O2-XDA II, Qtek 2020, Orange M100
How does one reconcile a technolust for the top gadgets (often the most fragile and expensive) with an active lifestyle in rugged conditions? Innopocket hopes to provide the answer to this thorny question. I tend to embody the worst of the two in the above dilemma. I didn’t tell Gadgeteer Julie the entire story when I proffered my skills for the review of this case. I’m the kind of guy that likes the best and latest tech toys and am currently writing this review from my work in the field in Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa.
I am in love with my amazing Qtek 2020 (exactly the same unit as the O2-XDA II) but know that it is just a matter of time working in this environment that I will drop it and kill it. Just a few days ago it fell out of my ill fitting leather belt case onto a muddy country road, just inches from a puddle. This is why I jumped at the opportunity to review this case.
The InnoPocket Metal Deluxe Case came in simple packaging but for once of the kind you can actually open without a chainsaw.
The case is made of a brushed anodized aluminum with a neoprene lining to help protect against bumps and scratches. It looks and feels great although I did manage to scuff it in the first five minutes of using it. These should be the kind of marks that add character rather than disfigure but only time will tell.
My device slid down into the case easily and is held snugly in place by the neoprene lining. You’ll note in the first photo that the lining was slightly misaligned on the model I received but to no effect either aesthetically or functionally once my PDA was in place. One problem is that the neoprene lining catches on the volume slider on the side upon insertion and removal of the device. Not only will this change your volume and ringer settings if the device is on but I was concerned it could actually break off the button if done with too much force.
A nice feature is the dual storage slots for SD memory cards. They fit snugly but are easily accessed. On the other hand I don’t understand why the slots are made so that the card must have contacts facing out. Seems more vulnerable and anything you have written on the label side of the card can’t be seen.
The case closes well and it is obviously a sturdy reliable hinge and latch system that should hold up over time. The anodized aluminum case makes your protected device feel tough and cool although it does add 75g to the weight of an already heavy telephone. This is important because this device is truly a telephone in a super PDA skin and needs to be usable as a telephone. More on that later.
As can be seen in the photos the case has cutouts for most of the main features. The front has cutouts for the speaker/earpiece, microphone, joy pad and the phone answer and end call buttons. Should the phone ring it is possible to poke the tip of your finger down into the cutout to answer a call but not without some effort. Unfortunately the most important oversight of this case is the fact that it is for a telephone. With the cover closed even if you can reach into the cutout to answer a call you won’t be able to see who is calling since there is no window to show caller information. I will most likely be taking my Dremel to it to be adding my own small plastic window.
Given that, with the cover closed, once you manage to answer a call there is no problem hearing the caller through the cutouts or with them hearing you. And bonus, no more smudgy face prints on your nice PDA screen.
The bottom has cutouts for reset hole, headphone jack and charger/sync port. It is possible to use a USB sync/charge cable while in the case but the device must be removed from the case if you use a docking cradle.
The top of the case is open giving easy access to power button, SD card slot, IR port and stylus. It needs this access but this means that the device is not protected from water and dust at one of its most vulnerable places. Can’t have it all I suppose.
On the left side is a cutout for voice recorder, volume control slider and camera buttons. These buttons are closer to the surface of the case than those on the front of the unit and are thus, more easily accessible.
The back has a cutout for the camera lens, the car antenna jack and the connection for the post clip system. The post/clip system feels very reliable and tough with a removable steel post that screws into the back of the case in case you don’t need it. I am a bit concerned that this post could come loose and fall off.
Overall the construction and feel of this case is top quality and definitely leaves you with the feeling that your PDA is better protected. The main drawback of the case is that it is not so convenient for telephone use which is a specific but important problem relating to this O2-XDA II PDA. This is a telephone and answering calls with the case closed is not easy or desirable since it is not possible to see caller information. You can open the case and answer the call with the door hanging open by your chin which may make it look like you are pressing your face against a waffle iron. On the other hand, use of the unit in its protected belt clip case with a hands free Bluetooth device may be a good option for some. You still will not see caller information but your device will still be safely stored and you will be able to answer calls and walk about.
If you intend to primarily use this device as a PDA then the Innopocket Metal Deluxe case is an almost perfect case both aesthetically and security wise.
Despite certain reservations I intend to continue using the Innopocket case for my PDA/Telephone in order to protect my investment, valuable data and peace of mind.
Quality construction and cool look
Great protection for your PDA
Two storage slots for SD cards
Phone buttons difficult to reach through front cutouts
Impossible to see caller information with cover closed