REVIEW: NEW Custom Fortte Leather STiL for 8700
Product: Custom Fortte STiL for 8700 in Old Fashioned Chocolate Leather with Custom Fixed Belt Clip
Price: $48.99 ($32.99 + $16.00 for custom color)
Fortte, Fortte, Fortte - will this company ever cease to amaze me? Probably not. They have proven time and time again that they will stop at nothing to satisfy their customers. From customized case giveaway contests to creating entire new case designs based on customer input. Case in point (excuse the pun...), ragin cajun asked for a special strap to be added to the pouch style case to prevent his BB from falling out, and they made him one that worked so well they added it to their regular lineup of cases. (The snap closure is actually a small button snap instead of a magnet type of snap closure, which in this situation is even better because it is much stronger. This snap won't pop open unless you want it to.) (read about it here)
I personally liked that style so much that I decided to get one for myself, with a couple special features of my own. After using, testing and reviewing so many cases over the past weeks I have determined what my ideal carry solution would be. I took that info to Fortte and they created my perfect case. Perfect for me is first of all a pouch case. I dislike flip style cases and cabrio style cases because I don't like having leather and/or plastic against my face and ear when using the phone. I definitely need protection of the device and this caused me some concern about using pouch cases - until I found the InvisibleSHIELD skins. These things are awesome! (InvisibleSHIELD review here) So now that I have full body skin protection I feel more comfortable using the pouch cases. Not to mention the fact that I just prefer using the BB in it's raw form instead of while wrapped in a case, but that's just me.
Next I needed a clear opening for the speaker to avoid muffling ringtones while in the case. Done. Then came the issue of a pouch case allowing the device to fall out at certain times. Thanks to our friendly neighborhood ragin cajun, that problem is solved. Of course I needed a properly working sleeper magnet - Fortte has never had issues with that, to my knowledge, so check that off the list as well. Then I told them I really have this pet peeve against anything gold - no problem, they used a silver logo shield instead (matches nicely with the speaker grill).
All that was left to determine was my choice of belt clip and the color. For color I saw that not only did Fortte have color choices, they had TONS of color choices. Much more than any other case manufacturer I have seen. I actually had difficulty choosing one! With a little constructive help from Monica at Fortte, I settled on the Old Fashioned Chocolate, and man am I happy with it! It is just what I was looking for - a look that can be worn when dressed for work or meetings in a suit, and just as easily worn with jeans or golfing on the weekends. It's perfect.
So that leaves the belt clip dilemma. Fortte again has several options to choose from, no surprise there, and I have previously reviewed a couple of their options so I have some familiarity with them. Again, through use of several cases over several weeks I have concluded that for me, the fixed clip is the wat to go. At first I loved the ratchet clip idea, but after using several of them I realized that I NEVER ratchet it anywhere except for the horizontal position, parallel with my belt. In fact, the ratchet clips would get pushed around from time to time getting in and out of cars, movie seats, etc., so it was actually more annoying than anything. Swivel clips are certainly worse than ratchet clips at moving around too much, so that was out. I have used the Heavy Duty clip before and liked it, but I prefer a tighter feel on my belt, and the fixed clip offers that extra grip. But like I just said, I always wear my cases parallel with my belt, when possible, because I like to quick-draw the BB out of the case and have it facing me ready for use in an instant. So I made a special request to Fortte, and they once again came through. I aksed them to use a fixed clip wrapped in the same leather, but to place it sideways on the back, so I can wear it horizontally. No problem.
So as you can see, Fortte has designed the absolute perfect case for me. Not only did they not even twitch at any of my requests, they almost jumped at them. Ever have that feeling where you think to yourself "man, if I was running a company like this I would jump through hoops to satisfy my customers. They would just love my products." Well this is exactly what they do. Simply put, Fortte makes the best custom leather cases on the market.
UPDATE: I just realized that there is an added benefit to this setup. The case is so slim, and the fixed clip is so low profile that it allows me to pocket this case with no problem!
SECOND UPDATE: When I originally ordered this case I was using the Seidio skins daily. So I asked Fortte to give me some more room for the skin in the case, and they did by adding small elastic pieces to the sides to fit the BB and the Seidio skin together. So those of you looking for the ultimate protection, use the Seidio skins AND a custom sized Fortte case.
Click to enlarge:
To see the other two STiL cases I have recently received, go here.
ATTENTION: New discount from Fortte!
Online Coupon: Emboss your name for FREE with the purchase of a case from a special color collection. Use this code: BBF63F
Rating: I give this case an easy 5 out of 5 Berries.
Conclusion: Perfection. Exactly what I wanted - could not be happier.
