Innopocket Sony CLIÉ NX Metal Deluxe Case Review

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Product Requirements:
Sony CLIÉ NX Series PDAs

First Impressions
I had anxiously been awaiting a metal case alternative for my NX70V since I had
thoroughly enjoyed the security and stylishness of a metal case (a DSI Pocket
Armor) for my previous PDA, a Sony CLIÉ N710C. So when I heard about the
Innopocket case, I ordered one from their website on Saturday, January 25. I
received an e-mail confirmation of my order on January 26. By Saturday, February
1, I had a missed delivery notice from the post office in my mailbox (I hate it
when that happens – I leave the house for 30 minutes and the mail deliverer
chooses that time to come to my house!). I picked up the case on Wednesday,
February 5 at the post office and opened it in my car immediately, and found I
had the wrong case – I had mistakenly been sent a T-series case! Disappointed, I
e-mailed Innopocket the next day about the mistake, and received a reply e-mail
the next day after that apologizing for the error and indicating that the
correct case would be sent to me immediately. I received the correct case just a
few days later – overall, not bad delivery times for shipping from Hong Kong! I
contacted Innopocket to confirm my receipt of the correct case, and also
inquired about the return process for the T-series case, and I was told that I
could keep it since it had been their mistake in the first place to send it to
me! Despite the initial error, I think Innopocket has prompt and responsive (and
generous) customer service.

The case is advertised as precision-molded anodized aluminum. It is indeed
molded quite well to fit the NX. It is available only in silver – I had been
hoping for a gunmetal color to match my NX, but no such luck. It is a matte
silver with a fairly smooth texture, smoother than that of the NX itself. For
those of you who enjoy the somewhat rougher texture of your NX that may help
your grip, the Innopocket case will not be as pleasant. There is no mechanism to
hold your NX in the case – it is simply pressed into the case and held in place
by neoprene that exerts pressure on the CLIÉ around all sides. While I don’t
worry that my CLIÉ will fall out of the case while I’m using it, I’m not
entirely comfortable that it would stay in the case if dropped while open. But,
needless to say, I do not plan to experiment to test that theory.

Case Basics
The case itself is plain with no logos. There are cut-outs on the top for the
Memory Stick slot, IR port, and CF card slot. When the case is closed, the
camera lens has no visibility except for only a few degrees close to the CF card
slot opening.

One quick note – I use the “CF card slot “ term loosely, as this slot is only
intended to work with the Sony Wireless LAN card, not other CF accessories,
thanks to Sony’s thoughtful failure to include drivers that would allow other CF
accessories to work.

There are cut-outs on the left side to allow easy access to Capture/Record
button, headphone/remote jack, Jog Dial, Back button, and Hold button. The latch
that secures the case while closed is below all of these cut-outs. It seems to
be a bit of an odd location for the latch, but this is unavoidable due to the
location of all the previously mentioned items. On the right side is the hinge
and cut-outs for the lanyard loop and stylus. The access to the lanyard loop is
a nice touch – I appreciate that I can use the lanyard still with this case, as
it can be a bit of added security with a case that can be a little slippery.

The bottom of the case has a cut-out for the HotSync port, but the NX must be
removed from the case to be placed in the cradle. There is also access to the
stylus on the bottom – more on that later. The rear of the case has a cut-out
for the speaker, covered in mesh for protection. There is no cut-out for the
reset hole. I have heard of some folks attempting to remedy this absence of
access to the reset hole with a Dremel, but this is something I have not tried.

The interior of the case is entirely lined with neoprene, with some extra pieces
to provide additional tension to hold the CLIÉ in the case. In giving it the
famous “squeeze test” I detected very little flex in the aluminum and feel
confident that it could withstand a fair amount of pressure. This is good news
for those who carry their CLIÉ in a pants or shirt pocket.

