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Speck ToughSkin Treo Case Review

Over the last few months ‘skin’ cases have become increasingly popular among Treonauts thanks in no small part to a company called Speck Products which has been releasing ever better and more sophisticated Treo cases in our Treo Accessory Shop.

Among these is the ToughSkin which is a surprisingly elegant and robust solution (in either black or clear) to protect your Treo in case you happen to need to use it in a fairly rough environment where scratches, dirty finger smudges or potential ‘drops’ might be a high risk.  Alternatively, you may simply like the rough & tough look and so this case will immediately appeal to you.

The ToughSkin package actually consists of four elements.  There’s the actual fairly thick skin that wraps around your Treo, then a thin skin band that wraps around your keyboard area, then a clear perspex flip cover to protect your screen and finally also a holster to with a swivel clip to comfortably carry your Treo by your side.

There’s no doubt that the ToughSkin has been extremely well designed and it fits extremely well around your Treo – so well in fact that it’s a bit of a struggle to get it out.   All the navigation and side buttons are easily accessible with the skin cover and to my amazement even the keyboard area was quite practical to use with the skin band above it (but you can remove the band altogether if you prefer).  Even the perspex screen protection holds solidly in place thanks to cuts in the skin and cover itself.

The ToughSkin is definitely a high-quality case for your Treo that I would recommend if you are looking to protect it in a ‘high damage risk’ environment.

UPDATE: Please note that the ToughSkin that I had the opportunity to review included the keypad cover but I have since learned from SpeckProducts that they have “discontinued it due to customer feedback”.  The ToughSkin package currently sold in our shop therefore does not have this keypad cover.  Apologies for the confusion but I was not aware of this before.

Treonauts always protect their beloved

Posted by Andrew on October 25, 2005 at 01:53 PM

Treo Accessories , Treo Case

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by Dave | Oct 25, 2005 3:39:17 PM

I own a Speck Skintight, which isn't as thick as the Toughskin, but is closer to the Treo form factor which I prefer. The designs are similar, thus I think I can use this post to discuss two of the biggest complaints that I have about the Skintight.

1. I cannot remove an SD card without removing the case. This is an unacceptable design flaw, unless you don't swap your cards, which I do frequently. I could cut a hole in the top with an Exacto knife, but this may or may not yield a good result, so I haven't tried that yet.

2. When the Treo is in the holder, the bottom is completely covered, so I can't connect my headphones to the Treo to listen to audio. A better design would have been for Speck to have drilled a hole in the bottom of the case to allow users to access the audio plug.

Lest it appear that I am not happy with the case, I use it as my primary case, because I work on a shop floor, and I need the protection. Also, the screen cover cracked, and Speck is sending me a new one. Thus far, I have a big thumbs up to offer Speck on customer support. Despite the flaws, I recommend Speck cases, especially if you use it in a demanding environment.

by Choncho | Oct 25, 2005 7:05:40 PM

I also own a Speck Skintight. The first complaint of Dave is one that I agree on. However, I did cut the top so that I can remove my SD cards. But cutting the top serves 2 reason: changing the SD cards and revealing the infrared port. I don't know it cutting the top had anything to do with this, but the Skintight seems to get loose after a period of time. I don't recommend cutting the top in case this is true.

by Gary | Oct 25, 2005 9:08:37 PM

I'm a num-nuts and would ruin my Treo if I didn't get a case like the Speck (lighter version) to protect it. I also agree on the points Dave makes and have another one to add. I believe the holster could use a re-design (3 issues).

1. It presses against the power buttons and easily turns on the screen (thank god for keyguard!).

2. When you clip the phone into place, too often the top clip pushes down on the SD card and it disengages the card. You then have to take the case off to put the card back in place.

3. The belt clip is too narrow and the hook part at the end isn't big enough. It has fallen off but thanks to the good protection nothing has happened.

Bluntly put: Good protection, bad holster!

Currently this is the only case I own so I can't compare it to anything else. I am trying to decide if I should swing for another case but these damn Treo accesories add up fast!

by George | Oct 26, 2005 4:09:02 PM

I also own the speck skintight. And I feel more secure knowing the case is protected. It does do the job! These are my other observations.

* 1st, the flip top that covers the screen didn't want to stay down.

* the flip top, maybe becasue of loosening, came off and hasn't been back on yet.

*Hook on the holster inadvertently does push the SD card down and pops it out.

*Hook maybe got too much use and lost it's elasticity, eventually cracking.

**** As I am typing this my dogs begin barking, UPS arrives with a package, what may this be? A new holster from Speck. I emailed them on Sunday, Monday they replied and asked for my home address. I was getting ready to write back to them today and ask whats up becasue I never heard back from them.

Besides this I want to say what a G R E A T BLOG this is. I really appreciate it and will, providing the price is right, purchase my new items through it.

I use www.bloglines.com to keep me updated on all the regular blogs that I read. This blog is the first one I normally read.

