Fortte BlackBerry 8800 / 8830 STiL Vertical Pouch
Cost: $29.99 + Customization options
Fortte is known for quality mobile device cases and the Fortte BlackBerry 8800 vertical pouch is no exception. It includes all of the normal trimmings you can expect from a BlackBerry case including high grain leather and a magnet for automatically shutting off your BlackBerry. The case improves upon the original RIM BlackBerry case and offers you a ton of customization options. If you want to add a little bit of spice to your BlackBerry then Fortte is the way to go. Read on for the review.
The Review Unit: The review unit case is full grain leather in a professional Black. The belt clip option is a metallic lock clip. There are tons of customization options on the Fortte website when you order your case.
Customization: You can choose from 33 different types of leather based on texture and color. The colors and textures range from black to kiwi mint with many choices in between. They also give you an options for the belt clip. You can choose between 4 different types of clips with the option of a belt loop and also no clip at all. The colors and textures add a premium of $10-$20 in cost and the belt clip options range from free to $5 for the most expensive heavy duty ratchet clip.
They also provide you with personalization options in terms of marking the case as your own. You can emboss up to 14 letters of text on the front or back (but not both) of your case in two different fonts for $15. You also have the option to emboss a non copyrighted image on the bottom-front of the case. It does not mention how big of an image this can be but it costs $25 for this feature. As a nice touch Fortte also allows you to choose between a silver, gold, or black Fortte shield embossed on the front of the case at no cost. You also have the option to have no shield.
The first thing most users notice about the Fortte cases is the bold logo on the front of the case. As we mentioned above you can change the color of the logo for free. You can see a picture of the default silver above. Personally I think it adds a nice sophisticated touch to the case.
The case we are reviewing is a basic business black as you can see above. As we mentioned above the front of the case can be customized. The first things you note in this case compared to the 8800 case from RIM is that the leather is of a much higher quality. It actually smells and feels like leather. The other difference is the snap close on the top of the case compared to RIM’s magnet closure. I feel that the snap would be a matter of preference. Personally I only closed the snap when I put the case in my bag. The inside of the front face is also padded and I actually found that it cleaned my BlackBerry screen when I placed it in the case. The earth magnet inside did a good job of turning off the BlackBerry when it was placed in the case. I did find that when you put the BlackBerry in the case too fast it may scroll the trackball on your 8800 which may effect emails that you were in the middle of reading. I have had this problem with most cases so maybe it is just advisable to not shove the BlackBerry in the case.
Above you can get a closer look at the snap closer. You also see that the snap does not block the power and mute keys. It does cover the speaker phone but I found that did not degrade the loudness of ringtones.
The left and right side of the case have openings for the USB, headphone jack, and volume controls. You can also use this cleared area to pull the phone out of the case.
The main drawback of this design is that as you can see above the right and left sides of the case are sown with the leather facing inwards. This gives the phone a tight fit but makes it harder to remove the phone from the case. As you can see from the screen shot above, the phone actually has to push the leather out when you put it in the case. This makes it more difficult to put the phone in the case compared to the elastic sides on RIM’s original case. There are two cutouts on the bottom of the case so that you can push the phone out of the holster.
The last feature of the case is the belt clip. It has a nice strong metal clasp that is covered with leather. The only downside with this ratchet belt clip is that there is about half an inch give in each direction even when it is locked in place. This means that when you have the case on your belt you will find the ratchet moves a little. (The picture of this did not actually come out so I will post it again later)
- Full grain leather
- High quality construction
- Multitude of customization options
- Nice and secure snap closure
- Belt clip ratchet does not lock into place tightly
- Sides of case make sliding the BlackBerry in harder.
Conclusion: The Fortte case is a nice compliment to a BlackBerry 8800. It offers many customizable features that can really make it stand out in the crowd. Fortte builds quality cases and with the exception of the two cons above this is a great case. By the way shipping rates in the USA start at $7.95. We will be reviewing a few more of these cases in the near future so stay tuned.