MobileInfocenter

Sena Palm TX / T5 Case Review

by: Kris Keilhack
August 7, 2006

Sena Case ReviewWhile transitioning from the T5 to the TX in the fall of 2005 I decided to revisit some of the higher-quality leather cases on the market, primarily due to seeking a lighter and more elegant case than my battered Rhinoskin aluminum case. I hadn’t used a non-aluminum case since the Palm III days. That particularly disastrous experiment was a no-name piece of rubbish comprised of vinyl than actual leather. My poor Palm IIIx was held in place by a saggy piece of Velcro. After upgrading to a Palm Vx I began my love affair with Palm’s sleek aluminum hard case and never looked at another leather case…until now.

Styling & Availability
After a bit of online research I decided to go with a Sena T5/TX flip model. My frugal side won out over a comparable but pricier Vaja case. I accidentally purchased a belt clip model (more on this below) instead of the thinner smooth back case I usually prefer. This is, of course, no one’s fault but mine.

Solid black is usually my leather color of choice but I decided to spice things up a tad by going with a red/black color scheme. Blue on black was another appealing color combination. There is a minor $3 price difference ($46.99 vs. $49.99) between the clip and non-clip versions of the case. Additionally, Sena sells a slide-in mirror to fit in the case’s ID/credit card slot. This supposedly adds additional protection while giving users a touch of vanity. I declined to purchase this accessory since I wanted to keep a few business cards in this spot.

Packaging
Upon opening the package I immediately knew the Palm leather case situation had improved considerably in the six years since my IIIx! A lovely cardboard box and a logo’d soft pouch accompanied the case & belt clip. No blister-packed scissor mishaps here, folks! This was an item absolutely oozing luxury and quality!

Case Design & Construction
I was initially a bit dismayed to find no leather aroma emanating from the actual case. The actual leather quality seems very good but a bit less supple than I was expecting. It’s not quite on par with a Tumi or Vaja product but still very, very nice and considerably more affordable. The red dye used on the leather was a bit more muted than I was expecting based on the photos on www.senacases.com. Overall impressions were of solid craftsmanship and attention to detail, regardless of price point. In particular, I was impressed by the quality stitching on all sides of the case. No worries here.

Sena Case Review Sena Case Review Sena Case Review

Sena Case Review Sena Case Review Sena Case Review

The backside of the case was full of small but critical touches that I came to appreciate over time. A high-quality mesh covers the speaker on the backside of the case while a reset button opening resides above it. This is the perfect fit for the TX’s enlarged reset button and the Garnet OS’s frequent lockups. The belt clip’s retention post proved to be nearly Herculean in its strength. Similar capable were the two little magnets embedded under the leather flap. The case closes with a reassuring “WHACK!” with a bit of wrist action to snap it closed. The magnets are so strong that I was able to (cautiously) pick up my Palm TX from the desk and hold it by the edges of the front flap!

Sena continues to impress within the interior of the case. Two SD pockets occupy the space immediately under the credit card/business card/mirror holder. There’s also a nice embossed Sena logo & URL. I particularly liked the red interior lining behind the TX to break up the sea of black & dark blue. My TX was held securely in place though I did notice the leather stretching a bit after repeated insertion and removal of the Palm. A small annoyance, one of the very few with this case, was that the design of the leather framing the d-pad created a bit of an issue with my fat thumbs. Actuating “up” was more difficult than before and got in the way of playing some games.

A bit of wear on the case’s leather began to show on the bottom near the top of the Athena connector after two months of usage. I would expect this spot to be the only area of concern after many months of use. I likely exacerbated the problem by syncing/charging my TX daily. I also became concerned over the thicker SD cards possibly stretching the card pockets out too much. MMCs seem a bit more secure due to their reduced thickness.

Sena Case ReviewIn a surprising twist I was able to, after much fiddling, get my TX to sync & charge in my Palm OEM cradle by inserting the TX, case and all, with the front flap lifted up.

