I’m not much of a leather guy. I’m not much of a belt clip holster type of guy either. However, all that changed when I saw the Blacksmith-Labs Bruno Belt Clip Holster. Blacksmith-Labs is a company born from a Kickstarter and still appears to be going strong. Their philosophy is “based on the concept of modern minimalist, focusing on the fundamentals of the design without unnecessary elements” and you’ll definitely get a sense of that once we take a close look at the holster. The case we’re looking at today is for the Samsung Galaxy S5, but Blacksmith-Labs also has the case available for Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and Samsung Galaxy S4.
What’s in the box
Opening the box of the Bruno holster, you immediately get the sense you’re about to experience something unlike most other phone accessories. The box is lined with velvet, which you unfold to reveal the Bruno holster.
Blacksmith-Labs calls the Bruno Collection the “ultimate expression of our design philosophy”. The body of the holster is created from a single piece of leather and hand-stitched where required. As you might expect from a holster/pouch accessory, where the phone is always completely shielded, there isn’t anything extra included in the box besides the holster itself; no screen protector, no screen cleaner. As you can probably tell, even just from the photos, the Bruno holster is absolutely made from real leather, which gives it both a very distinct look and distinct smell.
On the rear of the holder, there is a 360-degree rotatable belt clip, which you can use to hook the holster onto yourself. We have the Gunmetal Grey variant of the belt clip here, but you can also choose to have the clip in Brushed Gold. Speaking of finishes, the Bruno holster that we have here is the Chestnut Brown, but you can also get it in Black, Burgundy, Blue, Dark Cognac and Natural Leather. The holster we have here will set you back $79.95 USD, while some of the other leather finishes, depending on the leather used, will cost up to $119.95 USD.
How does it perform
The function of the Bruno holster is as simple as you would expect; after you insert your Galaxy S5, you secure it inside the pouch by pulling down a leather strap and fixing it to the metal stud that adorns the front of the holster. It’s not the most secure mechanism you have ever seen, but it does do the job. For everything else that isn’t your phone, there is also a front pocket which can hold a whole number of things as it is quite wide including your credit and business cards, cash or even a charging cable.
The fit of the pouch is actually pretty loose so you can stick your fingers right into it to to fish your Galaxy S5 out. As for whether you can fit in your Galaxy S5 and a case: you might be able to get away with a very thin case, but anything thicker won’t cut it. But not to worry as Blacksmith-Labs also offers a version of the holster specifically for a Galaxy S5 and case (this appears to only be available for the Galaxy S5 so far) which will give you that extra leeway to fit in your device with protection.
While the Bruno holster is handcrafted, the workmanship is of a very high standard. I initially had concerns about how strong the stitching was, particularly the stitching around the belt clip, but it looks to be of good quality and should last quite a while (assuming you don’t start getting into extreme sports). And the great thing about a handcrafted accessory is that you know that it is unique, which is pretty special. As you might expect from a full body pouch, the Bruno holster is reasonably protective, and if you’ve chosen to get a holster made of real leather, chances are it’s going to be enough for your purposes.
You might be questioning the use of a stud to keep down the only strap that is keeping your Galaxy S5 from jumping out of the holster, but it employs a very simple locking system where you just pull the strap further down and the stud gets locked in a smaller notch that will keep the strap from coming loose. Simplicity is the key after all.
What I like about the Blacksmith-Labs Bruno Belt Clip Holster
There’s definitely something refreshing about seeing a case made from leather and made so elegantly. Sure, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but if it is, you’re unlikely to be unhappy. I’m a big fan of how simple it is and how it looks so unassuming, which really highlights Blacksmith-Labs’ mantra of “less is more”.
Leather pouch aside, I really like the construction of the belt clip. It’s meaty, touch and goes well with the overall theme of the Bruno holster. Furthermore, I really like how Blacksmith-Labs have secured the belt clip, making sure that it won’t fall out, even after time and stretching of the leather.
What I don’t like about the Blacksmith-Labs Bruno Belt Clip Holster
I never like saying that price is something I don’t like about a product, particularly when I think it is worth it, and in this case, I do. However, the prices of the Bruno holsters (either $79.95 or $119.95), particularly the higher grade leather ones, are expensive, so unless this is definitely something you have been looking for, it’s not likely to be your first choice. Having said that, this is what real leather costs, which fans of the material will definitely associate with.
The Blacksmith-Labs Bruno Belt Clip Holster for Samsung Galaxy S5 is a testament to simplicity and function. It uses leather to great effect, which is a welcome contrast given the world of compounds and plastics we live in. If you’ve been looking for a leather holster, or something elegant to store your Galaxy S5 in, the Blacksmith-Labs Bruno Belt Clip Holster is definitely one accessory you should consider.