By: Ron aka twrock
January 25th, 2006
The Brando Workshop Metal Case is a very nice way to protect your Palm TX (or Tungsten T5). The build quality is very good. Made of aircraft aluminum, the Brando case is very solid and flexing is non-existent. It is available in metallic silver or metallic black and has a single slot inside the front cover to carry an extra SD memory card. There are cutouts for the SD slot, IR beam, headphone jack, power button, sync connector, and stylus removal. There is also a "bump" on the front cover to leave room for TX D-pad and cutout slots on the back for the speaker.
This solidness of the Brando case is also due in part to the design. Because the aluminum from the front and back covers smoothly wraps around to the sides and ends in almost all places, it is very hard to flex or bend this case. As well, the front cover is domed slightly, increasing rigidity, but this also increases the overall thickness.
The case comes with a removable swivel belt clip for those who are so inclined. I keep mine in my front pants pocket, so the clip is a feature I have never used. Because the case is painted, and not just brushed aluminum, it can be scratched. I have lost a little paint on one bottom corner through rough handling, but it is hardly noticeable as the color almost matches the aluminum underneath.
A single layer of black neoprene lines the inside for padding. The handheld is held in place by a plastic rail that slides into the slot on the left side of the TX. This means that the back of the case can be opened for access to the reset slot without removing the device. It also means that the TX fits somewhat loosely in the case, and will rattle as you move along. I solved this little problem by adding a narrow piece of soft foam just inside the front cover beside the latch, but it is something that Brando Workshop should look into.
Although I haven't had any problem with it yet, the front cover latch hooks over a piece of plastic attached to the side of the back cover. So far so good, but time will tell if this strong enough to last. One more picky suggestion I would make would be to go ahead and bend the back cover ever so slightly around toward the top cutout areas. This shouldn't interfere with the cutouts, and would make the case ever more solid. Additionally, I see no need for a cutout above the SD slot, particularly since the back cover can swing open allowing easy access to the card and protecting the SD card from accidental removal would actually be an advantage.
The Brando case's biggest strength is also it biggest weakness. Because the case has so many smooth curves (which add strength), it has a slightly oversized feel. Additionally, the slightly domed cover would probably protect the screen from a car tire, but it makes the case thicker than it needs to be. But I'm only complaining about millimeters here, not something that should keep you from seriously considering this very good case.
Pro's: solid build quality, protective
Con's: slightly oversized, case rattle
My rating: 8/10
Additional note: If you are shopping at Brando, consider the TX cradle they sell. It's very basic and lacks a hotsync button, but at least it is a good way to make your TX stand upright. One other short-coming is that it lacks rubber feet and tends to slide around too easily.