Pros: Total customization, several color choices, several belt clip choices, no speaker muffling, safety strap on top with button snap closure, customized fixed belt clip, Seidio skinned BB fits as well, etc., etc., etc.
Cons: None. Sure, it costs a pretty penny, but we all know by now - you get what you pay for.
I can agree with this situation personally also. I ordered my first case from them almost 2 months ago and the case was built perfectly to my 2 requests: 1) built in screen protection; 2) a case I can keep the BB in and have access to at the same time. Here's my story.
I have a Krusell Body Glove type case that I bought for my 7100t and it became cumbersome to use it as the power button, keypad, screen, and escape key were all covered by plastic. This should have been a red flag for me but I was desperate for something that would prevent drops because the BB slips out of my hand while using it. After a few months of use, I realized this wasn't for me and used my BB naked until I joined the online BlackBerry Forums.
I upgrade to the 7105t. Tried the Krusell case again thinking it would work better. Had the above mentioned problems again, said "screw it", put the 7100t back in that case, left the 7105t naked, and started shopping again. I got ideas on cases I would like until I saw Fortte's Open Face Case (on eaccess.com and fortte.com). It had everything I wanted access-wise, but the eaccess.com case does not feature personalization so that eliminated that. Found out fortte.com does.
After researching the case, reading reviews and getting users' input, I ordered the case personalized in black. A few hours later, I saw an 8700c case with a screen protector, and said "Oh crap! I need a way to protect the screen but I didn't see a case for my phone with one." Thanks to Salo, who saw my post, asked me to PM him my order number. 3 weeks later, I had my case.
I get the case which has been working like a charm, then see an extended battery/door kit I wanted. Contacted Salo AGAIN and rcg from SmartPhoneDepot.com (where I saw the kit) to be sure the kit and case were compatible. Got the kit a week after the order and after a little physical battle (and emails and PMs to Salo and RCG) to get the phone and battery in, as well as figuring out the belt clip since I decided to try one again, it has stretched the case enough to accomodate this addition perfectly. I now keep my 7105t in this case and use it daily.
What other case company would go out of their way to do this? No one but Fortte. Thanks to everyone there. I may be ordering a second case soon.
UPDATE: I just did LOL This time I'm getting a personalized Old Fashion Chocolate Open Face Case, swivel clip and screen protector.
I really like my Fortte case. Im glad they added my design to their list. Seattle I hope you like the case as much as I do. Mine gets mucho use. Yesterday while I was covered in oil my BB stayed clean. Great design.
This may be the perfect case. Glad it worked out so well. I'm still ga-ga over my Seidio holster but I want to get a leather case eventually. This - with the horizontal clip - looks perfect.
I wonder: would it still feel secure if you had that horizontal clip design without the leather latch?
From experience the BB will slide out of the case without the strap holding it in.
That is one great looking case. I love the leather color.
Thanks rajin cajun and Seattle18 for clearing that up about the strap. On the plus it must be relatively easy to get the 8700 in and out of the case.
Seattle18, I may order the same unit as yours right down to the clip and colour. But I'll wait on the new shield to be just a little different.
Sorry guys, I'm just not digging it. The standard case that came with my 8700v is nicer than any third party case I've seen. For me RIM got it right with the device extras on this one!
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I think my only issue is the USB port being obstructed... I leave mine in it's case for charging and just about everything else and don't want to have to take it out... UNless there is slide room that i'm not seeing?
Is that elastic I see on the sides? (I thought the STiL is all leather.)
Very small amount of elastic on each side, just to provide a snug fit. Keep in mind that all-leather will eventually give a little, and maybe too much for your taste, so elastic works better. The amount is so small that it is really unnoticeable. The leather from the front wraps over the sides about 75% and the elastic makes up the remaining portion.
Yes the elastic really helps. My case is a snug now as when I recieved it. As for a OEM case being better, I guess its all preference. I can say that what this case has over OEM is the cutout for the speaker. I get no muffled rings.
Thanks for the explanation, gentlemen. Makes sense.
Strange that on their site they say: "This case without elastic on the sides is recommended for the regular slim battery". With the strap for security, they may have discovered that having the elastic is better.
Just about ready to order a new custom case - seattle18 - I *really like* that chocolate brown - but I'm torn on whether to order the strap or not. I prefer to wear the case vertical, and I really like the ability to grab my berry out with one hand.
Opinions on how secure it would be, given the elastic sides? Is the strap easy to un-do with one hand and slide out?
Yep, go with the strap. You will find that you need it in the future if you dont get in now. Like Seattle said, its very easy to get used to the strap. One handed operation with a little practice. I have a new idea in mind that Im talking over with Fortte. Hopefully we can find a solution.
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