Like most Pocket PCs and Smartphones, also the O2 Xda II mini, i-mate JAM, Qtek S100 and T-Mobile compact (all of these devices are the HTC Magician) includes a case. Nevertheless this cases is a pretty basic belt case, made of artificial leather and plastic and also the functions of the case is basic, for instance it doesn't holds SD cards.
Spanish leather manufacture Piel Frama recently released its long awaited genuine leather case for the HTC Magician and they were kind enough to send me a black cowskin leather case for a review. As said before, the HTC Magician is on sale as i-mate JAM, O2 Xda II mini and T-Mobile compact and therefore this leather case can be used with all of these devices.
Piel Frama made its first steps in manufacturing leather covers for mobile phones in 1984. Nowadays, Piel Frama is well known in the PDA and Smartphone market and 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 Magician case comes in a nice gift box. As with all Piel Frama PDA cases, 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 finish of the case is as stylish as you can expect it from a hand made leather case:
Unlike the original Magician case, the Piel Frama case opens to the top and is used portrait, not landscape while the devices stays in the cover.
The flap offers two slots to hold SD memory cards or even WI-Fi cards (which is important because the Magician doesn't includes Wi-Fi). Also it includes a slot to hold some money; however this slot isn't width enough to hold your business cards or credit card due to the overall size of the Magician, which is fairly smaller then regular Pocket PCs:
The flap closed through Piel Frama's new magnet system closure:
On the back, you might miss the camera whole but instead you see just a small slot. This slot leaves the speaker on the back open which is used for Windows Media playback also.
As with all Piel Frama cases you can decide yourself if you want to use it with the included belt clip of just as a protection case to carry it in your jacket. If you don't want to use the belt clip, you can remove the knob from the back and close the whole with a small faceplate.
If you want to use it with the belt clip, the clip is fixed on your belt and the case is removed from this clip which holds it pretty strong, strong enough not to lose your device:
As said before, the quality is simply great and all cases are hand made. The Magician fits perfectly and it feels like a second skin.
On the bottom of the case, all plugs (headset, USB microphone and reset pushbutton) are accessible and therefore you can use the USB sync cable or headset without removing the device from the case:
Also the front buttons and navigation-pad can be easily used and on top of the device, the speaker (including LED for GSM/Bluetooth) is recessed also:
As already said, the case hasn't a whole for the camera, therefore you have to turn down the cover fairly. Nevertheless, it works good enough for snap shots. However, if you are taking photos regularly, it might be a little bit inconvenient (but I'm not aware of anyone who is using his camera enabled Pocket PC as his regular camera anyway).
This Piel Frama case is just another great piece of craftsmanship and Piel Frama definitely know how to create and manufacture high quality leather cases!
It looks way better then the original case, holds the device better and because of the quality it will stay alive longer then the original case. Not to mention that you can use the device within the case which you can't with the original case where you have to remove it from all the time you want to use it.
While the case fits perfectly around the device, I'm not sure if I'm such a big fan that you can/have to turn down the cover that wide since the upper front of the case isn't fixed that nice as the rest of the case. I know, it's always a trade-off between design and functionality and since Piel Frama decided to cover the camera, they had to go this way to enable camera access.
Since tastes are different, Piel Frama offers a wide range of different colors for the cowskin cases including black, tan, red and black/tan and also offers different materials from pure cow skin to cow skin-ostrich and cow skin-crocodile.
Piel Frama cases aren't the cheapest available PDA cases at all but they might be the one with the highest quality. The standard cowskin case for the HTC Magician is available for 55,00 Euro while the ostrich/crocodile cases are available for 90,00 Euro. However, all prices also includes the worldwide express shipping costs by UPS or TNT!
After using the case a couple of days, it removed the original case completely (which I never used at all) and I'm pretty happy with what I got. I protects my device in the most stylish and functional way!
Cheers ~ Arne