Brando Sony CLIÉ TH55 Cases Review


Product Requirements:

One of my favorite places to look for PDA accessories is
Brando’s Workshop. Whenever I buy a new
PDA, I can consistently count on him to have the first screen protectors and
cases available for it. Having just purchased the Sony CLIÉ TH55, I wasn’t
surprised when Brando contacted me to see if I might be interested in taking a
look at a flip and book style case for this new device.

Matching the style of previous Brando branded leather PDA cases, these two
differ very little from what I’ve become familiar with. Made of smooth grained
black leather, with contrasting white stitching, these cases offer both
protection and storage.

Instead of employing a leather holster as the means to secure the PDA, these
cases use a snap in plastic sled. The sled is sturdy. Almost too sturdy as it
doesn’t allow for much flexing. As a result, getting the TH55 in and out of this
sled can be difficult. There are 4 attachment points. Two at the bottom on
either side of the hotsync connector, one at the top that hooks into the lanyard
hole, and a post that inserts into a small opening on the back of the PDA. This
last attachment point is the hardest to get lined up. 9 times out of 10, when I
would insert the case, it would not seat correctly. As sturdy as the sled is,
I’m not even sure this post is really needed. If I continue to use this case, I
think I’ll just file it down flush with the velvet material that the back of the
PDA rests on.

After you insert and remove the PDA from the sled a few times, you get the
knack of it. It’s a good idea to get comfortable with the process of removing
the PDA, because although you can sync with a cable while the PDA is in the
case, you can’t reset the PDA while it is inserted in these cases. The plastic
sled completely covers the reset switch. OOPS!!! That is one ‘defect’ keeps me
from wanting to use this case for more than just location to location transport.

This method of securing the PDA does have its merits though. It allows easy
access to all of the TH55’s features (not counting the reset switch). There is
even a cut out in the back of the case to allow for the camera lens, back button
and jog wheel. The flip style case feels more comfortable when using the jog
wheel. Even though the book style case is optimized for lefties like myself (the
cover opens left to right), it still feels a little awkward while reading

Like most of Brando’s PDA cases, these cases have quite a bit of storage. The
book style case has a stylus holder in the spine, a long see through pocket /
screen protector, two business card slots, and 2 Memory Stick holders.

The only difference with the flip style case is the lack of the stylus holder
and the addition of a removable belt clip.

Both cases use a magnetic snap to hold the cover closed. As a result, it is
not wise to store credit cards or other cards that use magnetic strips in the
card slots.

The cases are somewhat bulky given that there is padding in the cover. Unless
you wear cargo pants, you’ll probably not be able to get this PDA/case combo in
a pocket.

Brando cases are made with quality materials, and easily fit into both casual
and corporate settings. They offer adequate protection from day to day abuse,
while staying at a price that almost anyone can afford. The only real complaint
that I have about these two cases in particular is the fact that the reset
switch is inaccessible. If that problem was remedied, I would have no problem
recommending these cases to Sony CLIÉ TH55 owners.


Price: $32

Removable belt clip
2 Memory Stick slots
Able to use camera while in the case

Plastic holder covers reset switch
Difficult to remove from sled


Product Information

  • Removable belt clip
  • 2 Memory Stick slots
  • Able to use camera while in the case
  • Plastic holder covers reset switch
  • Difficult to remove from sled
{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Julie April 2, 2004, 10:03 pm

    Post your comments here on the Brando Sony CLIE TH55 Cases Review.

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • elee102 April 4, 2004, 11:25 pm


    You may want to try out the Pdair/Proporta case for the TH55. It has the same sled type of holder but it is much easier to insert and remove the pda. In addition, because the bottom clips are narrower than the Brando, you can still access the reset button with a reset pin.

    I also noticed that with the Brando, I was never able to get the TH55 into the post in the middle of the case. Because of this I was never able to open the memory stick door while in the case.

    Link to Proporta case.

    I am looking forward to seeing what Sena and Vaja will come up with for the TH55!

  • bsherm April 5, 2004, 2:13 am

    Any details on the belt clip that comes with the flip case?

  • Julie April 5, 2004, 3:02 am

    Thanks for the info on the PDAir case.
    I was able to get the middle post to seat on Brando’s case, but it sometimes took me a couple tries…

    “The flip style case comes with an optional black plastic belt clip post, screw and clip. For those of you wanting to wear the case on your belt, you just need to screw the post into the brass fitting on the back side of the case with a Phillips screwdriver. Since the post is made of plastic, it is conceivable that tightening the screw too much might crack the post. The actual belt clip is the typical plastic rotating pinch type.”

    That paragraph comes from another Brando case review that I wrote:

    It shows a picture of the post.

  • TH55 April 7, 2004, 12:05 pm

    I’ve been using the Brando flip case for 2 weeks now. It easily slips in and out of the belt clip and is extremely well made. It looks very professional and would protect the Clie from a large drop. I’ve had no problems accessing the memory card slot, though the stylus (which is unuseable anyway) is inaccessible with this case. I actually use a rubber band to “clip” the Clie’s plastic flip cover to the inside of the case, so that I have instant access to the screen on opening the case. Not elegant, but works well.

    My only gripe is that the case essentially doubles the thickness of the TH55. I initially loved this Clie because of its size. In a perfect world, I would be able to replace that hard plastic flip cover with a leather cover, like those of Palm m515s. That way I’d regain the form factor, and at least have some semblance of protection (and not have to worry about scratching that plastic flipcover every time I put some keys in my pocket.

    Brando sent the case out and I received it in NY city within 3 days. The first screw that’s supposed to hold the belt clip on didn’t fit, and a new one was sent within 3 days! Excellent customer service.

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