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Harderware Palm V Case Review
By Robert Zach (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If what you require is the ultimate in Palm V series protection; the Harderware case is for you!
Consider this case industrial grade. This case was designed on a CAD/CAM machine and MILLED from a solid block of aircraft grade 7075-T651 aluminum. To quote Harderware "the case is not folded, riveted, punched, pressed, injected, molded, or formed. They're machined on a computer controlled milling machine."
This case just wreaks of quality. This close-up allows you to see the precision milled corners, tight tolerance in fit, and the machines in hinges. The case is held closed by two spring loaded ball bearing. WOW!
Here you can see a close-up of the ball bearing closure.
The Palm V is inserted into the case as shown in the picture above. The case is lined in black felt to protect the casing from rubbing as well as make for a quiet ride in the milled case. Inside the case, at the bottom, is a small block of white plastic that is spring loaded. This spring loaded block forces the top edge of the Palm into a lip on the inside top of the case. The Palm is inserted by pressing the HotSync end into this plastic block and catching the top under the upped lip. This lip has a small black rubber strip serving to both grip the Palm securely and protect the Palm from scratches.
I found this case to be EXTREMELY strong. Here's a shot of my 220+ lb. colleague standing on the case. And YES, my trusty Palm Vx IS in the case!
In testing I only noticed two small items with the case. The first is that although the Palm is held very securely in the case, it can slide from side to side. If the case is dropped the Palm will clink the side of the case. I would simply suggest adding felt to the sides of the top half of the case as well, if there is clearance.
The second item is just a minor nit-pick. The picture below shows the opener that is milled into the case. You open the case by wedging your fingers (thumb and pointer work best) into the opening and spreading the case apart with a twisting motion (much easier to do than describe). As you can see in this close up the top half of that opening is milled with square edges, and the bottom with half round edges. As I said a minor nit pick.
The case was thoughtfully created with a hole in the upper Palm restraining lip for the IR port. And, due to the lid being designed with long edges, when the case is open the stylus is easily accessible from the Palm in the case. You will have to remove the Palm to HotSync via serial port, but I can't remember the last time I did that (I always IR HotSync with a laptop).
My review sample (which unfortunately I had to return - I loved this case!), was raw aluminum. Harderware has since added a finishing process to their cases. "All new cases are now being made with a bead blasted Type III hard anodized finish." I'm sure that looks nice, and will reduce scratching in the case itself.
As for price, I usually can't see paying this kind of money for a Palm accessory, but in this case I'm making an exception. The quality of this case, precision build, unbelievable amount of protection, and tech-geek factor (at least for me) certainly justifies the price.
I also have an idea for Harderware's next version. In my constant belief that I have bright ideas (I really don't), I was wondering if a small groove could be milled in the bottom half of the case that traversed the circumference of the case. This groove could then be stuffed with a continuous O-ring type material, and the case be made splash resistant. What do you think Harderware?
Even if they don't like my idea, I give a thumbs up to the Harderware case!
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