2006, 04:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Blackberry 8700c Tuff-As-Nuts "Nutshell" case reviewed

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Nutshell

Hands on review by lgreenberg.
January 18th, 2006

For starters if after reading this review you feel I've missed anything please let my know and I'll chime in.

The Nutshell is a leather case made by Tuff-As-Nuts in various sizes to hold many personal electronics. Tuff-As-Nuts is a New Zealand based company. I recently ordered one for my Blackberry 8700c. The Nutshell series 201 is a universal Blackberry case meant for the following models: 8700, 7510, 7520, 7290 and 7250. The case comes in five colors (Black, Tan Brown, Chocolate Brown, Crocodile Black and Crocodile Brown.) The case also allows for a few customization options when ordering. You can opt for a belt clip, belt loop or nothing at all. You can choose a pouch style, a full flap closure or a tab top. You can choose a front pocket to be added or not. And finally you can have an inlay added behind the leather.

Pouch style........



Tab top..........



Full flap..........



Belt clip........



Inlay.................



Color choices..........



I personally ordered the case with a full flap closure, belt clip, no pocket, no inlay in chocolate brown. The leather is superb. It's very stiff and smells great. There is white stitching around the edges holding the case together. The belt clip on the case is very rigid. It's easy to slip on to a belt but rest assured it's not going to come off unless you want it off. The belt clip does not swivel or ratchet. Those with "love handles" might find this a pain, myself included. However, because it's not a swivel clip it remains very slim and low profile on the hip.

The closure method, although done via Velcro is very secure. There is a small patch of female Velcro on the case and a very large patch of male Velcro on the flap. This makes it next to impossible for the Velcro to become dislodged unless you pull it apart.

As this case is meant for the Blackberry I'm happy to report it does have the magnet inside and the Blackberry goes into holster mode when placed inside the case in either orientation (screen in or out.) They enclose a warning card letting you know it would not be smart to place any credit cards inside the case due to the magnet inside.



The dimensions of the case are: 4.33" x 3" x 11/16". Those concerned about the "universal" tag of the case and the fit of the 8700c need not worry. The fit is great. I have Egrips installed on my 8700c and my device slides in and out of the Nutshell rather easily, although it seems to fit better screen in.

An important feature of this case is the "guarantee." Any Tuff-as-nuts product comes with a full three year warranty. If anything should happen to the case that would be considered a manufacturer's defect Tuff-as-nuts will replace the case free of charge.



Here are some images of my personal case..........











Will this case replace my current Fortte vertical case? I'm not sure. It certainly seems like a worthy case. I need to use it a bit before deciding. I have a second Fortte case (brown vertical) on the way as well.

Price: Starts at $54.95 and varies with options added. As reviewed $74.95

Pros: High quality leather, tons of protection, sleeper magnet, several customizable options, doesn't stick out far on belt.

Cons: Expensive, no swivel belt clip, Velcro closure, some might consider the lengthy shipping to the U.S. (my case took two weeks to arrive.)
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice review. I have ordered from them in the past and am very impressed by their quality. I am going to order one for my 7130e, as soon as they figure out a size question for me. I like the "close to the hip" look. Nice color and looks good with jeans. I will probably opt for the open pouch. A question though - since you load the BB in face first, as I do, and since there cant be a cutout for the speaker, can you hear the ringer well?

BTW - you used to be in the Treo Central forum. Did you give up the Treo and move to BB? You also moderate the Verizon group over on the Howard forum - but VZW doesn't offer the 8700? You are one busy camper. I do enjoy your straightforward answers on all topics.
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review. I think the cases look nice except for that cheesey-looking red/orange "Levi" tag or label on the side. Can it be removed?
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmyk001
Nice review. I have ordered from them in the past and am very impressed by their quality. I am going to order one for my 7130e, as soon as they figure out a size question for me. I like the "close to the hip" look. Nice color and looks good with jeans. I will probably opt for the open pouch. A question though - since you load the BB in face first, as I do, and since there cant be a cutout for the speaker, can you hear the ringer well?

BTW - you used to be in the Treo Central forum. Did you give up the Treo and move to BB? You also moderate the Verizon group over on the Howard forum - but VZW doesn't offer the 8700? You are one busy camper. I do enjoy your straightforward answers on all topics.
Good point....

I meant to test the vibration and ringer but forgot.

I just tested it out and am surprised to say vibration is just as strong as with the OEM holster or my Fortte vertical pouch.

Ringer volume seems un-effected as well.

Niether should be a concern.

