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The Rhodiana Omnisky/PalmV Case Review
Robert Zach (firstname.lastname@example.org)
First off, my public apologies to the readership and Rhodiana for not getting this out sooner. I recently had a baby and have been out of work for three weeks, following this I had a death in the family. I don't mean to get too personal, just wanted the readership to understand why there hasn't been much action in a month. ;-)
The positive side of this is two-fold; for the readership, I have MANY new and exciting product reviews in progress, and for Rhodiana, I have quite a bit of real world experience with this product!
This case is one of very few on the market specifically designed to house the PalmV/Vx with the OmniSky modem attached.
First off, I am an avid fan of OmniSky, so the idea of finally providing some protection to the combined devices (what I'll call the "unit") is very appealing. And I must say that Rhodiana does this very well.
The case is a form fitting design made of a 1/8" protective Codura type material. The modem attached to the Palm in the normal fashion, and then the combined piece slips into the case. The whole thing is secured around the back with two snaps. There is a protective flip which secures with a plastic clasp and two hand straps on the back to hold the case securely to your hand. This particular model also has a swivel (cell phone type) clip attached to the back and comes with the belt loop hanger.
Here's where I started to have some issues with the case. First, the snap closures require a bit of force, and I was concerned about damage to the unit. After using this case for so long, and never having an issue, I no longer think this is a valid concern.
Secondly, the rubberized plastic strip has cutouts for the power button and the IR port. These make for corners in the plastic that are subject to stress when the unit is removed from the case. Potential tearing points. I wonder why the IR port is even necessary, it is clear plastic, and IR beaming should work fine without it. The power button opening gave me more issues. It needs to be slightly enlarged because it does have a tendency to just gab the button and turn the unit on.
Since I am fond of this case, and the OmniSky in general I surfed over to the eGroups OmniSky forum to read what others thought about the case. I did find a few posts about tearing (this was happening because the buttons tend to snag the plastic while removing the unit from the case), but amazingly ALL of those were followed up with "Rhodiana fixed it for me, and I have not had the problem since." It is a real world testament to their customer satisfaction and support they claim is so important to them on their web site. Obviously it is!
The flip cover on this case has a plastic stiffener added into a pocket (which can also be used to house a business card), and is closes with a clasp. At first I though the clasp a little annoying, but it is extremely secure. It is nice that absolutely no Velcro or adhesives are used in the construction of this case, everything is stitched. In my mind this demonstrates attention to detail and quality. And, the stiffener seems to be adequate for protecting the screen.
On another customer support note, I did see where others thought the stiff plastic insert in the flip cover wasn't stiff enough. Rhodiana also supplied these people with custom made cases with stiffeners inserted. Nice.
The other "safety/carry" feature of the case are the straps on the back of the case. These allow you to slip your hand in and have the unit firmly attached to your hand while doing something such as walking with the unit. Nice feature, but one I really didn't find myself using too often.
One interesting tidbit I found was, that although I though the clasp on the flip a little cumbersome at first, the cover could be slipped in the open position to keep the flap out of the way neatly. Also, the case has a nice loop on the side to hold the stylus. The stylus can be removed from the Palm, it is a bit of a challenge to get it when it is stored there, and slipped into this side pocket; very accessible.
All in all this is a finely crafted case, and the nicest case of it's type to date. Great job Rhodiana!
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