Well, it's been about a month since switching from a Sony Clie N610 to a new Palm Tungsten E and in the process I've found several interesting tidbits to share here. I'm planning on writing all of my observations up as an article, though I wanted to also blog some bits too (partly so they aren't forgotten).
One thing I'd mentioned when first using the TE was how unprotected it felt with only the stock rubberesque flip lid it comes with. This has since has been cured with cases sent by Brando at Brando Workshop
and Fabrice Minelian at Covertec (both great guys). I've used these cases for a few weeks and find them all very nice.
The specific cases I've tested are the Brando Workshop Tungsten E Flip Top Case ($32), Brando Tungsten E Side Open Case ($32) and the Covertec Palm Tungsten E Leather case ($39.90) in both black and tan (there's also a red leather case available and a cheaper nylon version coming soon).
These two cases have differing approaches: the Brando cases use the left-hand slider rail of the Tungsten E as the attachment point, which is good and bad. Good in that it is secure, but not so good in that the TE kinda flops around at times, since the right edge is not attached at all. Still, this floppity-flop occurred only now and then. Personally, I prefer vertical flip top case as it is easier for me to hold and setup at work, though the side opening case brought back fond memories of my Visor leather case. I do like Brando's fine quality leather: which was very impressive for a reasonably priced case. Lastly, the twin SD card holders, business card slots and a hole on the vertical flip for headphones are nice touches. However, the headphone jack hole didn't allow my Koss headphone jack to go through, so maybe the hole needs to be larger in diameter? I might just have a larger hole pucnhed out to solve that problem, though it is a minor thing. I liked that the side opening case has a hole and pouch for carrying a spare stylus at the spine of the case, which is very similar to the leather Visor case I used to own.
Meanwhile, the Covertec case is a bit more traditional, in that it wraps around the TE at the base of the PDA with a piece of integrated leather. I liked this, because my TE felt more secure in the Covertec case. The Covertec case also fits my TE more snugly than the Brando case, because it's slightly narrower (about 0.25 inch). This really translates into a slim feel. My wife Gail, who is testing the brown Covertec case, says the slimmer width allows her TE to fit the PDA slot in her purse (The Brando wouldn't fit at all). I really like the stitching and design of the Covertec as it feels like a "retro" camera case from the 1940s. The case also has leather SD slots sewn into the flip lid, business card slots but no headphone jack hole. The black Covertec case leather seems of finer quality than the brown Covertec case, which seems a bit tougher. Of course this could change with proper oiling and some use... plus the tougher brown leather may resist scuffs. Finally, the Covertec case features a screw-on "Wips System" belt clip adapter. This is a nice option, because you can remove it if you like (no permanent metal swivel pin).
In the end, it really is a subtle preference thing and of course, a pricing decision. I would be equally happy with either the Brando or Covertec case for my TE, though currently my fave is the Covertec because it's tighter fitting, has nice retro touches and has a better overall feel. The Brando cases are $32 vs. Covertec's $39.90, though the Covertec does offer the "Wips System" belt clip option, which is worth a bit more.
Both the Brando and Covertec cases are well made, stylish and will protect your Tungsten E quite nicely. I suspect we'll see even more cases appear specifically for the Tungsten E, which will offer TE users some nice options in the future. Hooray! :-)
Update 02-Dec-03: Fabrice emailed to mention that the Covertec Tungsten E case price is actually $39.90 instead of the $48.50 that I mentioned on Monday. This is now reflected in the post. Thanks for the clarification Fabrice. :-)
Update 05-Dec-03: Mercedes has left a nice note with the correct link for $39.95 price on the Covertec case. Thanks Mercedes! :-)