P.S. Yes, I'm a moderator at Treo Central. I still own a Treo 650. I'm a super-moderator at Howard Forums too. ;) Yeah, I'm a little stressed for time.
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MobileAGBell
Thanks for the review. I think the cases look nice except for that cheesey-looking red/orange "Levi" tag or label on the side. Can it be removed?
I don't see any way to remove it. It appears to be sewn in or held in by the white stitching which also holds the case together.



If that bothers you, you may also be bothered by the fact that they've branded their logo and web address on the back of the case.

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Old 01-18-2006, 05:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've had the Nutshell cases from NZ for a very, very long time, since the very first iPaqs hit the scene.

I love the build quality of the cases, and they have continuously improved upon the basic design.

I like the fact that you can "custom" create one with/without the velcro flap. I was able to order one a few years back for my BB 6280 that was just a drop-in pouch.

The ONLY problem is that the leather is SO rugged, it was nearly impossible for me to insert my 6280 into the pouch. By the time I wedged it in the case, it had already pressed a few keys before the magnet engaged. Come to think of it, at the time, it may not have come with a magnet so I think I glued a flat one in...

I suppose I should have been more patient and let the leather "break-in". When the case comes in that discreet plain-brown envelope, it's as flat as a pancake. Maybe if the Nutshell folks could make it pre-molded somewhat from the factory, it would be great...

edit: holy moly lgreenberg! You're as big of a case-monger as I am! I've got drawers full of orphaned, barely used cases... I bet you do, too!
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've also been using Nutshell cases for a long time and know what you are talking about in regards to the difficulty in inserting devices into them. I can remember simply not using my Treo 600 Nutshell case because it was too hard to put it in and take it out.

I want to make it perfectly clear. This case DOES NOT have the same problem. I'm not sure if it's because it's a "universal" Blackberry case and the size and shape of the 8700c lends itself to this design or what. I even have Egrips on my 8700c which usually make it hard to place devices in the case and take them out. My 8700c goes into this Nutshell nicely and comes out with little effort. That's not to say it's going to fall out on its own either. It's a great fit.

Edit - Yes I am Andy. I've had the 8700c for about a month or so and have purchased no less than 7 cases for it already. ;)
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Old 02-17-2006, 12:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgreenberg
...I even have Egrips on my 8700c which usually make it hard to place devices in the case and take them out. My 8700c goes into this Nutshell nicely and comes out with little effort.
How would the fit be without the Egrips?
I too love my Nutshell cases for previous devices, but want to make sure that this one is worth the money without having to add magnets or Egrips.

Did you have to make a special request for the magnet, or does it come 'standard' on the cases for BB?
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Old 02-17-2006, 02:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The tap top looks nice. It's an expensive case so I will have to debate if I want to spend that much on a case. I may just wait for the OEM cases from RIM. I heard they should be released within 2 weeks.
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Old 02-17-2006, 03:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shea
How would the fit be without the Egrips?
I too love my Nutshell cases for previous devices, but want to make sure that this one is worth the money without having to add magnets or Egrips.

Did you have to make a special request for the magnet, or does it come 'standard' on the cases for BB?
I can't say enough good things about this case. I have the pouch style without a belt loop, and when I first got it I did not have egrips on my 8700, and the BB fits just fine in the case. I have since added egrips, and the fit is no different. The egrip adds only about 1 mm in depth on the back of the 8700.

Yes, there is a magnet in the nutshell case, and it puts the BB to sleep. The leather on this case is great. I also had a Fortte case which I just sold. My preference is for the nutshell. It's really a matter of personal preference, but I prefer the nutshell.

I would like to try the Sena case, but I want to see if the issues reported here get resolved (top piece of leather obscures the top of the screen).
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Old 02-17-2006, 03:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shea
How would the fit be without the Egrips?
I too love my Nutshell cases for previous devices, but want to make sure that this one is worth the money without having to add magnets or Egrips.

Did you have to make a special request for the magnet, or does it come 'standard' on the cases for BB?
I guess the fit would be slightly looser without Egrips on.

As stated above the magnet comes standard.
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Old 02-17-2006, 04:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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While the magnet comes "standard" let me share my experience with the Nutshell cases.

I ordered four cases from them:
brown pouch with belt clip and tab top
black pouch with belt clip and tab top
brown pouch with belt loop and tab top
black pouch with belt loop and tab top

While each of them have a magnet, the magnets are not all in the same place, one case does not provide the sleep function at all, none of them work with the 8700 face in, one works only when I hold the case in my hand but not when on my belt, the belt clip is crooked on one case, one case had the magnet sticking out on one side and has nearly worn off the letter 'S' on the space bar before I realized what happened, etc.

