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The Price:
  • $20
The Pros:
  • Low cost
  • Wide variety of cool looks

The Cons:
  • Uses Velcro

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SmarterCase Review
By Ed Hardy
12/17/2001


Overview
The SmarterCase is a hardcase that can hold any Palm OS model and comes in a wide variety of possible exterior coverings.

Personality
The first thing you notice about the SmarterCase is the huge selection of possible exteriors. This makes it easy to match your case to your personality. While there are plenty of other hardcases out there for handhelds, these all are a "one size fits all" silver or gray. Because they have just one or maybe two possibly two exteriors, they have to appeal to the broadest possible audience.

The SmarterCase I have is a very professional gray twill, which is really more tan than gray. But if I'd wanted zebra stripes or flowers or camo, I could have had that. They also have some covered in leather and lizard skin. I'm not going to bore you with a long list of all the possible looks but just about everyone should be able to find one to suit them.

And if not, they are working to come up with new exteriors. These include ones for sports teams, for kids, and even seasonal looks.

Shape
I know this is going to be a turn-off for some of you but the SmarterCase is not slim. It is 6.0 by 4.0 by 1.12 inches. However, I know a good number of people who don't carry their handheld in their pocket. Instead it rides around in a backpack, purse, or briefcase. These people don't require a super-slim case.

If you absolutely have to have a small case for your Palm m500 or V series, the company is working on one now.

The SmarterCase is held closed with a snap. Inside is room enough to hold any Palm OS model. It's nice to have a case that you won't have to replace the next time you get a new handheld.

One feature I'm not fond of in the SmarterCase is that the handheld is secured with Velcro. Two small tabs need to be glued to the back of the handheld to attach to a larger piece of Velcro inside. I just don't like gluing things to my very expensive handheld. However, this does work very well. The handheld is held firmly in place but is still easily removable.

Another option is to not use the Velcro at all. I used the SmarterCase for a while with a Visor Neo I was testing. As I only had the Neo for a limited time, I didn't think Handspring would like it if I glued anything to it. Anyway, the deep lip on the SmarterCase kept the Neo from sliding out. This isn't nearly as secure as using the Velcro but it can be done.

To one side is a raised area designed to hold a stylus or pen. This is a great place to keep a full-sized pen-stylus combo. That's what I did. There's a bit of elastic here that works fine with a stylus but didn't cooperate with my full-sized pen-stylus because it has a rubberized gripping surface so the loop wouldn't slide over it.

On the back of the front cover is a slot for holding a small pad of paper, good for taking short notes. I think the company should also consider adding some SD or memory Stick slots to this space, too.

Protection
I guess I would put the Smartercase in the mid-range of protection. It will almost certainly protect your handheld through the normal daily bumps and jars but I wouldn't try standing on it.

Conclusion
While not for everyone, the SmarterCase's combination of stylish exteriors and low price makes it an attractive hardcase. I'm especially impressed that even the leather cases are $20. The fact that it's made right here in the U.S. helps, too.

Article Comments

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THis subject for sale

Coyote67 @ 12/17/2001 3:26:48 PM #
Not a bad idea at all. Handhelds are often an extension of people. Much like cars....wait a minute. Personalizing your handheld is a great way to express yourself. Like personalizing your pc case.

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When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.

Description available on ebay

Coyote67 @ 12/17/2001 3:29:27 PM #
Might be wrong...but i think I saw a visor+this case on cnn. Might be wrong though :) http://www.smartercase.com/smarter_camo.htm

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When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.
RE: Description available on ebay
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/18/2001 10:55:05 AM #
Where on CNN did you see it?

No Velcro!!!

Cheap @ 12/19/2001 4:11:15 PM #
I'm gonna start a "Save the Velcro" action group! Is it impossible to make a cheap case WITHOUT using velcro to hold your PDA down? How about nylon/elastic straps or something like that? The price IS right, though - apparently the company has a sense of perspective, i.e., a case shouldn't have to cost almost as much as your PDA to serve its purpose. Tighten up on the size a little bit and it would be about perfect (except for the velcro).

RE: No Velcro!!!
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 9:59:10 AM #
The Smartercase uses extremely small 1/4" square tabs that can be placed such that they don't cover any access ports or reset buttons. The closed case fully encloses the PDA so the velcro isn't completely necessary, but it is nice to know that the PDA won't fall out of the case when you open it!

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