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Smatphone Experts CrystalCase Treo Case Review

I think that I may quite possibly have found the best Treo case ever in our Treo Accessory Shop…

Last week I reviewed the Smartphone Experts ClearCase (see Clearly A Very Good Clear Case) which I like a lot and consider to be one of the most innovative cases to have been developed in quite a while.  However as I wrote at the time, the ClearCase is not perfect with a relatively thick profile, SD card holder that doesn’t work properly and raised sides which somewhat impede easy access to the keyboard.  Other Treonauts also wanted to see a slim version with a smooth back (no belt clip or SD card holder) to make it easier to carry in their pocket.

Now thanks to the newly released Smartphone Experts CrystalCase you can basically have your cake and eat it too. 

The CrystalCase is made of a hard, thin (only 1mm thick) and durable plastic which ‘sandwiches’ your Treo 650 (a 700 version is coming soon) in between its two layers (below).  It is available in two elegant tints – smoke and clear – and once fitted you can barely note that your Treo is in a protective casing.

The CrystalCase has all the necessary cutouts for charging, syncing, volume control, camera, SD card and stylus.  Four small side latches (two on either side) will snap to lock the case and you can easily open it again by gently pulling the front left latch.

Perhaps more importantly, because this case is ultraslim there is no interference accessing the side keys on the keyboard – something which other similar cases suffer from.  I also like the fact that there is no flip-open plastic screen protector to deal with.

Because the CrystalCase adds 1mm of thickness all around your Treo you will not be able to use a standard sized holster.  However, Seidio’s Skinned Shield Holster (pictured below) works perfectly and is a terrific companion for this case allowing you to quickly and easily answer calls.

Insofar as charging is concerned you can either leave your Treo in its CrystalCase and use the INNOdock cradle or alternatively simply and easily remove the protective layers to use it with my preferred Palm Cradle Kit.

Overall the CrystalCase provides the ideal looks and protection for those Treonauts who like me typically prefer to have their Treo ‘naked’.  The case is so thin and unencumbered of any grooves, hinges or other add-ons that it provides the same smooth tactile feel as if no case was present.  However, the real benefit here is that thanks to the CrystalCase your Treo can still ‘look’ naked while having the protection from scratches and drops that it deserves. 

In passing, I personally find the CrystalCase 10 times better than any of the popular rubber skin cases because it is so much easier to use and remove and also much easier to clean as it is not prone to attract dust and dirt like most skins do (something which I can’t stand).

At least for me, I don’t think that I’ll get much closer to finding a perfect case for my Treo 650…

Treonauts always thrive for perfection

Posted by Andrew on May 2, 2006 at 01:46 PM

Treo Accessories , Treo Case

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» CrystalCase for Treo 650 review from Treo Today
So you want a solid case to protect your Palm Treo 650 smartphone, but still want to show off its good looks? Andrew of Treonauts takes a look at the CrystalCase for Treo 650. The CrystalCase is made of a hard, thin (only 1mm thick) and durable p... [Read More]

Tracked on May 7, 2006 10:18:08 PM


by kostia | May 2, 2006 3:58:46 PM

I'd love a case like this except that I have to pull the battery cover off my 650 and reset it about every other day (it crashes constantly; I guess it's because I use a lot of legacy Palm OS apps). I wish every hard case manufacturer had an option with a reset hole in it to go with that great battery cover replacement.

by Jason Persampieri | May 2, 2006 4:17:06 PM

My perfect case would be this one with the flip lid cover of the ClearCase. I need some sort of screen protector, but the sleek profile of this one is just beautiful.

by Jeff | May 2, 2006 5:09:27 PM

I dig this case; best so far. it's not bullet-proof, but if it breaks and saves the phone inside, that's all I ask.
The version in the photos does not have the fitting for a screw-in belt-clip. Mine does. It mars the appearance a bit, but if I were to someday want a belt-clip, well......I could.
I don't.
But I could.
Minor hack: if you want to, you can put a $20 bill, a business card or a photo in the back of the case.

by Andrew | May 2, 2006 5:35:39 PM

Jeff - thanks for the tip about the photo hack - that works brilliantly and I really would not have thought about that at all.

I'll post a picture about it in an update tomorrow. In the meantime the best size to use for placing a photo at the back of the case is some 40x55mm or a square 40x40mm.

Cheers, A.

by JoKeR | May 3, 2006 8:53:18 AM

Does this case cover the screen at all? I know it doesn't have the 'flip-up' screen protector, but does it have a screen protector at all?

From the pictures, it looks like to screen is fully exposed.


by Andrew | May 3, 2006 10:41:17 AM

JokeR - yes, the screen is fully exposed - something which I personally prefer.

I always use a standard screen protector though: http://shop.treonauts.com/content/accessories/15-43--28.htm

Cheers, A.

by Brett | May 4, 2006 8:55:10 AM

Any idea if phone will still fit in a Seidio cradle with the case on?

I'd like to get some protection for my phone, but not at the expense of being able to fit it in my GPS cradle.


by Jeffrey | May 4, 2006 2:03:15 PM

Does anyone know when the 700w version is supposed to be available?

by Matt | May 5, 2006 3:29:19 PM

How about the SD card? Is it less likely to get popped out with this case? I currently have the Krussel case that covers the SD card.

by Terrance | May 5, 2006 4:59:02 PM

I have the first case you reviewed (The one with the flip-top screen protector) - do you know if that case also will fit in Seidio’s Skinned Shield Holster?

