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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 Brett | May 30, 2006 3:30:57 PM

I got mine from ebay (incredibly cheap- shipping cost more) and am delighted by it. not only is it snug (it took my a bit of fiddling to get it to snap together correctly), but it adds virtually no profile width. And it looks sleek, especially from behind when the keys are lit up. Gets a nice glow. And with my fumblitis, it has already earned it a gold star. Not only did it protect the phone, but the case didn't even scratch on the parking lot pavement.

by Jimmy | Jun 1, 2006 10:24:25 PM

Will the Crystal Case fit the 700P?

by SJ | Jun 2, 2006 7:42:17 AM

I guess there are many comments on how great the case is and how bad it is as well. I purchased 2 smoke cases and they both kept coming off in the top left hand corner. However, a buddy of mine has the clear case rather than the smoke case and he is having no problems at all. I was wondering if the batch of smoke cases were bad. Can anyone confirm that the clear cases work and the smoke ones are the ones that keep coming off?

by MC | Jun 2, 2006 2:18:17 PM

Any news as to when this case will be available for the 700w/700p????

by JRTeK | Jun 2, 2006 2:31:08 PM

the only thing i wish it had is a place to hang it like from a lanyard or something like that...

by robot123 | Jun 7, 2006 10:18:44 AM

I bought a clear case and the had the same problem as SJ. Top left corner (near the antenna) is loose. I put a small piece of scotch tape over the latch and it's not doing too bad.

by Sherrelle | Jun 10, 2006 8:19:08 PM

I am new to Treonauts...a new Treo user. I spent a few hours looking for a case and I settled on the Sena Leather Skin Case with the belt clip (trying to go for style & function...it was between that and the other skinned cases, but I didn't like the colors). It has not been delivered yet, but really I hate belt clips. Mainly because when I don't have it on my hip and in my purse or on the table--I only wear it on my hip if I am in loud places or in the park with my kids--I hate the bump on the back of the case; it doesn't lay flat and it feels weird in my hand. My question: does the Seidio Skinned Sheild Holster work with the Sena Leather Skin Case (if I were to exchange the belt clip model for the non-belt clip one)? Also, does this leather skinned model protect like the other skinned models?

by Jru | Jun 12, 2006 1:37:22 PM

Just got this case from TC.com well needless to say it is going back. I tried it for about an hour and couldnt stand it. For the money I was expecting something a little higher quality and a little more heavy duty.

by Jason | Jun 13, 2006 3:46:01 AM

A waste of money as it lasted abotu one week.
Top right latch broke falling off my car seat on to the padded floor, and I "baby" my gadgets...this case is a joke!
needless to say I bought the Smartphone Experts Clear Case next and wish I would have read the review for that first instead of being duped into buying this crap. it also works well with my Seidio dock.
Get rid of the screen 'cover" as it is garbage and design-wise it totally is a last minute additon.

by Garratt | Jun 13, 2006 4:26:02 PM

Hi Treonauts! I've got a tough problem maybe you guys can help a brotha out with:
I fell off of a boat (like an idiot) and had my Treo in my pocket. So, it died. PROBLEM: I had years of data, contacts, software, etc, in it and now its all gone.
REAL PROBLEM: My PC that I Sync to crashed, specifically, system recovery, so all of that lost data, contacts, etc, is REALLY GONE. Is there anyone who knows how to retrieve this data from the Flash memory/hard drive on my dead treo?!?!? Oh, how I would do anything to get it back! ANY ideas anyone has on this one would be so greatly appreciated!!!!
Thanks Treonauts for your time and consideration! Looking forward to your thoughts! Best Regards,
Lost Withoutit

by ekerbuddy | Jun 15, 2006 8:43:57 AM

I bought this case. I was initially happy but after a few weeks it looks like sh*t. its covered in scratches and falls off if you drop the phone (which does happen). Also, as dust accumulates, the case itself has scratched the phone!!! Im going back to a skin case. I dont recommend this case. I hope you are honmest enough to post this.

by voochuk | Jun 17, 2006 12:51:43 PM

Bought this case after reading the review ... has one big drawback it does not protect the treo - my treo has fallen approx 2 feet from a table and each time the shell has opened ejecting the treo and damaging the phone dont buy it

by Phil | Jun 18, 2006 10:02:37 PM

I had the same trouble as many others - the upper left latch kept coming loose, causing the case to fall off. Basically seems poorly built. That said, the concept for the case is good and I like how it looks/feels/works while it is actually attached.

