Sena Palm TX / T5 Case Reviewby: Kris Keilhack
August 7, 2006
While 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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
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