02 – Review: SIMPLE.BE Answer 400 holster

For the first time in this blog’s history, I’m voluntarily promoting something that I purchased. Well, possibly I’ve promoted other things before – like lenses, cameras, and other photographic gear – but I have never recommended purchasing something. Until now.

Anyway, since getting my Nokia 1520, I’ve had issues carrying it. The phone/phablet has a 6″ screen and it couldn’t exactly fit into my pants pockets. I had modified a small Lowepro camera case and clipped it to a belt loop, but it’s pretty dorky when even *I* feel dorky wearing it, and trust me, I never feel dorky considering that most of my wardrobe consists of shirts obtained from IT and professional conferences.

The thing is, the Lumia 1520 is so big that no off-the-shelf phone holster could hold it properly – I needed something that was custom-sized to handle the phone and the case that I’m using. A tool belt or an “EDC pouch” (EDC being code for “I’ve got a gun in this tactical-looking pouch!”) were the only viable options and I needed something that didn’t announce, “I’m here to fix things and put bullet holes in them afterwards!” So, a bit of searching on the Interwebs led me to SIMPLE.BE and a custom-sized Answer 400 holster. Cost? $29. Not bad. Not cheap, but not bad.

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I sent the company the horizontal and vertical circumference of my phone in the case and several weeks later, the holster arrived. Everything fits perfectly.

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The 3″ nylon webbing isn’t stiff at all – in fact, it’s quite flexible. I had initially feared that the material would be rough and would scratch the screen, but after closer inspection, the weave of the webbing is quite tight and uniform – I didn’t see any imperfections in the material at all.

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I had also feared that the velcro would be strong and loud, but luckily, the velcro patch is the low-profile and quiet kind – the type that I would see on workout clothes. Also, the velcro patch on the flap covers the entire width of the flap, but the patch on the holster is smaller – just enough ‘grab’ to keep the flap closed.

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The back of the holster is flat and won’t catch onto my pants. I’ll most likely wear the holster with the phone screen facing me and not facing out and luckily, there aren’t any pieces of material that would cause undue stress on the screen when worn in this orientation.

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The case was also measured *just right* as seen in these pictures – there’s not a lot of wiggle room here in the vertical dimensions, but that’s a good thing.

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There is just a little bit of ‘give’ for the horizontal webbing, which is perfectly fine since the flap will keep the phone firmly in the holster.

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Here, you can see that the vertical webbing actually has two layers. For strength? structure? aesthetics? In any case, the dual layer of webbing doesn’t compromise the flexibility of the nylon.

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The flap and the belt loop only has a single layer, which is just fine.

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And here it is, worn on my jeans. The letters are backwards because I had to face a mirror and take a picture this way.

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From the top, this is what it looks like. If I stand straight with my arms to my sides, the holster sits just a little bit behind my left arm. This is a great position for walking and moving about, but when I sit, I have to be conscious of the holster and the phone and I have to move it forward a little bit so I don’t sit on the phone. I still need to be careful.

Anyway, I’m glad I got the holster. I don’t have to wear a silly camera case or a sweater with big pockets anymore. I think when I decide to move on and get another phablet – let’s face it, our electronics don’t last forever – I’m going to get another holster from SIMPLE.BE. The folks I dealt with were tremendously helpful and responsive. Also, they handcrafted everything in Portland, Oregon, so it feels good knowing that I supported a small business.

Do I still have a big-ass phone? Yes, obnoxiously large. However, I don’t care what the naysayers say – once you get such a big screen, it’s really really difficult going to anything smaller.

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