Belkin Leather Portfolio Case for the Dell Axim X51v

by PocketGoddess on August 3, 2006

Belkin Leather Portfolio Case for the Dell Axim X51v, interior

This case takes a different approach than most, in that isn’t designed to protect your handheld inside a larger bag as much as it is supposed to replace that larger bag. It measures just under eight inches tall, 4 3/4 inches wide, and 1 7/8 inches thick, and is made of very supple black leather with contrasting white stitching. A single wraparound zipper (with two pulls) secures the contents of the bag, and it is constructed so that the bag lays nicely flat when fully open. The right side features a built-in holster that perfectly fits the Dell Axim X50 series PDA, and I was impressed by how well it worked without any Velcro or adhesive. The device is easy to insert and remove, but when it is in the holster it is held securely. Just above that is a small compartment secured by a Velcro flap; it would be perfect for memory cards and other very small accessories that would otherwise be easily lost. The spine of the case has two elastic loops which are just perfect for holding a pen and a full-size stylus.

The left side of the case is where things get a little more complicated. It starts out simply enough, with six business/credit card slots. The slots are generously sized and just a bit longer than a credit card, so you won’t have any problem inserting and removing cards. I think you could get more than one card in each slot if you need to carry quite a few. Just behind that card storage flap is a zippered compartment that is basically flat; there’s nothing in it aside from one long nylon storage pocket and nothing else. Belkin says that it’s designed to hold your checkbook and it could do that, but only the checkbook alone, without a register or a cover. That’s because the compartment is so perfectly flat, without any sort of gusset at all. Of course to access that zippered compartment, you have to first undo an elastic strap secured to the card flap with Velcro. That elastic strap secures another compartment at the front edge of the case that does have two gussets. That compartment is quite large and would easily hold a small notepad or a checkbook with register and cover.

If I had designed this case I wouldn’t have chosen that configuration of compartments, but with a little tweaking they could work quite well. I think that the flat middle zipper compartment would work quite well for receipts and other small loose papers, because there’s no way they could fall out of the case. Cash is also another option that would work, though I’m more likely to fold a couple of bills and tuck them into one of the credit card slots. The right side of that middle compartment doesn’t have any sort of pocket for storage, so it would be perfect for creating small “flow charts” of small Post-It notes. I find it ironic that I’m suggesting this idea, considering my strong emphasis on all things digital and electronic, but sometimes Post-It notes really are the best way to record small bits of information or to help in planning things out, since they can so easily be rearranged. Since they also tend to loose their “sticky” quite quickly, storing them in this compartment ensures that you won’t lose any of them and potentially be left without an important piece of information.

Belkin’s Leather Portfolio Case gets five stars for quality–the case is very well constructed indeed, with very high production values. And though I really like the idea of having a slightly larger case for my PDA that might allow me to go without a briefcase or other large bag for business meetings, it doesn’t quite work that way for me. The area on the left should have provided nothing more than credit/business card slots and then one (potentially two, with a gusset) storage areas. Unfortunately the extra compartment in the middle doesn’t add much more than bulk in my eyes, and doesn’t allow me to carry the two things that I find the most essential–a phone and/or a wireless keyboard for my handheld.

At $33.99 this case is an excellent value, and if the storage/layout work for you, I highly recommend it–especially considering the fact that Belkin backs it with a full lifetime warranty. You can check it out at Belkin’s online store, where they also have a version that fits the Dell Axim X3.

3.5 out of 5

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