Great job guyz, keep up the good work.


by George | Oct 26, 2005 4:11:13 PM


Just opened the UPS package.

Speck sent me an entirely new skintight. Very Cool, very cool!

by Simon | Oct 28, 2005 4:29:22 PM

After reading the review, I decided to place an order. I'm now a bit miffed to find out that the keyboard cover isn't included as part of the package (it says in the review that it is) but that it's a separate purchase. If it wasn't for that, it'd be exactly what I needed.

by Alyssa | Nov 1, 2005 6:53:49 PM

I am also miffed, more than a bit. I bought the case based on this review, I rely on this site for all sorts of product reviews for my treo and have bought items from here. I read the product specs, understood that the keyboard cover was optional, but that it came with a screen protector. The page says, "It's the only skin to feature ruggedized bumpers, screen protection, optional keypad protection, and a deluxe swivel holster." I did not get the screen protector, the package it came in even said it's included. I feel really ripped off. I wrote customer service here and I'm informed that the flip cover is optional and it's not offered on the site. The Speck Products webpage for this item says there's a screen protector included. So something is wrong here. I suggest anyone else who has this problem contact Speck Products directly as well as customer service here to complain, this is completely misleading. I'd rather pay the $34.95 to get the FULL package from Speck Products. And the blog entry should be changed, it DOES NOT consist of four elements, only two, the holster and the actual case, at least the package that's offered on this site.

by Andrew | Nov 1, 2005 7:56:37 PM

Simon & Alyssa - I have only just now become aware of this issue and like you I'm not exactly happy about it...

The ToughSkin that I received had all four elements (as per my pictures) but now it does indeed seem that the package sold in the Treonauts shop lacks the rubber keyboard cover (but should have the clear plastic screen cover).

I looks like for some odd reason Speck Products decided to create two different ToughSkin packages and for some other reason we're stocking the one without the keyboard cover.

I'm looking into this and hope to get a clarification as to why this happened in the first place and to find a solution for you.

Cheers, A.

by Alyssa | Nov 1, 2005 9:27:47 PM

Thanks for looking into this Andrew.

by Andrew | Nov 2, 2005 3:03:36 PM

Simon & Alyssa - here is the official reply that I received from SpeckProducts:

"Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I agree that this needs to be revised. We did have the keypad protection in the initial run of the case, but since discontinued it due to customer feedback. We will have our webmaster correct the description."

I evidently received one of these 'first run' units and did not know that Speck had since removed the keyboard skin from the package. I will update my post accordingly.

Thanks for letting me know and apologies for the confusion.

Cheers, A.

by Kai | Nov 3, 2005 5:28:24 AM

Silly question: I was watching Smallville (supposedly about young Clark Kent) and noticed that Chloe had a treo with an Orange colored case. Anyone know the maker of the case?


by Mike | Nov 8, 2005 11:09:13 PM

Does anyone know where I could beg, borrow, or steal a black treo650 toughskin keyboard cover?

by Andrew | Nov 8, 2005 11:11:03 PM

Mike - I think that the people at Speck might be accomodating if you ask them. I'm sure they have a spare one lying about...

Cheers, A.

by John Wilson | Jan 22, 2006 10:57:10 AM

I've had the tough skin case for a while now and it is looser. Is there a fix to shrink it back to it's old size to fit tighter on the unit?

by Jeff | Jan 22, 2006 9:59:38 PM

These cases look perfect, but I have one concern: Is it really a pain to get in and out of a pocket? That's where my Treo lives!

by Blaqdymun | Nov 6, 2006 5:43:21 AM

Hey Kai...Chloe Probably had a Treo 680 that comes in 4 different colors. Crimson, Copper, Graphite and Artic. Check out the palm site and see. (didn't see the episode, but am familiar with the new 680's)

by LBeans | Jan 4, 2007 4:17:06 PM

The ToughSkin DOES get looser over time. I have barely had my skin for six months and in order to not press the wrong button I have to make sure my skin is alligned correctly with my Treo's buttons.

If you have a number of memory cards, or find yourself accessing the reset button or the battery often, the constant removal of the skin will only stretch it even further.

The screen protector is a little joke between me and Speck. As the ToughSkin gets looser, the screen protector grows feet. Right now I don't know where my screen protector could be . . . in my purse I'm assuming, but who really knows. NOTE: I also use the clingy screen protectors so the runaway ToughSkin screen protector isn't a big issue.

Having said that, this skin is the ultimate in protection. I once dropped my Treo on cement (I won't mention that time I drove home with the Treo on my back window) and the ToughSkin left my Treo unaware. Additionally, this skin doesn't collect dust like others I have owned.

All in all, I would recommend this case but only while recommending regular replacement. If you think of the ToughSkin like running shoes, you should be okay.

by wmw | Jan 5, 2008 10:29:20 AM

To Blagdymum - no I'm sure it's a 650 and I'm also desperate (sadly)to find out what the case is as it looks really cool on the phone.

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