Review: Smartphone Experts TopPouch Case for the BlackBerry Pearl 8100, 8120, 8130

By Gary Mazo on 16 Jan 2008 10:59 am EST
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Smartphone Experts TopPouch for the BlackBerry Pearl

Protect Your Smartphone Investment! 

You took your hard earned cash and bought yourself that BlackBerry Pearl you have admired for so long.  Good for you!  When you hold the Pearl in your hand, you realize that while not fragile, so to speak, this is not a rubberized sturdy phone.  If it were to hit the ground – I would worry about it maintaining its structural integrity or the screen cracking.

All of us Smartphone users need to be as “smart” as the phones we carry.  That means we need to protect them from catastrophe.  The best way to do this is with a good quality case like the Smartphone Experts TopPouch Case offered in the ShopCrackBerry.com store. The SPE TopPouch case fits all of the BlackBerry Pearls, including the 8100, 8120, 8130 and even the soon to be released 8110 (if you like to plan ahead!) and is also available for BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry 8800 series Smartphones.

This is an interesting design since it is “top loading” which means you slide your Pearl completely out of the case to use it. Is this case for you? Read on for a full review.

Overview
The “official line” on the SmartPhone Experts TopPouch Case is:

This TopPouch Case from Smartphone Experts, with its large magnetic flap and sturdy leather belt clip, is the perfect choice for carrying your .This all genuine leather case is designed for a perfect fit for your BlackBerry Pearl and features top loading for easy access with a magnetic closure to keep your phone secure. With the velvet soft lined interior, your will stay protected from dings and scratches.

The leather belt clip is fixed on the back of the case, so the case will protrude very little from your body.

Available colors: Black, Cocoa Brandy, Red Brandy, Saddle Brandy and Cream Brandy.

Top loading for easy access

  • Secure Magnetic closure
  • Strong Leather belt clip easily attaches to belt or purse
Smartphone Experts also makes the TopPouch case for the BlackBerry 8800 Series and BlackBerry Curve Series of smartphones.

Design and Function

BlackBerry Case

As the name indicates, this is a “top-loading” design.  Some cases stay permanently on the Pearl and either “flip” open or are simply a “skin” of constant protection.

The Smartphone Experts TopPouch offers more protection than a “skin” case – as long as the BlackBerry is inside.

There is a magnetic fastener on the top of the pouch that you simply lift up when you want to insert or remove the Pearl.

The case itself is an attractive two-tone leather design.  My test unit was dark brown with lighter brown trim and accents.

There is a hard piece of cardboard or some other material inside the leather with good padding under the felt lining. The outside is a textured leather on the front and a heavier  - almost “belting” leather on the back.

Attached to the back of the Case is a leather belt clip for simple attachment to your belt, pants or pocket.

BlackBerry Case - back

It is important to note that this is a true BlackBerry “Holster.”  That means that the case has a magnet in a strategic place which the BlackBerry senses – putting the phone in “holster” mode when in the case. In your profiles you can adjust how your BlackBerry responds “in the holster” making it vibrate or ring or flash when you get different types of messages and notifications.

Fit and Finish/Aesthetics
The SmartPhone Experts TopPouch case appears to be well made.  The various pieces of leather are stitched – as opposed to glued.  The stitching appears to be uniform and secure.  The case has a contrasting leather trim – which is aesthetically appealing.

The SPE logo is kind of prominent on the magnetic closure – but it is embossed so it doesn’t stand out too much.

I pulled and tugged on the various seams and pieces of this case and everything seemed secure.

This is a nice looking case – if you like the design of a Top Loading case – this is definitely well made and worth looking at.

BlackBerry Case - side

Protection
A case isn’t any good if it doesn’t protect your BlackBerry.  The combination of the padded leather and the strong magnetic enclosure make this seem like it would do a good job protecting my precious Pearl if were to take a tumble.

The corners of the device are unprotected with this case – so a direct hit on the corner might be cause for some concern.

Areas of Concern
My only real area of concern with this case is the same as all “Top Loading” cases.  When the phone rings – you have to sort of rush to open the flap and slide out the BlackBerry.  I found my self “rushing” to get the phone out of the case.  This “rushing” could potentially lead to an inadvertent dropping of the BlackBerry when taking it out quickly and not paying attention.

One other area of concern is that you will want to “lock” your BlackBerry before putting it in the case or else one of the side convenience keys may get triggered.  I had both the camera and voice dialing program start on occasion when I tried to get the BlackBerry in and out of the case without locking it.  This isn’t a huge thing – but if you are not accustomed to locking your keypad – you will have to begin to do that. If you don’t use your convenience keys, you can turn them off and this will solve the problem. Also, with time, all leather gives a bit. I think with use the leather will likely provide enough room to allow for the insertion and extraction of the device from the holster without the convenience keys being triggered.

Overall Conclusions
This is a nice case for your BlackBerry Pearl.  It is stylish, offers decent protection and adds minimum bulk to your svelte Pearl.

The SmartPhone Experts TopPouch is only $24.95 at the CrackBerry store and is a great value for the money.

SPE TopPouch Review Summary:
Smartphone Experts TopPouch for the BlackBerry Pearl
Ratings

Pros:

  • Nice Fit
  • Good Protection
  • Great Price
  • Nice Colors

Cons:

  • Top loading design is not quite as convenient as a form fitting case
Buy Now:
Purchase the Smartphone Experts TopPouch Case for the BlackBerry Pearl in the ShopCrackBerry.com Store
4 comments

Anonymous

I can't agree with giving this case a 4.1 rating. The fit, finish, and look are all very nice and rate a top score. However, the leather covered clip should get a low rating. The sewn leather covering in this high-wear area will quickly unraval, and this type of clip too easily comes off your belt.

And after it falls off of your belt, it will hit the ground on the completely unprotected CORNER of your blackberry.

Looks good, but not very functional.

RSnell

i have been using the cream brandy version of this case for a few months now have been pretty satisfied. looks nice and it broke in a bit after a few weeks so i could pull my pearl out and put it away faster. stitching on the leather flap has been fine on mine.

i think it beats the hell out of the ugly blackberry brand ones that are at my at&t store for basically the same price.

poloman#CB

love my curve 8300
no promlem at all almost a year now
thinking about second pair maybe one with gps.
have a nice day

iphoneguy123

These cases look very nice. Materials look similar to that of a Primary Case. The price seems right too. If anyone wants to see what i'm talking about it's at primarycase.com