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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 Iíve bought many Belkin products for my computers and for the office, and in each case Iíve 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 Iíve 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 youíll 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 Iíve 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 theyíve 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 Ďsealedí your phone into the holster, meaning that it wonít 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 Iíve 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 itís 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 whoís calling. To me, I donít 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 Ė 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. Itís practical, useful and very stylish, and offers a good level of protection to your expensive phone Ė and all that for around £10.