I, too, love the leather and the style but am disappointed in the quality. I have been in contact with Nutshell and they are looking at making a change to the design of their 8700-style pouches, both the belt clip and belt loop models. And they plan to replace my pouches.

For those using this site for guidance on cases like I did, I now realize there was little information about actually using and wearing the pouches and cases in everyday use. I became caught up in the "...they make great stuff...I've had this manufacturer's product before..." etc. While I have no doubt that Nutshell will make good on my four cases, I've learned a lesson.

I will provide an update once I receive my replacement Nutshell cases.
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Old 02-17-2006, 05:06 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm sorry you're having problems with your Nutshell cases. I'm glas Tuff-As-Nuts is working with you to solve the issues.

I experiences none of the issues you've described while using my one Nutshell 8700c case. Everything about it seemed to worked fine.

Nothing's perfect I guess. The recently released Sena 8700c case seems to have at least one buyer who had issues with it as well.
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Old 02-19-2006, 12:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Yesterday I received in the mail two of my replacement pouches (the black one with the belt clip and the black one with the belt loop, both with tab top). Both of the pouches appear to be freshly made and are perfect in look and feel. No problems with the inside of the pouches, stitching is perfect and the leather is fabulous. The craftsmanship on both of the pouches is superb. The leather seems a bit more pliable than my previous pouches and my extended battery-equipped 8700c fits a bit snug but fine. I don't know the type of leather they use but I love the feel and the look.

I have not had time to test both for wearability and magnet functionality but I will provide another update later in the week.

One thing I forgot to mention. Both replacement pouches were sent to me via air mail. And for those that have previously ordered from Nutshell know this is not an inexpensive option. My sincere thanks to Nutshell for the extra effort in resolving my issues.
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Old 02-19-2006, 01:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MobileAGBell
I don't know the type of leather they use but I love the feel and the look.
From the Tuff-As-Nuts web site...........

"Only the finest calf-skin is selected to cover a Nutshell.
This hide is designed to polish and age with use. Our dye processes and finishes mean the leather needs little more than a wipe with a clean damp cloth. If your leather case is subject to severe conditions, after wiping clean apply any light oil or wax, such as that used to clean wooden furnishings. This will nourish and enrich the natural oils and fat-liquors of the leather."
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Old 02-19-2006, 01:47 PM   #16 (permalink)
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You can also make special requests. They are making a couple of leather sleeves for me for when I carry the case in my pocket. A buddy of mine did not like the stitching on his Razr case and they sent him a new case with a different color stitching. Maureen is the CS rep with Nutshell and she is always very accomodating.
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Old 03-06-2006, 11:36 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Well I must say-for the past couple of years I have been looking at these cases for all of my various devices. I took the plunge and ordered one for my 8700c and it arrived today-I ordered brown croc as a pouch with the metal belt clip. It is perfect. It has to be the most beautiful case I have seen and will continue to order these cases in the future-Definitely worth the money.

It will fit in my pocket quite well I think for those times I do not want to wear it on my belt. If you wanted a pure pocket pouch-just order without the clip.

Another observation-some people seem to want a way to carry in their pocket-While waiting on this case, I simply removed the clip from the stock holster that came with it (dremel) and lined the inside with a spare PDA screen cover to prevent scratches (I also have patronus screen cover on screen). This is the most low profile way to store in your pocket in my opinion.
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:21 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Nutshell thanks, and discount offer

Hi all...many thanks for the positive comments made here about our products.
We really do try to get it right, although sometimes we manage to get it wrong.
However, mostly we get it right.

To show how much we value your business, and your input to our quality control, I offer customers to tuff-as-nuts.com a 5% discount on our products.

Should you choose to purchase a Nutshell, please quote coupon "tuff01" to receive your five percent discount.

Again...many thanks for all your support.
PS: Maureen really loves you guys
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:19 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I wonder if the offer is still good?
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Old 05-15-2006, 09:01 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I got 10 percent discount use code "tuff02"

yeah!
sorry.... the case is for a PPC-6700


Did not like the bb 7250, but i might be force to use it for its push email. and I have a treo 650 on the way.

Igreenberg thanks for that great nutshell review. The pics were the deciding factor, thanks again. I actually requested orange stitching with the black leather (belt loop, velcro tab will see about the noise it makes). with standard shipping.

Oh my god.... 60 dollars for 2nd day shipping!
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