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Page 117 of 162

116 MacDirectory REVIEW SENA > MAKING A CASE FOR QUALITY The idea of putting an elegant device like an iPhone into a cheap case made about as much sense to me as buying seat covers for a Mercedes at a local discount store. And after the belt clip failed on one of my early holsters, I realized that I needed to seek out a case that offered some security as well as good looks. My search finally came to an end at Macworld in Moscone's North Hall. Sena is owned by two brothers, who represent the third generation of a family leather business. At first, their display looked like the dozens of others at the show. But a sound of rhythmic tapping and a gathering crowd drew me to the back. There, it was as if I had arrived in a far different place and an era long ago. Sena's master craftsman, Ertan Gunay, sat at his simple workbench, long bolts of soft leather carefully draped behind him. He was carefully tapping on one of the metal dies he used to precisely cut. I picked out the case I wanted and then watched it being made from a sheet of polished black Napa leather. It was their simple pocket, LeatherSkin model. A snap on a tab flips over the top to keep the phone secured and there were precisely positioned cutouts for the screen and all the connectors and controls. As is the case with all good leather, the case took several weeks to break in and get the look and feel of something that belongs to me. I also really wanted a case with a belt clip, but wasn't quite ready to trust the typical snap-on clip. For this, I turned again to Sena and ordered one of their slim Eléga Pouches with an integrated clip. This was in a rich, deep tan with a matching velvet lining and stitched together with the precision and quality of a custom tailor. The attention to detail turns out to be typical of Sena. Lesser brands often opt for good looks on the outside but ignore the lining where the phone lives. This can allow dust and dirt to collect, risking damage from abrasion. The case was stiff and offered the phone a good deal of protection. It fit like a glove. At first, it was a rather uncomfortably tight glove, but true to the message that Sena included in its box, after a short break-in period, the case molded itself to the phone and held it firmly but gently. The leather-covered clip rotates, but feels solidly attached. In spite of my early experiences, I decided to accept Sena's offer to try a couple of their removable clip cases. It quickly became obvious that they took a very serious approach to security as well as craftsmanship. The metal rivet mounts on the case with a small hex screw (the wrench is included, along with a spare screw). It attaches in a way that makes it nearly impossible for the rivet to twist and loosen the screw (but you may want to add a drop of Locktite to the threads, just to make sure.) You can also opt to leave the mounting rivet off, so any of these cases will sit flat in your pocket or purse. With the button mounted, the case snaps into a rather thick and durable belt clip, topped by a quick-release button. The phone slides in locks with a satisfying "chunk!" The thickness of the clip makes the phone protrude out a bit more than I'd like—the design's only real drawback. Sena uses the removable/optional clip on many of their cases. My favorite of these is the Dockable flip case. This has a flip-over cover that snaps in place to protect your screen while you're wearing it and folds out of the way so the phone can be charged or docked without being removed from the case. This model, I find, offers the best balance of security and convenience. An interesting variation on the theme is the WalletSkin case. The idea behind this is if you have an iPhone, credit card, license and maybe a few business cards, you're ready to go. The WalletSkin case offers everything you need to hit the road. With this design, the iPhone screen is facing out, but your other valuables are snapped away inside the flip-open case. Each of the designs is available online in a huge variety of colors and textures—far more than you'll find at a retailer. You'll also discover that Sena makes fine leather cases for nearly all the current iPods and even the MacBook Air. Even though there are literally hundreds of cases out there, I'm happy to report that I finally found one that my iPhone actually deserves. WORDS BY RIC GETTER Product Sena iPhone cases (LeatherSkin, Eléga Pouch, Dockable and WalletSkin) Made by Sena Price $39.99 - $52 Pros Finely crafted from the best leather; practical designs; wide variety of colors and textures Cons Removable belt clip makes phone stick out a bit Rating HHHHH WALLETSKIN CASE FOR IPHONE 3G

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