Brando Palm Zire 71 Case Review

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Product Requirements:
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,

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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
well. The top portion of the Palm can be slid upwards through the case
cut-outs with some effort, revealing the camera and activating the photo
software as usual. Since the cases themselves do not expand, sliding the top
of the Palm upwards partially obscures the upper screen with the case. In
practice this works well for the occasional photo. Anyone taking many photos
at once will probably prefer to remove the Zire 71 from the case

The belt-clip and stud on the flip-case with belt-clip is of average
construction. All parts are plastic and will probably stand up to reasonable,
but not heavy, use and abuse.

Overall, the Brando cases are well-built, offering solid construction and
good protection, though the design features are not entirely successful in their
current implementation. More attention to detail and some relatively minor
revisions on Brando’s part would make these cases more useful. As it is the
Brando cases are a reasonable value considering the limited number and type of
Zire 71 cases currently on the market.

Price: $32 US each


Solid construction
Good features
Reasonable price

Questionable aesthetics
Poor implementation of some features (headphone jacks, etc)


Product Information

  • Solid construction
  • Good features
  • Reasonable price
  • Questionable aesthetics
  • Poor implementation of some features (headphone jacks, etc)

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