Sony CLIÉ PEG-NZ90/U
One of the first things I want for any new PDA I own, right behind screen
protection and a better-than-stock stylus, is a good-looking and protective
case. Ever since I began using my
PEG-NZ90, I have debated whether this PDA would really need a case. Like the
NR70V that I used to use, the NZ90 has an
almost perfect metal clamshell design that becomes its own screen protective
case when folded shut. Unfortunately, the PDA’s black shell is prone to
scratching and without some sort of protective covering, it is impossible to
store my CLIÉ in the manner which I most prefer to use it – Tablet mode.
There are several features inherent only to the NZ90 that make putting it in
any case a challenge. First you have to deal with the fact that the sync/charge
port is on the middle upper back of the PDA, instead of the more traditional and
convenient bottom. Next is the placement of the Memory Stick slot, which is on
the right side – perfect for being accidentally ejected. Then there is the
hunchback caused by the 2 mega-pixel camera which needs to be camouflaged. Last is the Compact Flash slot on
the bottom which must remain open because it is intended for a protruding WiFi
card. Each of these hurdles might not be so bad by themselves, but add them up
and you can see that creating a case that will address each and every point is
going to be a true test of a case-makers imagination.
The #738 is a flip-style, back-snap case, and it is offered in several
different colors of
Vitelino leather, as well as alligator or ostrich embossed leather.. For
those of you that are unfamiliar with Vitelino, I can best describe it as a
hard, shiny leather that is slightly rigid and has an almost marbled "veiny"
Apparently this effect is produced when the leather is passed under a heavy
glass polishing surface; in my mind, I picture a giant rolling pin. According to
Vaja, Vitelino is one of their "high quality finest leathers," and they
recommend it for business people who need to combine elegance with comfort. It
really is a bit more formal than some of the other leathers that they offer, so
if you are looking for a knock-around case, this material will probably not suit
This is a custom order product, with a base price of $74.90. The
configuration I requested is what I believe will work best for me. Let’s see how
the case performed…
I wanted something simple, so I asked for the Vitelino Pistil (add $6), which
is basically a light brown with lighter colored "veins" running through the
leather. Because I like to keep my NZ90 in tablet mode, I chose not to get any
ID or credit card slots in the flip-lid (add $6 for card slots). The lid itself
is reinforced with a piece of ABS plastic which makes it very tough and
protective of the screen – even though I opted to go for the slim cover without
cushioning (add $4 for the classic cushioned cover). To keep the look pure and
clean, I opted for the matching leather lining (Add $10) along with The
Gadgeteer logo (add $30). Since I have a Compact Flash WiFi card, I needed the
CF access cutout (add $4)
The finished case is a pared down, slim cover for the CLIÉ. Like most other
flip-style case is offers protection mainly to the screen and back of the PDA,
but there is some additional protection provided to the lower sides.
On the left, there is a perfectly lined up hole for the reset button, and on
the right there are cutouts for the Power and Hold buttons. The Memory Stick
slot is covered, which solves my aforementioned problem of the card ejecting
itself when inadvertently pushed.
The bottom half of the NZ90’s clamshell, below the keyboard, is held in a
leather holster which has been lined in black nylon to keep its shape. The CLIÉ
can be used and stored in either the tablet mode or in the keyboard mode while
in this case.
It is possible to take pictures while the CLIÉ is in the #738, as you only
have to fold the back of the case out of the way to expose the lens.
The cutout for the CF WiFi card is cleverly done so that the card can stay in
place whether the case is open or not. The snap closure on the flip-lid has a
special cutout that allows its removal and replacement while the card is still
in the slot – a nice touch.
Unfortunately, the case does not fold far enough down to allow charging or
syncing while the PDA is inside. Note how little space there is between the door
that covers the sync/charge port and the folded back portion of the Vaja…
This is not a huge problem, but it can be annoying to have to remove the NZ90
from the case every time one wants to perform those functions. Because of the
NZ90’s design, I don’t know that there will ever be a case that allows for
syncing and or charging – even with a cable, so I may just be wishfully thinking
in that regard.
The rear of the Vaja has a beautifully inset leather and metal mesh grill
that perfectly aligns with the CLIÉs speaker.
The Vaja #738, in the configuration that I requested, is a beautiful case
that adds very little weight or thickness to the already portly (which I
say with much affection) NZ90. It manages to address almost all of the
challenges presented by this CLIÉ, with the exception of being able to sync and
charge the PDA while it is ensconced. I doubt that any case will ever be able to
do that, though I am hoping that some manufacturer will prove me wrong.
Price: Starts at $74.90, price as tested $128.90
Slimmest possible protection for the NZ90
Extremely well made
Top quality materials and design
Must remove from case to sync or charge