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Personality Pack for m505 Review
By Ed Hardy
Parallel Design's Personality Pack for the m505 is a flip cover that has been designed to protect the screen without adding very much bulk to the handheld. It comes in a variety of colors.
I think it was designed for people who keep their handheld in their pocket and don't want their keys or pocket change to scratch up the screen. It's so small, it isn't going to provide much protection at all if you drop your handheld.
It is made of polycarbonate, which is a strong, durable plastic, so the cover isn't going to break easily.
The Personality Pack doesn't cover the buttons. When I first got one, I was nervous that the buttons would be pushed in my pocket, turning the handheld on and draining the battery. No longer. I typically carry my m505 in my front pants pocket and I've made a point of keeping an eye on my battery life. If I put my handheld in my pocket in the morning with the battery at 100%, if the next time I use it it's late afternoon, the battery is still at 100%.
The Personality Pack flips up, rather than to the side. It doesn't flip all the way around to the back. This may bother some people but I never really noticed or cared.
It's held closed only by gravity and the friction of the hinge. After a few weeks of use the hinge no longer offers any friction so, if I hold the handheld face down, it will come open and hang down. I'm not complaining about this; that's how all just about all flip covers work.
There are three notches to help you open the cover. One is in the middle of the bottom and other two are on the sides near the bottom. These were necessary when the hinge was new; now I can flip the cover around one-handed, a la Star Trek.
The Personality Pack doesn't make use of the left slot at all. I wish someone would come up with something to put in there because, with it empty, the m505 is slightly uncomfortable to hold.
It clips onto the top of the handheld and clips into the two Universal Connector slots. This holds the flip-cover on very well. In the month I've been using the Personality Pack, it hasn't shown any signs of coming loose.
The good news is it doesn't block the SD/MMC slot. There is a slot that allows access. The infrared port is covered but it works fine right through the clear plastic. I've beamed stuff and even used my IR modem with the Personality Pack on dozens of times and haven't had any problems.
The handheld fits perfectly in the cradle with the Personality Pack on. The same goes for the Stowaway folding keyboard.
The bad news is it takes up the Universal Connector slots so peripherals that need to use these, like some clip-on keyboards, can't be used at the same time. It also blocks the Reset button. The only way to get to it is to take the flip cover off.
The Personality Pack does add a bit to the thickness of the handheld, especially at the top of the handheld where there is a hinge on the front and the strips on the back to hold it on. At its thickest, it is about .8 inches. But the thickness tapers off rapidly. A side view shows that, starting near its middle, the handheld is scarcely thicker with the Personality Pack on as is it is without.
Even the back looks good, with an arrowhead shape leading down to the two Universal Connector slots.
Parallel Design makes these in a variety of colors. I prefer the clear one but there is also translucent blue, translucent black, solid black, and two clear ones with blue or black hinges. There are over twenty possibilities in colors for the V series so the company could be planning to introduce more.
As its name suggest, the Personality Pack isn't just about protecting your screen. It is also designed to make your handheld look good and better reflect your taste in colors.
Like I said, I think the Personality Pack makes my m505 look great and I've gotten lots of compliments on it, too. If I could have given it more than five Coolness Points, I would have.
Update: I got a confirmation from the people at Parallel Design that the m505 Personality Pack fits the m515.
Because the m500 is thinner than the m505, it cannot use the one designed for m505. The company is working on a model for the m500, though
Like I said earlier, Parallel Design also makes a versions for the Palm V series in tons of colors.
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