Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
  Treo 650 skin case smackdown : Boxwave vs JAVOedge
When I first got my Treo 650, I immediately noticed one big problem with it: the shiny slippery metallic finish. Not only was I dropping it and having it slip out of my pockets, but when my kids would get ahold of the phone (and every three year old loves to play with papa's new gadgets) and then proceed to run around the house, or the store, or some other location teetering across polished granite surfaces holding the $600 device in one hand.

On the outside I was smiling and watching patiently, but on the inside I was screaming: "DON'T DROP IT!!!!" I'm surprised I even lived through those first couple weeks. Besides the necessity of screen protectors, which I learned about after letting them destroy the screens on my first two units (Max is a terror with that little stylus thing, even when he's using the right end of it to draw with); I knew I was going to need a case. Being in Flagstaff, that meant I was going to have to experiment.

At first, all that was available was the very high end Vaja case and while I tried to talk myself into the pricetag of about $129, I didn't manage to do it. So I waited and I watched.

Actually I didn't just watch. I went out to all the websites that made cases for the Treo 600 and I send them emails and filled out request forms and told them in no uncertain terms that they just had to make a case for the Treo 650. Amazingly enough, they did. And as an added bonus, they emailed me back to tell me so (since they happened to have my email address).

First up was the FlexiSkin from Boxwave ($29.95 on the web). Now available in a multitude of colors, at first my choices were smoke or aluminum grey. I picked grey and recieved my case about a week later (along with some screen protectors and a USB charging cable).

The first thing I noticed (well, ok my wife did), was that the nav keys are basically covered up. You can't see the lights through this worth a darn, and while I already had memorized what all the buttons did, others had a hard time using it when they couldn't see what they were pressing. Also the sides of the case come a little close to the keyboard area, so typing Q A P <backspace> or <enter> was somewhat difficult and slowed me down. The material itself was very durable, thick and as an added benefit: very graspable. This thing never slipped out of my fingers (or my pockets) and I felt much more secure using it. It did also manage to attract and hold onto every bit of dirt, dust and fuzz in my pocket; but it washed up good as new in the sink and slipped right back on after drying off. I ended up with a version with a belt-clip, which I don't use, so I was going to get another one without, but there were a couple minor problems and one larger one that I just couldn't get past.

This case really has no style. It has all the sharp edges of a banana or chocolate dipped icecream cone. It just looks kind of melted on there, with the openings hand cut. There was no real precision crafting and while in most instances this wasn't a big deal, at the nav bar it was a disaster. The nav buttons already form a set of protruding tiers out beyond the phone, and the boxwave case just stacks the same detail in rubber above the existing buttons, creating a fairly thick protrusion. That section was always getting caught when pulling the phone out of my pocket, and the detents never sat over their buttons exactly right, so it was sort of like operating the buttons through a padded glove--trial and error. It bugged me that it wasn't done right.

As things were really starting to get to me, I got another email from JAVOedge that they had the JavoSkin in stock ($28.95). So, figuring I could give the boxwave away to my friend Craig (or to one of the guys at work); I ordered the only color available at the time: clear. (Its now available in white, bronze , blue and dreamy purple as well.)

This case has a slightly different feel to it. The case is not as thick as the Boxwave (probably 1.5mm vs 2.0mm) but is firmer which seems like it makes up for it. (would take the shock out of the impact just as well I would guess.) There's more clearance around the keyboard on the sides, and the clear makes the nav buttons easier to read. It also has lots of styling, from the thin rectangular edge on the back (making it easier to grip with one hand while pressing buttons with your thumb), to the individual cutouts for each slot in the speaker grill. At the bottom, the opening is built up so that it will stand up vertically on a level surface (see top picture next to product shot)

As the coup-de-gra, the inside of the case is also finely sculpted and the case fits precisely around the navigation buttons so that each raised area on the outside is always positioned over its button below, and the case does not catch there in the middle coming out of a pocket. Its a very fine case (except for collecting dust and dirt like its sibling), and has protected my phone ever since. Definitely my recommendation if you're looking for a skincase.

Sorry for the original mixup, mistaking the JAVOedge for a Smartphone Experts S650. While the S650 is cheaper ($19.95), it seems to have all the personality of Boxwave case. You can see more pictures of it here though I don't know if it fits over the nav buttons properly or not.

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