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September 17, 2004

Piel Frama Case Review

Posted by Mark Mitford (editor) on September 17, 2004 03:43 PM in Pocket PC , Reviews .

Piel Frama leather case for dell axim X30 with extended battery

For our business trips and vacations we needed a case that would fit our Dell Axim X30 pocket pc with the Mugen extended battery attached.

After looking around we found the Piel Frama leather case designed specifically for the X30 with extended battery.

Piel Frama also offer a wide range of cases for other pocket pcs and gadgets in cowhide, crocodile, and ostrich, and prices average around $50 and up.

How did it perform on our recent gadget testing roadtrip? keep reading to find out......

First Impressions:

piel frama case for dell axim packaging

The Piel Frama case ships in a very professional looking box.

piel frama case for dell axim packaging

Inside the box there is more packing material that creates a strong impression of quality.

piel frama case for dell axim accessories

A little bag of accessories is included to allow you to remove the belt clip fastener if desired.

piel frama case for dell axim open

The Piel Frama case itself comes shipped with card to keep the main body in the correct shape and to protect the 3 credit/business card sleeves, large rear pocket, and the 2 SD card slots.

piel frama case for dell axim colors

The cowskin version of the Piel Frama case for Axim is available in 3 colors: black, tan, and a combination of black and tan.

With the Axim X30:

piel frama case for dell axim

The Dell Axim X30 with extended battery slides easily into the case with the extended battery attached. It is also easy to remove from the case, I found it best to just push up from the bottom through the hole for the charger/connector.

I wouldn't recommend using the case with just a regular battery in your Axim: the Axim still fits the case easily but it is loose and it could slide out accidentally.

Note the solid high quality stitching around the various holes in the case.

On the front of the case you can see the cutout for the power button and 2 holes for the 2 side buttons. The cursor pad and 4 main buttons are easily accessible and you can use the Axim inside the case without any discomfort.

piel frama case for dell axim

Looking at the top of the case you can see the hole for the Wi-Fi antenna.

Even with the case closed the Wi-Fi antenna is unprotected but that is a flaw of all the axim cases we are testing.

piel frama case for dell axim

The bottom of the case only has one hole: for the charger/connector. You cant charge using the cradle with the case on the axim but you can use the basic charging cable.

The case closes using a flap and fastener that covers the charging slot. This is a plus in that it provides extra protection for the bottom of the pocket pc but a minus in that you can't charge the battery with the case closed.

piel frama case for dell axim

The left side of the case has a cutout for the jog dial and earphones socket.

This side view also shows the padding included in both the lid and the rear of the case to provide extra protection.

piel frama case for dell axim

The right side of the case has no cutouts and with the lid closed the stylus is protected from falling out accidentally.

piel frama case for dell axim

The back of the case has a cutout for the reset button and a larger cutout with mesh covering for the speaker.

Belt Clip:

The photo of the back of the case shows the connector for the belt clip.

piel frama case for dell axim with clip

The clip itself slides on easily from any angle, and fixes securely to a belt up to 1 inch wide.

Removing the belt clip is also easy, just push on the top of the clip and slide it off.

piel frama case for dell axim without clip

One nice feature of this case is if you don't want to use the belt clip (or just use it very occasionally) you can completely remove the connector for the clip: a tool is provided or you can use a screwdriver (I found it easier to use a screwdriver) and 3 blanks are provided to fill and hide the hole where the connector used to be.

Testing:

We took the Piel Frama leather case and our Axim X30 to Mexico on a 10 day trip that unexpectedly included an encounter with Hurricane Ivan.

Whenever it was in the case our Axim Pocket PC felt secure and the case never got in the way of our using the Pocket PC.

A lot of the time we kept the case and Axim inside a Roadwired Pod gadget bag: it fitted the bag perfectly.

The only problem we encountered is that the lid of our case seemed a little too big and can slide side to side even when the lid is closed.

After a few weeks of heavy use the case is still as solid as the day it came out of the box and the leather is feeling even softer.

Conclusions:

If you use your Axim X30 with an extended battery then this is the case for you. It is strong and well made, looks good, and allows you to use your Axim without taking it out of the case.

Each Piel Frama case is hand made, and for the quality you get I think the price is great. If you are spending anything from $200 to $600 on a Pocket PC don't skimp and go for a $10 case.

Pros:

Well-made and strong
Can use the Pocket PC without removing the case
Can remove belt clip connector completely
Professional packaging
Price

Cons:

Cannot charge with a cable unless you open the case
Cannot charge with a dock unless you remove the case

Overall Rating: 8/10


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