Review: Nite Ize Backbone Case for the Palm Pre 22
After 13 years of using Palm handhelds, my preference for cases is fairly clear: a pouch I can clip (not loop) to my belt, allowing easy access to the device while protecting it from drops, impacts and scratches. Along the way, I’ve noted a few common points of failure (especially the joint for the clip) of which to be aware. When I got the Pre, I tried a few cheap belt-clip cases, some with top flaps and others without, but when the fabric around the clip on the most recent one started to wear out, I sought a replacement. What made the search a bit more challenging was that, since my Pre has the Seidio Innocell 2600 mAh battery and the extended back it requires, a case made to closely fit the standard Palm Pre would be too shallow for my phone. I looked through the PreCentral store, and found a case that appeared to fit my needs: the $15.95 Nite Ize Backbone Case for Palm Pre.
Name notwithstanding, the Nite Ize Backbone is a generic case, usable for any device that fits within its 4.5” x 2.75” x 1.5” volume (Nite Ize calls this its #10 case; it sells larger Backbone cases for bigger devices). Happily, the Pre with Seidio back fits quite nicely inside the padded case, snug enough for it to not flop around, but still with room left over for another, thin item in the case’s internal pouch (such as a spare battery or a short microUSB cord).
Unlike my previous cheap holster, the Backbone fully encloses my Pre with a two-zipper seal, for more protection from snow and rain (but on the negative side, the zipper pulls are elastic and one frayed and broke off within two weeks of my starting to use the case). My review unit was the black fabric, and looks as subtle and professional as any belt case can; there is also a “camo” color option for those that prefer something a bit flashier.
One difference between the Backbone and other belt cases I’ve had is the clip. Rather than using a generic 2-piece design with an open clip bottom, the Backbone has a thicker, one-piece clip with 8 specific rotation stop points for those that prefer a non-vertical orientation. The bottom of the clip is hooked, making it harder for it to accidentally slip off one’s belt (and making it a bit harder to put on as well, although a protruding tab helps open the clip for placement), and it appears solidly attached directly to the body of the case instead of via an easily stripped screw. It also serves as the “backbone” (if you’ll pardon the expression) of the case, further supporting the already-stiff padded back.
I have found a slight issue with the case when trying to open the zippers one-handed; at times, the case will rotate as the zipper is pulled, requiring the owner to turn it back to the desired orientation. That minor and only occasional quirk is the only negative I have seen in this well-designed, affordable and nicely protective belt case for my Pre.