I decided to superglue the upper left latch closed, which should ensure that it won't come apart accidentally. I didn't get any glue on the phone, so I'm sure no damage has been done. If I need to restart the phone, I should be able to pop the other three latches open and remove the case without destroying it. If not, well, I'll get a different one.

by croc_choda | Jun 20, 2006 10:27:55 AM

I agree with garrett above.

After around 2 months with this case, my initial love has spoiled. Dust collects between the case and the phone, which (by my estimation) severely scratches the phone itself. By this point, it pretty much looks like crapola.

The case does it's job of protecting from bumps and jars but does so at a cost. I'm interested in another option, but I refuse to wear the phone on my hip and silocone/rubber cases make it virtually impossible to fish out of a pocket. Any advice?

by Larry | Jun 22, 2006 12:27:23 AM

Mike just said it and it happened to me today. For the third time, I caught the phone on something and out it came. This time, the phone did not return. Now I need a replacement phone.

The sad part is that I've only had this combo for 3 weeks. I like the crystal case, but please do yourself a favor and buy another holster until they figure out how to make this one work better.

Needless to say, I'll be getting something different.

by ChrisP | Jun 23, 2006 11:37:15 PM

Jason, there are professional data recovery options for the crashed harddrive. I recently had one and it cost 300$US to move the data to a new drive of the same model that worked.

by Raphael | Jul 6, 2006 6:36:39 AM

I noticed that when using this case, the sound volume coming out from the ear piece is significantly weaker because there is just a small slot in the case to let the sound go through. Has anyone else noticed this?


by Troy | Jul 11, 2006 1:37:31 PM

Don't buy this case unless you want to send money down the drain! Mine didn't latch properly. The slightest bump to the edges releases the "4 latches" like limp spaghetti and the phone goes careening across the desk. As for the holster that I bought to accompany it- IT DOESN"T WORK EITHER! The slightest nudge releases the phone into a spiraling free fall to the floor. I really wish I hadn't bought these two items. They aren't cheap and they don't perform. I'm getting a holster and all the better for it!!

-Troy S.

by Matthew | Jul 24, 2006 12:34:44 PM

Andrew - I took your advice, bought this case and as you suggested- "simply and easily remove the protective layers to use it with my preferred Palm Cradle Kit." I use my phone a lot and sync/charge at least once - sometimes two or three times a day. With such steady use, after about two weeks the clips that hold the two halves of the case together became bent and have since fallen off, making the case useless without scotch tape. I don't think you should advise your readers to take their phone out of the clear case repeatedly.

Sincerely, Matthew

by MiMo | Aug 14, 2006 1:42:28 AM

I have just ordered a Treo 700p and am looking for a case for it. I thought this "clear case" was clever, but after reading the reviews, I think I will opt out of getting one. Anyone have any advice on where I can find a good, affordable rubber "skin" case (without the belt clip)? Thanks! ~MiMo

by BaBs | Aug 30, 2006 3:28:52 AM

curious as to what I should get that is not bulky or cumbersome ..no belt slip,clip or holster needed just want it to be very tight formfitting and smooth design. No preference on rubber,silicone,plastic etc. just want it to fit like a glove w. all features accesible at all times and a spot for a lanyard! Any suggestions are appreciated greatly thanks

by Stephen | Aug 31, 2006 12:33:38 AM

I have thought about getting ths case, but the reviews are terrible. How is it that you at Treonauts whom we trust for your reviews could have allowed all of these negative issues to slip by you. Do you really "test" the gadgets that you review? I'd love to buy this case, but don't want to risk doing exactly what the case is there to prevent. Breaking my phone. Let us know if these issues have been corrected in a future review and please test the case thoroughly before passing on your very valuable reviews which by the way, I do appreciate and rely on. Many thanks.

by Eric | Sep 1, 2006 11:34:38 PM

I have one of these cases. It stays on the Treo fine. I'm interested though in how much protection it really does provide. Like, if it was to drop from holding height to the floor, would the case protect it?

by willbrownjr | Sep 4, 2006 6:40:41 AM

the best case i have found was on the palm one website. It was their case and it only cost me ten dollars because i found one at a computer store. its called the palm treo form fit case and it retails for about 30.00 on their web site. black soft leather and a loop covering the sim slot so it wont come out, also it has a clip which is removable.

by Tim | Sep 12, 2006 1:51:35 PM

Bought case for my 650 and loved it. Within a couple of weeks, my company offered to upgrade me to the 700p. When will they make this case for the 700p? Any recommendations for something similar without the screw in the back?

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