Review: Sony mylo bookstyle case

The Sony mylo personal communicator may never be fully embraced by the masses, but it was given the "Best of Innovations 2007" award in the wireless communications category at this month’s CES 2007. Third-party accessory manufacturer PDair must have sensed the honor coming because it had already been selling mylo accessories for months.

One such accessory is the bookstyle case. Officially called the Book Type case, it’s available in both black and white and retails for $28.

Mylo_case_main

Read on for my full review.

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Packaging
I’ve become accustomed to poor presentation with cases, so PDair’s simple yet professional packaging is a nice surprise.

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You may remember that the Sony Vaio UX leather case came in a plastic bag, so this company-branded wrapping paper is quite a treat.

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In addition to the wrapped case, the box contains a removable beltclip.

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Design
The first thing you’re likely to notice about the folding case is its jellybean shape. The "leather" is slightly cushioned and the stitching is (relatively) even, giving the case a look of quality.

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Mylo_case_comp

The outside of the case is unassuming, with tiny cutouts corresponding to the mylo’s built-in speaker and the beltclip attachment on the back.

Mylo_case_openout

The inside is not as simple-looking because of the large Velcro rectangle in the center and the clear plastic strips coming out of it. The contraption holds the mylo in place and enables in-case use.

Mylo_case_openin

Figuring out how to use the straps to secure the mylo isn’t difficult (they slide under the screen, lie over the keyboard, wrap around the mylo, and are secured with the Velcro), but a simple set of instructions wouldn’t hurt either, especially because the case seems upside down. The extra flap (the part branded with PDair), for some reason, hangs above the mylo instead of below it.

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The plastic is thin but it affects the typing experience a bit. Surely there’s a better way to handle this.

Mylo_case_keyboard

Fit
Despite the odd-looking straps inside, the case is thoughtfully and carefully designed for the mylo. The initial fit is a bit tight: the front flap needs to be pulled for the magnetic closure to click shut, often causing the mylo’s sliding display to slide up a bit. The issue resolves itself after a few open-close cycles, but it is a little off-putting. I don’t think a customer’s first thought should be one of regret, thinking the case doesn’t fit.

Mylo_case_front

Mylo_case_back

The snug fit is evident by the circular indentation next to the PDair branding caused by the mylo’s 4-way controller and center button.

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The case has an open design, so just about every button and control on the mylo is accessible when it’s closed. The USB 2.0 port is the only thing that’s covered.

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Comparison
Here are a few shots of the PDair case on top of the lovely neoprene pouch bundled with the mylo. The bookstyle case is a lot smaller than the pouch, as you can see, but the height of the cases with the device inside them is just about the same. So much the same, in fact, that it wasn’t worth a picture.

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Conclusion
Like most gadget cases, the PDair bookstyle case adds a bit of bulk to the mylo. It also leaves the majority of the mylo’s sides exposed, which enables in-case use (yay!) at the expense of full protection. Given the mylo’s large spring-loaded switches, though, the case couldn’t really be made in any other way. I don’t mind the exposed sides because, to be honest, the mylo doesn’t need a case at all. Perhaps it’s a different story with the black mylo, but my white one seems scratch-proof. I’ve been using it almost daily since September and it still looks brand new. I would probably feel more secure throwing the mylo into a bag if it were in its neoprene pouch, but this case suits my daily non-commuting needs just fine.

The case is well made, reasonably priced (I got mine for $25 on eBay), and nicely designed. The plastic inner straps are weird and feel as though they could tear if abused, but once the mylo is in there, there’s really no need to ever mess with the straps or even take the mylo out again. Good thing, too, because I’m not particularly fond of the plastic (cheapens the look of the case) or the Velcro (reminds me of those "ripper" wallets everyone had when I was in intermediate).

And call me an unreasonable label whore if you must, but one of the reasons I’m not completely gaga over this case is its lack of external branding. A part of me likes the minimalism, but another part is completely aware that if Sony had made the case, "Sony" and "mylo" would be splashed all over it. And god help me, I would absolutely love it.

Thanks, L4C!

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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