The exterior of the case shows fairly good construction – there are no major
gaps or overlaps along the closures, and there are no friction points with the
CLIÉ to cause any damage (which I had been worried about when I first started
using the case). The latch is released by pressure only, where two small raised
bumps fit into corresponding concavities on the complementary piece. Probably
not secure enough to hold the case closed if dropped, but secure enough to keep
it closed during regular use and transportation.

There is no belt-clip option, unless you super-glue one to the back. I can’t say
how secure this would be, but may be possible if this is an absolute must for
you. Experiment at your own risk…

The Case in Action
Using the NX while in the case is pretty much only possible with the NX in
tablet mode. Unless you have extremely large hands and long thumbs, you can’t
get to the keyboard with two hands to use the NX in open mode. Had the hinge
allowed full rotation, this would have been an option, but it still would not
have been a perfect solution since the case is asymmetrical due to the allowance
for the CF slot and would not have folded back flush.

One thing you must get used to quickly is to remove the stylus before opening
the case, since getting to it when the case is open is impossible. But this is
understandable given the shape of the case to mold it closely to the NX.

With my other case, a Vaja flip-top, I had been in the habit of fully closing my
NX to protect the screen before closing the case itself. With the Innopocket
case I don’t worry about leaving my NX in tablet mode, since I am quite
comfortable that the screen will not be subject to enough pressure to cause
damage given the thickness of the aluminum. But I have to say that I miss the
option to use the keyboard without needing to remove it from the case – the
keyboard was after all part of my attraction to the NX and I am tempted to
switch back to my Vaja case if I know that I’m going to be writing e-mails while
on the subway on a given day.

I have fairly small hands and have no difficulty holding the case while it’s
open to use my CLIÉ. But I don’t exactly have a good grip on it since the
book-style opening prevents my fingers from wrapping around both sides, so the
only issue of concern is the slipperiness of the case that may allow a drop. As
far as weight goes, the case adds more bulk and weight than I had thought it
would. Given the thickness of the aluminum used and allowance for the amount of
neoprene in the interior to hold and protect the CLIÉ, this is unavoidable. Some
folks already have issues with the size and weight of the NX/NR series, and if
you have concerns about size/bulk, then this may not be the case for you…

Regarding wear and tear, I have not seen the exterior of the case to scratch
easily – it has been in my backpack with my keys for several days now and there
is only one small scratch on the back. The one area I do worry about though is
the neoprene lining that holds the CLIÉ in the case. Over time and after several
removals and insertions, will the neoprene compress and no longer hold the CLIÉ
securely in the case? This review might be due for an update in 6 months or so
to provide insight on this issue…

I like the case for the protection it provides, but I have to say that I would
have been even more pleased had it been available in the gunmetal color to match
my NX. Call me a girl who likes total coordination for her gadgets, but it’s
just a minor thing not at all related to functionality, of course. I don’t like
the bulk and weight it adds to the CLIÉ, but I take this as the trade-off for
protection. Since I use my CLIÉ both in tablet and regular modes, this case
isn’t completely ideal for me. But I absolutely love it as an alternative when I
know I’m going to be traveling or in other situations where my CLIÉ could be
subjected to harsher conditions! If I worked in an environment where I could
wear pants that had cargo pockets, this would be the case I’d use most often.
Unfortunately, my corporate job requires dress slacks or skirts, and
girl-clothes don’t have useful pockets for the most part, so I’m out of luck.
All issues aside, this is good protection for your CLIÉ for a very reasonable

Price: $34.90 plus $6.00 shipping


Access to most buttons and slots, including the lanyard loop
Sleek look

Can only use CLIÉ in tablet mode
Slippery texture
Potential compression of neoprene over time
Not available in gunmetal color


Product Information

  • Sturdiness/Protection
  • Access to most buttons and slots, including the lanyard loop
  • Sleek look
  • Can only use CLIÉ in tablet mode
  • Slippery texture
  • Potential compression of neoprene over time
  • Not available in gunmetal color

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