Reviews: Other

Alu-Leather i-mate JAM (HTC Magician) Book Type Case

      It has been a while since I have done a case review. After using the i-mate JAM (HTC Magician) I realized that such a device would really need a case. Due to its smaller size and number of functions, a protective case can help to protect the investment from minor damage and even dropping in some cases. I have used Proporta products for a long time, so I decided to try something a little different from them than I have tried in the past and received their Alu-Leather i-mate JAM Book case. The case fits right with the "planner" style and includes special features to protect the device while still supporting its functions.
     Normally with a leather case, I am not that impressed with how the device is held. For instance, sometimes cases will require you to put Velcro strips on your device. Other times, the device slides into a leather enclosure which fits around the sides and top of the device leaving only the screen and the buttons exposed. Proporta took a different approach. The case uses plastic pieces on the sides and bottom to hold the device in the case. This adds bulk when there is no device in the case, but that is not a major worry since usually you should have a device in there.
     The first thing that is noticeable about this case is the two holes in the back. This is so you can use the camera while the device is still in the case. It looks kind of odd without the device in the case, but again, so what. It makes total sense when the device is in the case. The case is also structured so the phone can be used while it is in the case. Again, how the device is held is important because it leaves the speaker and the microphone uncovered. The cases front can be folded around to stay out of the way and make the JAM easy to hold while it is in use as a phone or a PDA. If you really want you can even latch the cover on to the back so it will stay open easier.
     Instead of just being a leather only case, Proporta has included an extra feature to protect the device. The front face of the case is leather on the outside but has an aluminum inside. You get the strength of an aluminum case but the feel of a leather case on the front of the device. The case still feels very much like a leather case, but the aluminum inside is an additional protection feature. On the inside of the front face you can see the aluminum. The inside panel is covered by a flip up cover that has a place to put identification in case the device is lost. It is nice this insert is removable, as I do not feel it has much real use. I thought it could be used to hold identification or a credit card, but it is not big enough. It also adds some bulk to the case and without it the case is easier to close (something I will talk about later). Under the insert below the exposed aluminum is an SD card holder. It is too bad that the holder does not fit an SDIO card as I like to use my SDIO WiFi card.
     For the most part, everything I have said about the case is good. There are a couple of drawbacks, the biggest of which is the size of the case. While the case does not make the width and the height of the device much more, it makes it substantially thicker. The JAM is such a small device, this case makes it quite a bit more to put in your pocket. Of course it is a trade off. I am not sure that a leather case could be that much smaller, but for my taste, the case was a little big for the size of the device. If the case is too big, another option is to put on the belt clip connector and use that to carry the device on your belt. The other problem I have with the case is the clasp which holds it shut. While it is great at holding the case closed and is magnetic, the clasp can be difficult to close. It is much easier without the ID insert, but the fact that it can be hard to close kind of reinforces my point that they case may be a little to large.
     When it comes to quality, there is no question that Proporta brings a quality product to the table. While it may have a few shortcomings, the product has good features and is a well crafted product which should withstand constant use. The case fits with the style of the Jam and allows for full use of its features. The Alu-Leather case not only comes in a book style but also a top open style, and both are available for $35 with a Lifetime warranty.

Dave's Score - 8.5
This means, this product is a good product, though has something which could be improved.  This product has a good design and/or application, and is something I might use though there are still areas for improvement.  Weigh the pros and cons before purchasing.

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