Surplus PDA Sony CLIE T & NR Series Cases Review


Product Requirements:
Sony CLIÉ T and NR Series PDAs

How’s everybody doing out there?

I recently made the jump from the T615 to
the NR70 CLIÉ, a move made with no regrets
at all, but it did put me back into something of a case conundrum. True, the NR
is self-casing to a large degree, but after getting my first few chips in the
casing, I realized that I needed a little more to keep my newest main brain safe
and sound.

Surplus PDA out of Hong Kong set me up
with four CLIÉ cases in all (three for the NR, 1 for the T-series). Initially,
the company name made me think of weathered canvas is Olive Drab – Private
Ryan’s PDA case, if you will. However, all of the cases were brand spanking new
and made out of black leather of medium-high quality.

All of the cases hold the NR with five-point system (four for the T-series) that
grips the bottom of the case, to either side of the sync port, the recessed
holes on the upper back, and a peg (no, not another CLIÉ…) that inserts into the
tab just below the “Palm Powered” Logo on the back side of the NR.

This method holds the PDA strongly, yet attaching and removing the PDA is
awkward and can take a good deal of time (especially at 5:30 in the morning…).
After fumbling through several of these mornings, I simply started using the
sync cable instead of the cradle. The cable will function with all of these

All right, enough of the generalities, let’s get to the cases…

Surplus Slim Leather Case for Sony PEG NR-70/70v

Our first offering is a book-style case with a magnetic closure. Okay…gotta stop
right there for a moment…perhaps it is just a silly superstition, but I think of
PDAs and magnets like water and electricity – both have their uses, but they
just should not come together. Granted, if there were no demand for magnetic
closures, no cases would be offered with them.

With that rant out of the way, I will add that in my time with the case the
magnets caused no problems (and I had credit cards in there…).

As with the most of this style of cases, only three of the six sides are
protected by the covers and the spine. This is generally not an issue with me as
the oversize covers protect the CLIÉ in the event of a fall (trust me, I know…)
the lack of protection led to another problems – Memory Stick Mount/Un Mount.
Yes, some of the situation can be blamed on Sony, the MS problems with the CLIÉ
are well documented and I won’t re-hash them all here. The open to of the case
has led to interruptions of my mp3s during walks with my CLIÉ in my pocket,
outside pressure is just enough to tap the memory stick and you hear the
high-pitched “Bee-Boo,” followed by “Boo-Bee” and you have to start playing all
over again (really annoying with an audio book). These interruptions were not
present with the other Surplus cases.

Opening the case, you are greeted by a subdued Surplus Logo in the lower right
corner of a flap that reveals an impressive storage space. Four slots for
credit/business card and two for Memory Sticks fill one side and a mesh pocket
is contained on the opposite side of the flap – which also provides protection
for those who refuse to use the NR as it was intended and are stuck in tablet
mode (Julie, I’m looking at you…). Also, a stylus holder has been working into
the spine of the case, fitting my chameleon perfectly.

But wait, there’s more! Behind the card/stick slots is another pocket that
extends the entire length of the case. This is where I started to get excited…

I have always wanted to integrate my wallet and PDA into one case, but the right
one has just never come around – could this case be the one? With trembling
hands, I inserted my 4 mail cards into the slots…memory sticks were go…license
in the back pocket…money folded into the mesh deal…it all fit!

And the darn thing wouldn’t close. The magnets had their petty revenge on me…

Okay, so I took the stuffing a little far and it didn’t work (until I tried the
Surplus Zipper case, that was…) and if you are looking for a book case for your
NR that will hold some items, it might be worth checking out.

Price: $32.00

Classy cover
Plenty of storage
PDA held firmly

Won’t stay closed when full
Magnet could wipe strip on Credit Cards
Sides not protected, MS interruptions

Surplus Flip Leather Case for Sony PEG NR-70/70v

Out with the book and in with the flip, as I like to say (actually, that’s the
first time…)

The materials, mounting and yes…magnets of this case are very similar to the
Slim case, but the flip goes so far as to actually cover four of the six edges
of the case – leaving only the sides bare and exposed.

