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Noreve Cases: Smart protection for a smartphone Print E-mail
Written by SymbianOne   
Thursday, 14 September 2006
There was a time when every new smartphone came with a protective case. As the market has become more competitive, fewer devices are supplied with cases. Richard Bloor takes a look at one aftermarket option, a case from Noreve.

Noreve offers a range of leather cases for almost every imaginable piece of portable electronics, from cameras and music players to smartphones. Amongst this comprehensive product line-up are a range of cases for the current crop of S60 and UIQ devices.

A smartphone case has three key requirements. It should look good (after all, your phone was not cheap), provide good protection, but also allow the device to be used as easily as it can be without a case.

So how do Noreve's cases for the Nokia N80 and Sony Ericsson M600i measure up to these criteria?

Well they certainly seem to measure up in the looks department. The test case for the M600i came in black, while for the Nokia N80 it was tan. Cases are also available in seven fashion colors. The leather is of a good quality and blemish free. The stitching is fine and precise, while the clasps appear to be of good quality. Both cases are supplied with a belt clip that screws into the rear of the case. The attachment point comes with a large diameter chrome screw to protect the fixing, if the belt clip is not used.

The belt clip does seem rather bulky, being almost as deep as the case itself. However, it does include a quick release mechanism (so the phone can be removed while the clip remains on your belt) and can be adjusted to hang in one of eight positions.

The Sony Ericsson M600i slides into its case from the top and fits in very snugly. The case's cover folds up to protect the front of the M600i and is held in place by a hidden magnetic clasp.

With the cover open there is good access to the keyboard and screen. Cutaways on either side of the case offer access to the jogdial and back button on one side, and the shortcut key and Memory Stick slot on the other. While the case provides unrestricted access to the keyboard, the additional thickness of the leather at bottom of the screen makes activating the screenkeys with a finger somewhat awkward, but using the stylus involves no such problems.

One minor disadvantage of the design of the M600i case is that the accessories port is not accessible with the cover closed. While the "fold up" design provides a very neat case, a "fold down" design, that provides access to the accessories port, may have been more useful. However, this alternative design may have involved an untidier and possible less secure fastening on the base or rear of the case.

The case for the Nokia N80 is entirely different. First, it has to cope with the Nokia N80's sliding form factor. This is achieved with a clear plastic flap that fastens over the keyboard, the slide then closes over this flap when the keyboard is not in use. In addition to allowing access to the keyboard, this clear flap also exposes the camera button.

The cover folds down over the Nokia N80 and fastens at the rear with a magnetic clasp. While the power socket is accessible with the cover closed, the pop-port is not. This means that using the hands free headset requires the cover to be unfastened, but the "fold down" design means the screen and front panel buttons remain somewhat protected.

All the Nokia N80's buttons are accessible with the case on, however the memory card slot is not. To change a memory card the N80 has to be removed from the case. This is somewhat ironic given the case includes a pocket for a spare memory card.

An opening is provided for the camera lens and flash at the rear for the case, which is normally covered by the cover, providing protection from day to day dirt. Even with the rather bulky belt clip fitted, the cover folds back far enough to ensure it does not obscure the field of view; although it is easier to hold the cover back for photography when the belt clip is not in use. However, the focus switch is not accessible, but given that this can easily slide to the "wrong" position this may not be too much of an issue for general use.

One thing I did notice with this cover is that locking the keypad is a sensible idea. The snug fit of the case means that, particularly when it is carried in a pocket, the front panel keys are easily activated. For some reason the multimedia key seems to be the one most likely to get pressed inadvertently.

Overall both cases provide an elegant solution to protecting the Sony Ericsson M600i and Nokia N80. Both cases have limitations, the restricted access to the accessories port on the M600i and to the memory card slot on the N80. However, given the inevitable limitations created by such small devices, alternative designs would probably just trade one limitation for another. Overall they perform their job with style.

If you feel your smartphone needs a little more protection Noreve's cases certainly look like a good option.

Noreve cases can be purchased directly from www.noreve.com. The web site is available in English, Spanish, and French. Cases for Nokia's smart phones range in price from 29.90 to 39.99 euro, while cases for the Sony Ericsson M600i and P990i cost 39.99 euro.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 September 2006 )


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