Palm Zire 71
Brando has recently released a new
line of cases for the Palm Zire 71 handheld.
One case is a book-style side-opener while the other two are vertical flip cases
(one with belt clip and one without; otherwise identical).
All three Brando cases are made from similar soft-but-rugged black-leather
with heavy padding and cream stitching. The cases feature similar sturdy
construction with two SD card slots. The side-opening case has a spare stylus
holder on the inside of the spine while the flip-cases have headphone openings
for the Zire 71. All cases have identical magnetic snap-closures.
The cases are solidly built, though the purchaser may not find the aesthetics
especially pleasing (I did not). The advantage is that the cases provide better
padding and protection than most similar book or flip cases. The additional
padding adds some bulk that is missing from the competing Palm or Vaja cases,
The ergonomics of the Brando cases are mixed. All three fit the Zire 71 well,
but the book-style case I received was slightly too tight. The magnetic snap
closure was difficult to close even after days of stretching through use. The
flip-cases were more forgiving.
The book-style case is unusual in that the Palm rests on the left side of the
case rather than the right side. This means that the Palm is stored upside-down
in the case, with the Palm’s screen facing the bottom of the case and the back
of the Palm facing up. This is advantageous in that the rest of the case does
not get in the way of reading or writing on the Palm when opened. I was never
able to become accustomed to the case’s orientation despite a week of trying,
I e-mailed Brando and asked them why they chose this orientation. They
responded saying this was common in the far-east and did not seem at all odd to
them. Brando also chose to put the heaviest padding and case reinforcement on
the back of the case, which is odd considering that the front of the Palm
(screen) is the most delicate part of the device.
|The headphone cut-outs on the flip-cases were also somewhat
problematic. Brando is well-intentioned in putting them in, but they can’t
actually be used with most headphones. The case padding is thick enough that
most headphone jacks simply cannot be fully seated into the Zire 71’s jack.
All cases allow the Zire 71’s slide-camera mechanism to function reasonably
The belt-clip and stud on the flip-case with belt-clip is of average
Overall, the Brando cases are well-built, offering solid construction and
Price: $32 US each
Poor implementation of some features (headphone jacks, etc)