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Old 05-24-2006, 11:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default REVIEW: Custom Leather Cases for Motorola RAZR Phones

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I have been asked by more than a few members to review some RAZR cases since many of them have significant others or children with those phones and wanted to know of a good case to get them. So I got three of the top brands - Fortte, Vaja, and Piel Frama - for review purposes.

Product: Piel Frama Black Leather Croc Skin with Removeable Ratchet Belt Clip
Price: 70 Euros ($89.28 USD - shipping included)
URL: www.pielframa.com

Review:
This is a very nice Croc skin lookalike leather case. It has a removeable ratchet belt clip, hole cutouts for the speaker on back, and a mesh covering over the earpiece holes. The front screen has a cutout as well as the camera lens, and all side buttons are exposed when in the case. The mini USB port is covered when closed, so you have to either leave it open or take it out to charge it. The antenna portion at the bottom of the phone is also protected.

When opened, the phone will either slide down from the top a bit or up from the bottom a bit, partially exposing either of those sections of the phone. This is because the case is one solid piece of leather, and when folded needs extra length to remain fully over the body. So when it is opened that leather does not retract or bend, causing it to extend straight and it is longer than the phone is when open.

When closed there is about a quarter of an inch gap between the screen and keypad of the phone, causing it to be a little thicker than normal. The removeable belt clip is nice (only one of the three tested with that feature), and it works well, ratcheting in 45 degree stops. When the belt clip stud is removed there is a small plastic tab (3 included) to fill the hole so it keeps a smooth low profile.

Click to enlarge:




Rating: I give this case 4 out of 5 Berries.




Conclusion: Well made and designed, but I would have liked it to close a little more completely, and they need to address the one piece of leather design to allow for better coverage when opened. Also, the USB port should be accessible when closed for easier charging.

Pros: Well constructed, nice leather choices, openings for camera and front screen, protected antenna portion, removeable ratchet belt clip system.

Cons: Does not close very tightly, when open the phone slips out a bit, USB port covered when closed, expensive.



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Product: Vaja iVolution Leather Suit in Caterina Steel Grey with Ultra Belt Clip system
Price: $59.00
URL: www.vajacases.com

Review:
This is one of the well known Vaja iVolution cases. It is a sturdy grey leather, with stiff side parts to attach to the phone, requiring no slide in of the top or bottom pieces of the phone. All buttons, the USB port, the front screen and the camera lens are all exposed, both when open and closed. The case also allows you to fully close it since there are no leather wrapped portions of the phone. This gives it a slimmer profile.

The belt clip is what they call the Ultra Clip. It has a metal stud on the back of the case and a plastic belt clip. The stud has squared off pieces on top and bottom that require you to tilt the phone on its side to put it in or remove the phone from the clip. Here is their photo and description of the system.

This case exposes the antennae portion of the phone at the bottom, allowing it to be scratched if hit directly on it. The front earpiece and speakerphone are both covered with metal mesh, and the inside earpiece is fully exposed. The side buttons are a little difficult to use easily, but not impossible. The side grip pieces on the case get in the way a little.

The design of this case allows it to open and close with no slippage, due to the use of softer leather over the hinged portion. When opened, this section of leather folds a little, allowing the rest of the case to stay in place. It works very well.

Click to enlarge:





Rating: I give this case 5 out of 5 Berries.




Conclusion: This is very well made of sturdy leather, and allows full open and closed use with no slippage. Though the antenna is exposed, the rest of the features make up for it, especially since the USB is accessible when closed. It is also availabel with no belt clip, a standard belt clip or the Rivet belt clip system, which I prefer.

Pros: Wide array of color choices and clip choices, strong leather makes it feel very protected, USB port not blocked when closed, fully closes with no leather interference, unique folding leather design on hinge prevents slipping.

Cons: Exposed antenna, expensive, buttons a little difficult to use.



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Product: Fortte Red Leather with Swivel Belt Clip
Price: $29.99
URL: www.fortte.com

Review:
This is another very well made case, in soft red leather. It has all the buttons accessible, and easily used, while open or closed. The screen on front, the camer and all earpieces and speakers have holes cut out to prevent any sound muffling. The antenna portion is also covered, but by doing this the USB port is covered as well. But the leather is soft enough to make it very easy to slip out just the bottom portion while closed for charging.

Fortte uses a unique elastic and leather system on the back to allow the case to remain fully covered at all times, and have no excess folded leather or slipping pieces of the phone when opened or closed. When closed the elastic within the pouch on the back stretches to allow the case to smoothly close, and when opened it retracs back into the pouch keeping the leather tight enough to not fold or bunch up anywhere - very nice. You cannot see the elastic at any time - either open or closed - only the nice leather.

This one came with the swivel clip option, and it is available without it if you prefer. It is a standard type plastic clip with a metal stud on the back of the case, and it works well.

Click to enlarge:




Rating: I give this case 5 out of 5 Berries.




Conclusion: Very well made, and the leather is nice. I like this folding system best out of the three tested since it keeps a smooth leather appearance with no bunching or folding or phone slipping at all. It's also easy to access all the buttons except for the USB port, but that's an easy maneuver as well.

Pros: Total customization, several color choices, several belt clip choices, no speaker muffling, unique elastic system on back, inexpensive, antenna protected, fully closes.

Cons: USB port covered.
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow I get to flame a Super Moderator!:

But what does this have to do with Blackberries???
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Like I mentioned at the beginning of the review - it makes BlackBerry owners' spouses feel loved and not left out. Who knows, it may even allow members to get expensive cases when they otherwise would not be able to! "If you let me get that Vaja/Fortte/Piel Frama case I want so bad, honey, I'll hook your RAZR up too!"
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Defended with aplomb, Sir!
Nice to see that Fortte are on their game as always.
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Old 05-24-2006, 11:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I plan on getting a Fortte Vertical Pouch case for my dad's Razr for Father's Day. Nice review.
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