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PDA Protector for the Palm By Kensington Microware

Review by Frank Siegel, Ph.D.

Kensington Microware, Inc carries a line of computer accessories. One of their newest is a stylish aluminum case for the Palm V/500 series. I have been using this case daily for over a month now, and, with one exception, find it a wonderful solution for me. It looks cool, feels good, and, with one minor exception, works great.

 I’m using a Palm Vx, which has a stylish, sleek housing. However, as a long time Palm user, I have found that the device needs protection. The last broken screen, the result of a very short fall, resulted in a $100 replacement charge. Although the Palm comes with a cover for the screen, this provides minimal protection.

 There are many after-market cases available for the Palms. Most cases attach to the Palm with Velcro, which is cumbersome, and may interfere with resetting the device. Often, the cases interfere with beaming, hotsyncing, or removing the stylus. In addition, most make the palm too large to fit in a shirt pocket. Although there are some slip cases available, these provide minimal protection. Finally, there are some rugged metal cases available. Most of them look like they were made in a high-school shop class, and I find them very ugly.

  Text Box:  Kensington’s new PDA Protector is a sleek, stylish aluminum case with a “rubberized” surface. It is easy to hold, and has a sensual feel. The cover, held closed magnetically, flips up ala StarTrek communicator. The cover folds back far enough to permit beaming. This case, unlike some others does not interfere with the stylus. The Palm is securely held by the sides, and requires NO VELCRO. While the case covers the hotsync port, the Palm slides out easily for syncing.

 The PDA Protector increases the size of the Palm only slightly, adding only about one quarter inch to the width and depth, and three-eighths of an inch to the height. It still fits in many shirt pockets. It does make the palm slightly heavier, by about two and three-quarter ounces.

 My only problem with the case is that if my Palm is left on when the case is closed, the cover may depress the scroll down button. This results in changing the date on appointments, and also will stop the Palm from shutting itself off (draining the battery). You can hear the Palm clicking through the case if you forget to turn it off before shutting the case. I don’t know if this will happen with other Palm or Handspring models, or is a problem with this particular case.

 All in all, I really like this case, and am willing to put up with the annoyance of having to turn off the Palm before closing the case. This problem may be solved with a very slight redesign by Kensington.

 The PDA Protector is available in a two-tone, Platinum/Silver or Blue Ice/Silver combinations, and has a lifetime warranty, which is always welcome. The estimated price is about $30, which makes it a good buy.



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