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Review: Smartphone Experts SidePouch for BlackBerry Curve

By Kevin Hill on 18 Sep 2007 03:42 pm EDT
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Smartphone Experts SidePouch for the BlackBerry Curve

Funky SidePouch Blends Form and Function
The stylish Smartphone Experts SidePouch marries form and function and provides Curve users with a useful accessory that, not only looks good, but also provides the BlackBerry with a good level of protection. Available in five snazzy colors, the leather cases are priced at an extremely reasonable $19.95 and are designed to fit the BlackBerry Curve series of phones. Smartphone Experts also has SidePouch cases available for the BlackBerry 8800 series and BlackBerry Pearl

I received the tan-colored 'Saddle Brandy' version of the SidePouch and have carried my BlackBerry 8300 in it for a couple of weeks. I have never been one of those people who wear their cell phone or BlackBerry on their belt — I think that is some prejudice from those days when the only people who would wear phones on their belts were pretentious office equipment salesmen. But now, with the shrinking profile of both cell phones and BlackBerrys, belt pouches are a lot less obvious and intrusive and I’m more comfortable with wearing mine.

Smartphone Experts SidePouch
Designed Specifically to fit the BlackBerry Curve

Smartphone Experts SidePouch
Easy Insertion Makes the SidePouch a Treat

Construction
I am pretty impressed with the quality of what is, essentially, a simple accessory. The all leather case is well-constructed and sturdy. The leather is good quality and the stitching is done well. Through the first two weeks of use, it hasn’t lost any of its rigidness and holds my Curve very snuggly.

The leather covered metal clip on the rear is tight to the body of the SidePouch, which gives the carrier a very slim profile and means it grips well. I have no worries that the device would be popped off my belt when I was exiting my car for example, which is more than can be said for some other case holders.

Perhaps my favorite feature of the SidePouch is the heavy duty magnetic flap. This should, in theory, allow for quicker access to your horizontally inserted BlackBerry. The padding is made from durable fabric and cushions the device nicely.

The case comes in five dashing colors - black, cocoa brandy, red brandy, saddle brandy and cream brand, which means there should be a case for everyone from funky to sophisticated.

Smartphone Experts SidePouch
Well Made, All Leather Construction

Smartphone Experts SidePouch for BlackBerry Curve
The Rear Clip Keeps the SidePouch Securely in Place

Function
Personally, having not used a belt-mounted case for my BlackBerry before it took a little getting used to. I found it took some time to find the optimal spot to sit on my belt without catching my arm on it while walking. And this is a slim unit and I can't imagine what wearing my old BlackBerry 7290 would have been like. But once I had got used to having it on my side and found the best spot, I found it preferable to sticking my Curve in my pocket. I also felt my BlackBerry was much better protected.

The pouch has remained rigid through its first couple of weeks of use. This is both a blessing and a curse; it’s great in that I never feel my Blackberry is sliding around and I don’t have any fear it is going to drop out of the case if I am suddenly seized with the desire to do cartwheels down the street. On the other hand, when the phone rings it can be a pain to try and extract it in a hurry. I wouldn’t consider this to be a downside to this SidePouch case in particular – it is a characteristic that all SidePouch cases tend to share by nature of their design (at least the magnetic clip does speed up the process!). I have missed a couple of calls trying to get my BlackBerry out in time. I have now learned to push the phone up from below rather than trying to pull it out of the top, which has sped up the process. All things being equal, however, I would rather have my phone kept secure, and the Smartphone Experts SidePouch guarantees just that.

SidePouch Magnetic Flap
The Magnetic Flap is a Nice Touch

The leather magnetic flap is a nice touch. There is a solid sound as the flap slams closed when you are done with the BlackBerry. Without Velcro or a pop button it is much easier to open and close and it remains in place and keeps your BlackBerry secure. You feel it is going to remain closed and not pop open at an inopportune time.

You can load the BlackBerry horizontally into the case either way – screen facing in or out. This means you can insert the BlackBerry into the pouch in such a way as to make the earphone jack accessible. A well-placed magnet inside the case construction puts your BlackBerry into sleep/standby mode once inserted (the trait of a well-designed BlackBerry case), which helps extend battery life and ensures the phone doesn’t make any accidental calls while in storage. While on the subject of insertion (stop snickering back row!), I did find that I occasionally depressed a key by accident while pushing my Curve into the rigid case. With a little usage, I quickly caught the knack of getting my berry into the SidePouch and into standby without hiccup.

