Metal Deluxe Case
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USB HotSync Recharge Cable
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InnoPocket Palm m500 Products Review
By Robert Zach
InnoPocket recently announced two very useful products for the Palm m500 series of handhelds. These two products are the m500 USB HotSync/Charge Cable and the m500 Aluminum Hard Case.
Let's start with the hard case. The m505 has recently become my new best friend. I have forsaken my long trusty Palm Vx for the m505. I had always said once color was available in the V series form factor I'd be in. Yes, I'd like a screen as bright as my Prism, but the m505 is still one sleek and solidly made machine. I love it.
Well, such a fine handheld needs some great protection for its beauty. Enter the InnoPocket m500 hard case. This case is the most recent advancement in InnoPocket's line of aluminum hard cases.
The "Metal Deluxe Case for Palm m500" series handheld is made of 100% aircraft aluminum with a thin neoprene lining. The lining has cutouts for the buttons and provides some shock and scratch protection while holding your Palm securely in place. The aluminum is 'extruded'; meaning it is not folded anywhere like other cases (it's pressed out of a single piece of aluminum) which adds to its rigidity. This case is amazing light at only 45g - no sense in ruining that svelte Palm m505 body. Finally, the case is anodized (an aluminum hard coating process) black; this hard coloring adds strength to the finish to avoid scratches to the aluminum - and it looks good.
The case also has a nice cutout in the back which allows access to the SD/MMC slot. I personally would rather do without this slot (and avoid the dust infiltration), but I can see if SDIO cards become available (such as the Palm announced Bluetooth card) this cutout will be very welcome as it will allow such extended length cards to remain in the Palm while in the case.
The case also includes a cutout for access to the stylus as well as an integrated closure mechanism; both are very welcome and well constructed features.
The only two concerns I had with the case are around the hinge mechanism. In past cases this was an aluminum rod that slid into the left-hand rail on the Palm V series cases. For the m500 series it's a skinny (thanks to the unequal diameter rails in the m500) plastic rail. The way it is made it also serves as the hinge pin for the case. I have found that the stylus rail is very tight and sometimes in pushing up on the stylus to release it, the left rail will slide off the case. Maybe a more snug fit can be fashioned for the case's rail.
I am also concerned about the longevity of the hinge mechanism with it being plastic. So far these really aren't issues for me at all, but I thought I'd point them out in case you were expecting an aluminum rail/hinge as in other cases.
The next new product is the m500 series USB (there's a serial version too) HotSync/ReCharge cable. I can't imagine life without this cable. I job requires that I travel regularly and am therefore away from the cradle for long terms. With this cable, who cares!
I now use SyncWizard and this cable to drop files directly to SD and perform application installs. All the while, the Palm is getting a 'top off' re-charge. What could be more convenient? I now have put the original cradle back in the box and in storage.
This cable is just wonderful; fast, reliable, and no additional software to operate thanks to Desktop 4. I didn't test the full recharge time for the cable because I don't think that's the intended use. I see this as more of a sustained charging device.
About the only issue I have with the cable really has more to do with Palm's design of the "Universal Connector" than InnoPocket. The cable simply snaps on to the connector by two tiny metal clips that fit into two small holes in the connector. This is hard to explain, so look closely at your Palm's connector and notice the two square holes alongside the actual connector pads. I have found that if the cable connector has any pressure from the back it can easily lose contact with the HotSync pins. I usually just lie the Palm face down and I never have this issue.
In short, these are two excellent products that I highly recommend. And the price, once again from InnoPocket, is just terrific!
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