Review: PDair Vertical Pouch for Nokia Lumia 1020
I've tried every case design and variation over the years, amassing a vast stash of smartphone cases (which I gradually give away!) I do try to be unbiased in my reviews and roundups for the 'All About' sites, but there's one particular style that I keep coming back to because it fits in so well with my lifestyle. The belt-mounted (slimline) vertical pouch may look a little geeky, but with my combination of sitting, walking, driving, forgetfulness and frequent access, it's the one design that ticks all the boxes. Here's the latest tweak, by PDair, for the Nokia Lumia 1020.
PDair's vertical pouches are second to none and I've sworn by them over the years - high quality leather, elasticated sides and a belt clip design that is terrifically strong and ultra-slimline (so the case doesn't stick out from your side and get caught on everything).
Nokia's 768p-screened Lumias are slightly wider than the average smartphone though (by only a few millimetres) and so need their own variant of the PDair case - I'm guessing that this one is the same as supplied for the 920 and 925, for example. Which will bring us, below, to something of a biting compromise, unfortunately.
The PDair case comes smartly boxed (this is premium leather, after all) and explicitly labelled for the Lumia 1020 (rather than just 'Large phone', as you'd get from a market stall case).
The leather itself is immaculately stitched and smells (yes, smells) gorgeous. The padding is over what is probably a cardboard centre, but the whole represents a good balance between weight and strength.
The slight catch comes when you insert the Lumia 1020 and arises because of the 1020's large camera protrusion. I mentioned that there was a compromise here in that the physical design also accommodates the Lumia 920 and 925 - while the latter two phones fit perfectly, there's a slightly awkward issue when housing the 1020.
The natural way to insert the phone is with the 'top' up, i.e. with the headphone jack pointing upwards, but this leaves the camera housing applying pressure on the top half of the case. It's possible I'm being too picky here, of course, but you can see the slightly splayed result below.
Ideally, in this sort of case, you want the front and back faces of the case to be roughly parallel, and it seems somewhat inelegant to have the outer top half being deflected outwards by a few degrees.
My gut feel is that a little more 'give' in the eleastic sides would allow the main case faces to accommodate the 1020's dimensions more comfortably, and of course the elastic is going to relax slightly as the case is used each day, so the situation will improve with wear.
Another option, initially, is to store the Lumia 1020 inverted, i.e. inserting the camera end first, as shown below:
This looks and feels a lot more secure, but it does feel off putting in the phone upside down and, of course, you lose access to the headphone jack (but gain access to the device's speaker).
Are 500 review words over the top for what is, at heart, a simple protective leather sleeve? I don't think so - how I carry my smartphone day in, day out, is critical to my lifestyle. If you're an 'in the pocket' person and are happy to constantly be putting your phone in and out then move on, nothing to see here. But hopefully a number of other Lumia 1020 owners, heading out into the world, will be mulling over the same case options as me - in which case this text has hopefully helped.
The Lumia 1020 is, rightly, something of a Windows Phone 'hero' device - watch this space for more case and accessory reviews.
More details of the PDair Vertical Pouch for Nokia Lumia 1020 here.
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at