The exterior of this case is as unadorned as the slim model, but as you open the
magnet-sealed flap (this one actually held fast with the case full) there is the
Surplus Logo waiting to greet you. Just pop the flap and flip the whole thing
over to access your PDA.

Card storage is provided in the “flip-up” portion of the case. There are four
slots for credit/business cards (yes, I stored credit cards in this one too, and
none of them were de-magnetized) and a single Memory Stick slot. The MS
accommodations feel very much like an afterthought it this case (no pun

The stick is inserted sideways, and after insertion, it still sticks out a bit.
On squeezing the upper flap portion of the case, the MS promptly fell out – kiss
your $60 good-bye. Typically, when a flip case has card slots at one end, there
are media slots at the other – but the magnet might cause problems down
there…I’m not sure.

If this is your dream case, you might want to look into another alternative for
media storage.

Well, I loaded this puppy up like the last one (minus the money, ID, aftermarket
stylus, and one of the Memory Sticks), and low and behold, it closed! My walks
with music were blissfully uninterrupted, the headphones connect up great though
the unprotected areas of the case, and the mounted MS stayed mounted.

The only other thing worth mentioning is the fact that I really like the
external stylus holder, which this case is missing.

Price: $32.00

Still looks good
4 of 6 sides well protected
Still closes when packed

Quirky/Unreliable MS Storage
No Stylus Holder

Surplus Zipper Leather Case for Sony PEG NR-70/70v

Conceptually, I really like the Slim Case…I love the thought of whittling down
the silly amount of
I carry about with me, but if you can’t close the case, you can’t close the

This one happened to fit everything, and closed – I was in business.

Sure, the Zipper Case really is identical to its Slim sibling except that the
magnetic tab is replaced with a zipper around three sides. When closed, the
items looks a lot more like a paper organizer than a PDA case…and the more I
thought about that, the more I liked it. I don’t have any statistics to back me
up here, but common sense dictates that a small, expensive device would be a hot
commodity among muggers, pickpockets and purse-grabbers.

“Oh no, Mr. Criminal…this is not a $500 PDA, it is listing of what I have to do
tonight, and my thoughts about how I will achieve my goals, and…” the guy falls

Okay, that might be a little much, but this case certainly is a form of
camouflage for your device.

One benefit of the case I’d never thought of was opening it all the way and
folding back the card side to the rear. I found that this position made for much
easier typing and generally using the case in-hand.

That was the good, here’s the bad; the zipper scratched the heck out of my

The top of the unit (sorry, the camera has very poor macro capability) just
above the lanyard attachment has been scratched and pitted from the metal of the
zipper running over it. Sure, packing the case with everything short of my Birth
Certificate might not have been the best-laid plan, but my baby is disfigured!

Obviously, I got over the situation, and a little extra tug on the zipper as it
passes the area, cheating it out a bit stopped the problem. Despite the damage,
I am still using this case, and very happy with it.

Two final notes:
1. The lip of the zipper can interfere with the operation of the cable (annoying
at most)
2. There does not appear to be a Surplus Logo anywhere on the case (insert
X-Files theme…)

Price: $32.00

Protection on all sides
Lots of storage space
Looks more like an organizer (not very desirable) than a PDA case (Please steal

Zipper lip can interfere with Sync/Charge Cable operation

Surplus Slim Leather Case for Sony PEG T615C

This one is a quickie, as the case is really the same as the Slim NR Case, only
a little shorter.

The attachment method is slightly different from the NR, there are two pegs
(don’t worry, I wouldn’t tell that one again…) that insert to either side of the
Sync port, and two clips that stick in where the stock flip cover rests.

Money in the mesh pocket had to be folded a little more…that’s about it.

And the thing still wouldn’t close with everything loaded into it.

Price: $32.00

Classy cover
Plenty of storage
PDA held firmly

Won’t stay closed when full
Magnet could wipe strip on Credit Cards


Product Information

Manufacturer:Surplus PDA
  • Classy cover
  • Plenty of storage
  • PDA held firmly
  • Won’t stay closed when full
  • Magnet could wipe strip on Credit Cards
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