While most Pocket PCs and Smartphones are delivered with a case, these original cases are mostly pretty basic - made of artificial leather or plastic and also the functions of these cases are basic.
So it might be a good idea to watch out for an alternative case for your Pocket PC - either because you want something nicer which better fits to your style or you want something more usable.
Spanish Piel Frama recently released its long awaited genuine leather case and they was nice enough to send me its black cow skin leather case for a review on PPCW.Net. This case fits with every HTC Himalaya - doesn't matter if it is the O2 xda II, T-Mobile MDA II, i-Mate Phone Edition or Qtek 2020.
Piel Frama made its first steps in manufacturing leather covers for mobile phones in 1984. Nowadays, Piel Frama is seen as a very prestigious company by the entire PDAs and phones industries, offering the finest quality products that exist in the market.
Like every Piel Frama case, also the new xda II case comes in a nice wrapping, which makes it a nice gif (maybe for Christmas) also. It includes the leather case itself, a button which closes the hole on the backside which holds the knob which can be used to wear the case on your belt with the included belt clip.
The overall impression of the case is pretty good. It looks like genuine leather, feels like genuine leather and smells like genuine leather. Also the quality is a great one as it is solid sewed.
If you put your device into the case the first time, you will notice how perfect it was designed to hold the Himalaya. It holds it strong enough but not to tough
and allows you to access all buttons - doesn't matter if the buttons on the side (like camera or volume slider) or the main buttons on the front side of the device:
Unlike the original xda II case the Piel Frama cover opens to the top (like most PDA cases do):
The Piel Frama cover gives you more possibilities to store your SD cards, credit cards or name cards. Unlike the original xda II case, which includes 2 SD card slots and a money pocket only but no Credit Card slots, the Piel Frama case has 2 SD card slots, a money pocket and 3 Credit Card slots (top row the original xda II case, below the Piel Frama Xda II case):
Even if the original xda II case was designed for the Himalaya, the Piel Frama case fits nice and is also sleeker and not that bulky. Also the Piel Frama case looks and feels more stable and the cover isn't that soft which gives me the feeling that it protects the screen better if you wear it in a pocket or carry it in your luggage (left/bottom the Piel Frama case, right/top the original case):
A little bit different are the ways how the camera hole on the backside of the cases are designed. While the original case has a ring around the hole, the Piel Frama case is stucked, which makes it sleeker as well:
Below the camera hole you can see (on the left picture) the mechanism for the belt clip on the original case. Th original belt clip doesn't looks that stable but is an all in one solution - either you use it with or without a belt clip and you don't have to remove anything.
A different way Piel Frama is going. Here you can decide if you want to use it with or without the belt clip option.
If you decide to go without a belt clip, because you mostly wear your device in your pocket, the original solution with the button, which closes the belt clip hole, is perfect for you:
In case you prefer to carry your device on your belt, you can add the knob which fits into the belt clip:
In my test usage of the Piel Frama case I found one weakness only and this is because the cover opens to the top instead of the bottom. If you open the cover - to watch the screen, it covers the camera on the backside, unlike the original case:
This might be a disappointment if you regularly use the xda II camera function; if you only use it from time to time, like for MMS, it's not that problem because you can hold the cover away from the camera optic.
The Piel Frama Himalaya case is a great piece of craftsmanship and they definitely know how to create and manufacture high quality leather cases!
Like the most PDA cases also the original Himalaya case looks cheap and doesn't feels that nice. It does a good job to protect your new Pocket PC Phone Edition but if you want to carry it around in a nicer dress, the Piel Frama xda II case is definitely something you should think about. It holds the device better and because of the quality it will stay alive longer then the original case. It's nothing to blame HTC for because leather cases has their price and everything more high grade would also increase the price of the device. Also tastes are different and while I prefer to have black cases for my devices, others might prefer different color sets. Piel Frama offers a wide range of different colors with black, tan and black/tan and also offers different materials from pure cow skin to cow skin-ostrich and cow skin-crocodile.
Piel Frama already received PPCW.Net's Editor's Choice Q3-2003 for it's Tanager leather case because of the great look, feel and quality and the same apply to it's xda II case. It simply feels better and looks greater then the original case.
The only downside might be the fact, that it covers the camera optic because the cover opens to the top. However, I for myself prefer this way to open case covers because it's more useful in the daily use because the cover isn't hanging around.
Piel Frama cases aren't the cheapest available PDA cases but they might be the one with the highest quality. The standard cow skin case for the xda II is available for 60,00 Euro while the ostrich/crocodile cases are available for 90,00 Euro. However, this also includes the worldwide express shipping costs by UPS or TNT!
Cheers ~ Arne
Related Links : [More information] [Buy Here]