SidePouch Profile
The SidePouch's Slim Profile Gives it a Clean, Stylish Look

Wearing the Smartphone Experts SidePouch
The Camera Adds Ten Pounds, Doesn't It?? :)

Conclusion
The new, lightweight BlackBerrys such as the Curve have made belt fitted pouches a much more viable option for those of us who have eschewed wearing bulky BlackBerrys on our belts in the past. The Smartphone Experts SidePouch is a well-built accessory that provides both a stylish way to carry your BlackBerry but also a solid tool to protect your device. I am loathe to test it out, but the pouch could probably protect your device from a small drop. The pouch is well constructed and should last as long as you own the Berry.

On the down side it can be a little difficult/more time consuming to extricate your Berry (as compared to a lightning-fast holster), especially if you are trying to answer the phone in a hurry. On the positive side, you can have confidence your device is tight and secure.

Smartphone Experts SidePouch Review Summary:
Smartphone Experts SidePouch
Ratings

Pros:

  • Solid Construction
  • Thin Profile
  • Great Protection
  • Heavy Duty magnetic flap speeds up access to BlackBerry
  • Looks Great!

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to extract phone in a Hurry
  • Even more colors would be nice!

Buy Now:
Purchase the Smartphone Experts SidePouch for the:

    14 comments

    Vitor

    The color in the review looks nice...but i really like the look of that white/cream one. it matches my car's interior

    Anonymous

    Counting the days for the Wifi Curve before i join the blackberry world

    Anonymous

    There is a wi-fi curve available from T-Mobile.

    Other carriers carry it as well, but not the "big 3". Go to the BB website and go to the specs and it will give you a listing of the carriers that carry the wi-fi version.

    I tested T-Mobile for my Company but just didn't get good National coverage. The wi-fi is nice and faster when in a hot spot, but the poor reception in key areas of the US made the T-Mobile service a good choice.

    We've gone to AT&T but no wi-fi for AT&T.

    dtapia

    good thing the picture is digital and can be altered =)

    jman

    Does it have the sensors to put the phone in sleep mode when you drop it in the case?

    Kevin Michaluk

    The Smartphone Experts SidePouch case does put the phone into sleepmode when inserted.

    hedgehog62

    Can the LED light be seen while the curve is in the SidePouch? It seems to me (being right handed and wearing the pouch on my right side) that the natural motion would put the LED light at the bottom of the case if the screen is out or at the top and toward the body if the curve is inserted screen-in. Is the LED light visible in either of these configurations?

    DeanQ

    I just bought and received this case. The build is nice, but I am not happy with it. My reason may be trivial. I wear my holster on the left side of the body. The case has one issue. The magnet is only at one end of the case. There is a sticker on the inside showing you where it's at. My issue is if you want to wear the phone on the left side you will have to flip your phone the opposite direction, which is a pain. So when I answer my phone I have to slide it up and rotate it in my hand so it can be in the proper hand position to make or receive a call. If you put the phone in the right way in the holster if you wear it on the left side (LCD facing body), the magnet will not shut the phone off. I hate wearing the phone on my right side of the body since I cant get to it when I am in the car wearing a seatbelt. If you do wear it on your right side then the holster is fine for you.

    wvalle

    the Blackberry site is offering newly designed cases for the pearl.... they mention plastic strips in the interior of the case to help protect the trackball... I was wondering if these cases you have reviewed or other cases already on the market have that feature or have had an issue with messing up the trackballs ?? Thanks.

    Anonymous

    Wow--in three months the price has gone from 19.95 to 24.95--a 25% increase. Perhaps a new review is needed.

    axxman

    I read through the review twice and found now mention of the material inside.

    alan.johnson

    will this case work with the 8330

    NYGriego74

    Has anyone had a problem with the clip? I have bought "Mobile Glove" cases from the mall and their clips ripped just after 3 mos. of use. So, I'm hoping this pouches clip is more sturdy.

    chessdragon

    I have been using this pouch for seven months and it still works great. I have no complaints and the clip is still nice and solid.