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When you start to carry around a few hundred pounds worth of mobile phone in your pocket or your handbag, and that device often carries your entire social life details and contacts within it, it is often wise to invest in a decent protective case to protect your device from the ravages of the keys and coins banging against it in your pocket or handbag, or to try and cushion it from damage after the accidental drop onto the pavement. Imagine what would happen if you damaged your phone beyond repair through dropping it, and lost all your contacts and photos, all for the sake of not having a protective case around it.
Such protective cases come in a variety of designs and styles and can often vastly increase the size of your phone with extra padded layers. But a friend of mine had a pull tab holster type for his IPhone and loved it, and hence, researching around the web, I came across this version from Belkin on Amazon for £10.
Now over the years I've bought many Belkin products for my computers and for the office, and in each case I've found their items to be very well made, very well thought out and designed, and very durable. They may cost slightly more that similar items, but I've found that the increase in quality and design often justifies that increased cost element. And this Belkin Pull-Tab Holster is no exception.
The holster is basically a two sided leather pocket which has been stitched together around 3 edges to form the pocket bit into which you can slide your phone. If forms quite a snug fit around the phone, not significantly tight so that you'll have trouble getting it out, but just enough to hold it firm. The leather itself is quite thick, slightly stiff and feels of a really good quality. Inside the leather, the pocket is coated with a soft black fabric material, so that the fabric provides that delicate hold on your expensive phone whilst the tougher leather outer deals with all of the knocks and scrapes that you can give it.
The really cleaver bit is the pull tab element. This is basically a loop of wide webbing material that has been fixed to the inside of the front leather panel about half way up. It then runs loosely down the inside of the pocket and then back up the inside of the back panel, through a couple of guides to the top of the holster to form a tab sticking out of the top. As your phone sits on and in this webbing loop when in the holster, the idea is that as you pull on the tab, the loop of webbing gently lifts your phone out of the pocket, whereupon you can grab your phone to use it. When you put your phone back in the holster pocket, it pushes the loop back down into the pocket, just leaving the tab bit sticking out of the top when your phone has been fully inserted.
Now I've seen a lot of these types of pull tab mobile phone cases on eBay, and they all work on the same concept and design. But where Belkin have gone one better (and this is where their well thought out designs come in that I mentioned earlier) is that they've extended the tab at the top slightly, fitted it with a small piece of Velcro, and then bought it over the top of the holster from the back to attach to the outside top of the front panel. So whereas many of the eBay merchants have just created a cheap phone case that is open at the top, allowing your phone to fall out, Belkin have now 'sealed' your phone into the holster, meaning that it won't drop out, and thus the holster offers a better degree of protection to your expensive phone. As a further nice finishing touch, Belkin have also fitted a stiff leather panel to the end of the tab on top of the Velcro patch.
After a few months of use, so far I've not had any problems with the holster. The leather still looks good, albeit with a couple of scratches across it from being in my pocket or my bag (rather this on the case than across my Iphone screen) and it has provided full protection to my phone on 2 occasions when I accidently dropped the phone onto a pavement whilst it was in the holster.
In use, I suppose it's just getting used to how the holster operates. When the phone rings, I can quickly lift the phone out of the holster by pulling on the tab and see who's calling. To me, I don't really have a problem with it, although some of my friends would rather instantly see who is calling them without the hassle of getting the phone out of a case (and one of them has just smashed her IPhone 4 on the pavement after she dropped it out of her handbag with no protective case). Which ever camp you fit into, I suppose you need to determine what is more important to you - protecting your phone and having a few seconds delay in determining who is calling you, or have an instantaneous caller recognition and risk damaging your expensive phone? Your choice, but I know where I stand.
In summary, this is another quality Belkin product that has been well thought out and designed. It's practical, useful and very stylish, and offers a good level of protection to your expensive phone - and all that for around £10.
Also on Ciao under Randal1.
Belkin are a trusted brand, producing great products. This is no exception, as it is great value for money, does a brilliant job protecting the phone and also has a really nice, modern design. However, it 'mutes' the speaker on the phone, making it hard to hear notifications or phone calls and it can be difficult trying to remove the phone from the case if you are in a rush, resulting in you missing the call.
The packaging displays the product really well, and makes it look really nice, as well as protecting it. The text is clear, and easy to read, while also giving detailed information about the product. With tabs that can be pulled apart, it is easy to open without having to worry about scissors, or hard plastic that cuts into the skin.
The design is really nice, and modern. The leather makes it feel like it is an expensive product, of really high quality. Since it is real leather, at a much better price than other products, you can't go wrong. It also protects from bumps and scratches really well, and the smooth inside also cleans that screen every time you remove the phone. As it is just the right size, the phone fits snuggly, so it won't move around. However, it still leaves the top exposed, so the top could still become damaged in a fall, or become scratched. The rest of the phone is well protected though.
The pull tab works really well, as it is smooth to operate, and the iPhone comes out quickly. However, because you have to pull the tab to access the phone, you can miss a call. Also, it is annoying to have to pull the phone out every time you want to check your phone, if you get a text, or a phone notification. This can also increase the chances of dropping the phone, as it can be awkward and slippery when you try and remove the phone from the case.
Another issue with the phone is that the leather is very thick, so it can mute the speaker and the phone vibration, meaning that you can miss calls, texts or other things.
The build quality of the case is really good, with tight stitchings and a good fit to the phone. The materials are also really high quality, with real leather and a nice smooth inside.
The cost is very good, as it is cheaper than similar products, and is also better quality. This is because it fits the phone really well, and offers complete protection of the phone.
Overall, this is a great option. It protects you phone, and is built to last. However, it can be hard to access the phone.
Having a history of repeatedly dropping phones until they keel over and die, I needed a good quality case for my iPhone, but also wanted a stylish looking case rather than a hard plastic protector.
I chose this product as I trust the manufacturer's reputation and because it completely covers the screen. It also cannot flap open if dropped like some folio cases can, so offers good screen protection from the next inevitable impact. The phone fits snugly in the holster and the pull tab brings the phone out easily and safely. From a protection point of view I couldn't be happier.
The downside of this holster is the ease of access... as the phone slides out lengthways and removing the phone is a two stage opertaion (pull-tab and then grab phone) it makes answering the phone a little slow. My other issue is that if, like me you use the phone as a watch, you'll have the phone in the case with dock adapter at the bottom, which means you'll have to get the phone out of the holster to charge it.
It does it's job though... my phone is still in pristine condition after several months... usually I have scratches and dents within a week!