I actually cannot comment on Sena’s “Ultra Clip” due to a mishap that occurred during the first weekend of ownership. I had left my TX behind while hiking but forgot to remove my belt clip. After some extended walking/climbing I noticed the clip was nowhere to be found. In the very brief time I used the TX with its belt clip it seemed to do a marvelous job of staying put. I ended up just pocketing the TX + the case and found that a much more appropriate carrying method

Pros:

  • Lightweight but protective
  • No-clip model is very thin
  • Strong magnets keep the cover shut at all times
  • Super stylish with excellent fit & finish
  • Several color combinations to choose from & clip or no-clip versions
  • Great packaging
  • Reasonable price considering the quality

Cons:

  • No leather smell!
  • Belt clip post makes case considerably thicker and potentially uncomfortable
  • SD card pockets could stretch out too much over time and lose a card
  • Bottom leather piece near Multi Connector could tear or wear through over time
  • D-pad “up” action is impeded slightly by the leather

Conclusion
One of the best cases I’ve ever used. Four months and counting and still looks like new! This is an ideal case compromise for T5/TX users willing to spend just a few dollars more. It encases the T5/TX within a very protective design that’s both lightweight and attractive. Simply put, leather exudes an air of professionalism and luxury a plastic clear case or a bulky, scratch-prone aluminum case cannot match.

Link: Senacases TX / T5 Cases

My overall rating:    4/5 - Palm Software 4 / 5

Article Comments

 (5 comments)

The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Start a new Comment Down

Cradle compatible case?

alanh @ 8/9/2006 3:54:18 PM # Q
I had the essentially similar case from The Pocket Solution, but I returned it since it wouldn't fit into my Palm-brand Cradle kit. Does anyone know of a case that would allow me to sync using one of those? I can sync using a cable, but have preferred using a cradle ever since my PalmPilot Professional days.



-alan

RE: Cradle compatible case?
hkklife @ 8/9/2006 4:11:01 PM # Q
"
In a surprising twist I was able to, after much fiddling, get my TX to sync & charge in my Palm OEM cradle by inserting the TX, case and all, with the front flap lifted up. "

This was a very precarious fit at best and not ideal but it DID work.

Other than that, I don't know of any other cases that are cradle-compatible offhand. Remember, the market for Palm cradles is sort of nonexistent since Palm hasn't released a model that shipped with a cradle in the box since the T3 in 2003.

With the ability to trickle charge over USB on most new Palms, most of the people I know simply have one cord at work and one at home and just switch between them for charging purposes.

I am still of the old school mentality and prefer a cradle to minimize desktop clutter.



Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

Reply to this comment

Sena cases rock

Wollombi @ 8/10/2006 1:21:22 AM # Q
I've got two Sena cases, one for my T5 and one for my X50v. Both are quality products, and I can echo much of what Kris states in the review above.

The magnets are strong. Yes, strong enough to pick up the PDA by the cover alone, even with my Axim, which is thicker and a tad heavier than my T5. The mesh over the speaker opening on the T5/TX model is a quality touch, showing thought and attention to detail in the design process. All cutouts match exactly on both of my cases.

And yes, alanh, they are designed to fit in the cradle. Although I have not experienced the wear experienced by Kris on either case, and I charge nightly. My Axim goes into the cradle each time, and I have no wear whatsoever.

My only complaints have more to do with the PDA's than the case itself. My T5 finish has begun to deteriorate where the magnet in the case is on one side. This has little to do with the magnet, other than it being a solid object in that location, so if the PDA is dropped just right it COULD cause this, but I don't remember dropping my T5, so I chalk it up to quality control on the Palm itself.

On my Axim case, which has silver highlights in place of red, ther is some SLIGHT fading of the finish where the magnets are, but it is only noticeable if I'm really looking for it, or view it at just the right angle, and even then it is only slight. Not a real problem, and probably not experienced on the other colors.

One more thing about the SD card slots. They are very thoughfully located/designed so that the edges of the cards protruding from the slot cannot come into contact with your screen, as the slots open on the other end. Very nice touch, and everyone should do it that way. I can tell you how many screen protectors developed a permanent line across them where card pockets opened above the screen when the cover was closed.

Sena cases are very form fitting and well made. Can't beat them for the money.

Good review, Kris.

_________________
Sean

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

Reply to this comment

Very useful review

Albert Grunewald @ 9/4/2008 9:01:05 PM # Q
Thanks for the comprehensive review, it was very helpful in my decision making.

I bought this case (in basic black) and I'm very glad that I did.

RE: Very useful review
Gekko @ 9/4/2008 9:08:57 PM # Q

great to hear. 2003 welcomes you!

Reply to this comment
Start a New Comment Thread Top

Account

Register Register | Login Log in
user:
pass: