Review by Mike Barrett
One of the most useful accessories for your PDA is a case to protect it. For the 3x00 and 5x00 series iPAQs the supplied protection sleeve was barely adequate, well it protected the screen and control buttons I suppose, but there wasn't a hint of style in it at all. This is where Covertec come in with a large range of cases for PDAs, SmartPhones and the Apple iPod. This review features the iPAQ 2210 leather case which retails at £30.98 or €44.90.
Covertec operate globally with offices in Europe, America, and Asia. They have been producing cases since 1995, and have a mission to
"offer cases and accessories that are perfectly suited to each new device".
Not only do Covertec produce a range of cases, but they also brand their products for corporate clients, of design and manufacture cases to your individual requirements.
The cases are created in leather and tailored to fit your PDA or SmartPhone. You have a choice of three colours: Red, Black or Tan. I choose red. The cases have storage for 2 SD cards and also 2 credit cards though this may vary depending on the case you select. The case is secured by a magnetic catch. The case has cutouts to allow you to access parts of your PDA without having to remove it. Probably the most important addition is an amazing belt clip, more of which later.
The Case in Detail
Where to start? Well despite having an iPAQ 2210 and an iPAQ 5450 I thought that I would see how good Covertec were in their claim to produce high quality cases for the new mobile devices. That meant that I had to have one for the iPAQ 2210.
As the 2210 is a fairly recent PDA I expected to either have delivery delays, or the case would not be refined and properly fitted. I am glad to say that neither was the case (no pun intended). I placed my order on Friday 12th September and had a response informing me it would be sent next week. It turned up on the Tuesday, having been dispatched from France.
Did it fit? Well at first it was a very tight fit, but over the weeks like shoes the leather has stretched a little so that the PDA is now a perfect fit.
The same is true of the pockets again initially they were a little tight, but with use they gave a little and now my SD cards are held firmly for whenever I need to swap them over. No more searching through pockets or in the bottom of my bag: they are there where I need them.
I am not too sure about putting my credit cards in the slots provided, sure they fit perfectly but if someone steals my PDA they get my life, if my credit cards are there as well...
The case is made of leather. Mine is two tone with read on the outside and a light beige inside. The stitching is perfect. I looked over the case very carefully and the craftsmanship is superb there is not a single joint that was out, all the stitching is perfectly even, and there are no loose threads to be seen.
The PDA itself slips into a harness which exposes the buttons and also allows you to plug either a serial cable or the charging adapter into the bottom of the iPAQ. Again my case allowed access to the controls but did not obscure the screen at all.
At the top left of the case there is a cutout which allows the use of headphones. This means you can be wired for sound without having to have the case open.
The speaker for the iPAQ 2210 is located at the rear of the PDA. There are nine holes cut into the leather of the case at just the right place to allow the sound to pass through.
For the 2210 case the SD card holder is positioned so that when you open the case they are just above the fold. As you can see Covertec have very thoughtfully added 2 semi-circular cut-outs which enable you to push the card up far enough to remove it with ease. At the same time there is no way that the cards are going to slip out when the case is turned upside down.
The case shuts and stays closed using a magnetic catch. At first I was a little dubious of this as the catch did not seem to close too well. After using it for a day or so I realised that the base plate was covered with a bit of plastic to protect it from scratching prior to use. Having removed the plastic film the case now shuts perfectly and remains closed.
One of the nice little touches about the case is the embossed logo. It just adds that little bit of class to the whole package.
The Belt Clip
As with all good things I have left the best to last. I have always had concerns about hanging things on my belt for a number of reasons, but primarily because I am concerned about theft; and I am not convinced that they would stay there.
Well obviously you cannot do too much about the risk of theft, though this is just an advert saying I have something to take here. That aside this clip is the best I have seen so far.
The clip comes in two parts: the belt clip itself and a separate button for the case.
The case is thoughtfully supplied with a small screwdriver meaning you need no additional tools to put it all together. The button simply screws onto the case an protrudes about 7mm or 1/4 inch, it has a groove all round the edge which is what secures it to the clip.
The clip itself is made to fit belts up to 35mm just under 1 3/4 inches. It snaps over the belt and requires separating to actually remove it. When the case is placed in the clip it locks onto the button.
Well there is only a single main issue with the case and that is the accessibility of the reset button. The PDA is a Windows device after all and needs rebooting on occasion. The problem is that there is no cutout or hole to access this important button, you have to remove the PDA hit the button and then replace it in the case.
A more minor issue was the access of the command buttons. With the surrounding leather the buttons have now become slightly recessed. It was not a problem for me, but I could see people with slightly larger fingers having minor problems.
Since I started using this case my PDA has only ever been out of it when it is docked or in the Brodit holder in the car. It is streets (make that light years) ahead of the case supplied with the iPAQ 2210.
There are just two things I would change about this: a cutout to allow the PDA to be soft-booted; and the replacement of the credit holders with a CF card holder.
My only real regret is that they don't make a similar case for my Ericsson T610, then I could have matching cases on each hip.
Other than that I find this case extremely difficult to fault. And at £30.98 or €44.90 it wont break the bank either. With christmas coming up it might be worth wile dropping a few hints here and there.