InnoPocket Metal Deluxe PDA Case (Palm Zire 71 & Toshiba e740/750)

Reviewed by: Jack Reikel, send e-mail
Published by: Inno Pocket, go to the web site
Requires: Palm Zire 71 or Toshiba e740/750
MSRP: $33.50 (Zire 71), $29.99 (e740/750)

A review of a PDA case? Uh huh - and in case you didn't notice, the last time anyone looked a Palm Zire 71 costs $299 and a Toshiba e740 costs $399. You better have a decent case to protect the investment. Most of us know this, but in the quest for ever more protective storage and carrying devices for our PDAs, MP3 players, laptops and sundry other electronica, there comes a time when you have to stop making comparisons and actually buy something. In fact though, most people who use the aforementioned gadgets already own several cases which simply didn't work out. They were either too cumbersome, too difficult to allow quick use of the device being protected/carried, or otherwise flimsy or poorly made. So I declare here and now that I'm one of you - and I use my own Palm Zire 71 for everything imaginable. I have two favorite cases for it which are both used extensively - an EB Cases custom leather model with magnetic closure & Slipper belt clip, and (now) the Innopocket Metal Deluxe case with custom mount & protective liner.

Why two cases? What's the difference? The EB Cases model is used strictly for vacation travel, casual travel (the kind where I'm going from mall to mall, store to store with the kids with no briefcase and pockets already stuffed with wallet car keys, etc.). I need the PDA during such times for lists, drop-off appointments., telephone numbers and you name it. The Innopocket Metal Deluxe is strictly business on the other hand. With its hard shell, clean lines and easy-open friction snap, it can sit in the car, in my briefcase, get banged around in the most abusive manner and still come up with a completely protected and unmarred PDA for use at a moment's notice in meetings, in my office (I use the Palm calculator, DateBook 5 and SuperNames database constantly along with SplashID, Palm Reader and BDicty), and on the road when I'm traveling on business (literally every week).

The Innopocket Metal Deluxe PDA case is a matte aluminum formed case which is custom designed, molded and fitted specifically for the Palm Zire 71. Innopocket also makes custom fitted metal cases for the Palm Tungsten T/W & M500/1xx, the Sony SJ30/33/NX60/70, HP iPaq 1910,2210, the Toshiba e740/750, and the T-Mobile. We use a Toshiba e740 at Kickstartnews for a variety of purposes so StylusCentral sent us an Innopocket metal case for it as well.

Installing the PDA in one of these cases is simple. Slide it down through the top of the open case and two pressure springs snap gently into the stud recesses in the back of the PDA, holding it firmly in place against the unobtrusive retainers on both sides of the bottom shell. The cases have carefully machined custom cut outs for the PDA's power button, stylus slot, headphone jack, HotSync or ActiveSync connector and expansion slot. The edge finishing on the cases is excellent - very smooth with no burrs, no wire edges and no sharp corners or running edges. The surface of the cases are pebbled, which serves to reduce visibility of fingerprints and also provides a good grip when carrying and using the cases.

We used the Zire 71 and Toshiba e740 cases continuously for over three weeks and were delighted with the amount of wear & tear we could heap on them. After three weeks of daily - often hourly - use, we couldn't find any dings, dents, scratches or other things which might detract from the clean look of the cases. The Zire case did not impede our use of the PDA's built-in digital camera - the mounts gripped the Zire firmly enough so that pushing up the PDA body to open the camera did not also shove the PDA out of the case. Nice.

The Zire case features two storage slots with retainer clips for carrying extra expansion cards. The e740 case does not offer any additional storage - a bit of disappointment considering the amount of portable data which can be jammed onto these things (photos, documents and so on) and which PDA users routinely carry on additional SD and CF cards. The high density resilient padding in both cases is very gentle to the finish on your PDA. The padding is thin but quite dense, resistant to abrasion and does not collect dust or lint (which helps keep your screen clean - PDA screens are serious dust magnets).

We were repeatedly surprised by the strength and rigidity of the case aluminum. We dropped heavy binders (by accident) on both cases on several occasions, but we failed to scratch or otherwise harm the cases and of course the PDAs were well protected too.

Cons: Adds some bulk to the PDA physically and visually. Metal can get uncomfortably cool when case is used outside in cold weather. No expansion card storage in the e740 case.

Pros: Beautifully finished - excellent machining, cutting and forming - no sharp edges of any kind, and PDA is securely clipped in place. PDA retainer clips are built into the case and nothing scratches your expensive PDA. Accurately cut openings for power switch, speaker, stylus and sync connector. PDA can remain in the case while HotSyncing. If you're interested in protecting a PDA worth hundreds of dollars, the InnoPocket Deluxe Metal Cases will do the job. Recommended.

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