Also, my concern after using the case for a while is the Treo accumulates a lot of dust while in the case - I know this is an issue with the neoprene cases where the dust builds up and causes scratching. Does anyone have any thoughts about this? Or am I being too paranoid with my shiny new Treo?

by Christopher Gordonn | May 6, 2006 11:22:49 AM

Well, I received my crystal case / seidio skinned holster today...and am not overly impressed. While a recent Treonauts review and the recent TreoCentral newsletter have proclaimed the two a great combo...I am left wanting.

I am relatively happy with the crystal case. Its provides a nice alternative to a silicone skin. What I am displeased about is the way the crystal case outfitted Treo fits into the holster. It is not a secure fit. This model of seidio holster has a spring loaded top clip. The crystal case outfitted Treo has a bit of a buldge at the top front speaker, this buldge prevents the Treo from sitting flush at the top of the holster. Because the Treo is not flush at the top, the spring loaded clip does not hold the top of the Treo securely. Only a razor thin edge of the clip comes into contact with the top of the Treo. One good bump, and your Treo will pop out of the holster and hit the ground. If the clip were a bit longer and deeper to compensate for the buldge, it would be much more secure.

How Treonauts and TreoCentral could recommend this combo is beyond me. IMHO, this combo is not a safe and secure means of wearing your Treo and I cant recommend this combo to anyone.

by Sam | May 6, 2006 12:22:41 PM

The Crystal case sounds like just what I want; but I also WANT it to have a belt clip. Does anyone know if it has that option? Someone supplied a response that it did, but the web stores I checked don't list it as an option.


by J Smiley | May 8, 2006 10:33:01 AM

This is NOT a recommended combo. The holdster doesn't hold the case and the case doesn't fit very snug. EEEEKKKKKKK.

by Toni D. | May 11, 2006 2:09:26 PM

Bought the case. Sorry I did. Case wouldn't latch securely near antenna area. If Treo drops, case snaps open. If you have one and like it----good for you. If you can't decide whether to buy it-----Save your money.

by Jeff | May 12, 2006 12:07:20 PM

Does the case allow a crude attachment of a lanyard by the area around the antenna? I imagine if a picture can be squeezed in, there might be room for a lanyard thread?

by Dave | May 15, 2006 7:14:04 PM

Does this crystal case fit in any of the fine pouch cases you reviewed recently?

by Fone guy | May 19, 2006 12:49:59 AM

Got the case yesterday and already one of the latches is loose. At $25 shipped, it is not a cheap case. Not at all money's worth.

I'll have to see if they'll let me ruturn it or exchange it for another one.

by adam | May 19, 2006 2:25:23 AM

When I opened it, it looked like the two pieces were crushed together. It doesn't close right, is this normal? Seems like a lot of people are having the same problem.

[Edited] Adam, I have not experienced this. However, you can contact the Treonauts Shop at support[at]treonauts.com. Also, all accessories have a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee.

Cheers, A.

by Mark | May 25, 2006 12:01:25 PM

While I agree, Andrew, that dust-collecting skins are a PITA, not all skins collect dust. As one skin-maker explained, it's silicone skins that collect dust, whereas *rubber* ones don't.

As a result, I am extremely happy with my Boxwave Treo (rubber) skin, as opposed to my zCover iPod (silicone) skin, which sucks dust big-time.

While the CrystalCase you've reviewed here is beautiful, the caveat for me is that once the phone is dropped (which for most users is an inevitability), the CrystalCase is going to show visible scratches. Sure, the Treo is protected, but a visibly scratched case is unacceptable to me. So for me, skins -- rubber (not silicone) skins -- are still the ultimate case, because they do not show scratches after the phone is dropped.

by Paul | May 25, 2006 2:39:20 PM

This case is junk, plain and simple. It is flimsy plastic cover with barely enough latches to hold it onto the Treo. Any force applied to it will dislodge the case and come apart. Moreover, it does not fit securely into the seidio, and the 2 cannot be used together.

With the sheer volume of "this is the most spectacular innovation for my Treo!!" posts on this site, I am wary that close to all posts here are shills for the product.

by T. Smith | May 25, 2006 9:16:10 PM

I was very unhappy with this case. For no reason at all, the case became loose after a couple of days of use.

On the plus side though, Treonauts has great customer service. They've actually sent me a brand new one for free! And said I can just toss away the broken one.

Well, the new one I got was just the same. So now i'm returning it for my money back.

Thanks Treonauts, but no thanks!

by james2 | May 25, 2006 9:31:14 PM

Get it on Ebay instead... saw it for $17 w/ shipping.

by Gabe | May 27, 2006 1:14:56 PM

I just purchased this case and I am very happy with it.. Its lights and provides good protection...

by Carlo | May 30, 2006 12:20:22 PM

I got this case last monday, very disappointing. It does not stay in place, as many as noticed, around the antenna area, making the case unsecure and not able to stay in position and firmly close.
Too expensive for this result and I will return it.

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