Contact Info:

Rhinoskin Bottom Line:

The Price:
  • $50
The Pros:
  • Small size and light weight
  • Can HotSync Palm in case
  • IR port still accessible

The Cons:
  • Not very attractive
  • Costs more than competition Ratings*:

*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms

Rhinoskin m500/m505 Molded Aluminum Hardcase Review
By Ed Hardy

The Rhinoskin Molded Hardcase is made from anodized aluminum and has the traditional book-type shape. It is 4.75 by 3.5 by .75 inches and weighs only 2.5 ounces.

The exterior of the hardcase is thin aluminum. It gets much of its strength from its design. The cover has several large ridges on both front and back that make it stronger in the same way that corrugating cardboard makes it stronger.

While a more protective case is a good thing, these ridges do make the case a bit thicker than it would otherwise be. On the outside, the case looks kind of industrial. The Rhinoskin logo has been stamped into it in raised letters.

When the case closes, it makes a fairly good seal though I wouldn't call it water-proof by any stretch of the imagination. The top edge of the case has been shaped so that the infrared port can be used and the stylus can be removed relatively easily.

The cover of the case doesn't fold all the way around to the back. It goes just a bit past open flat.

The palmtop is held in place with a rail that fits into the left slot. This case has been designed to fit not only the Palm m500 series but the V series as well. This must have been a bit of a challenge because the slot on the left side of the m500 series is much smaller than the one on the V series. Rhinoskin dealt with this by supplying two plastic pieces that fit over the top and bottom of the rail to enlarge it to the size the V series needs.

I know someone will ask so I tried putting an m505 in with the Vx adapters on and using the right channel slot. It fit but not very well. I wouldn't recommend it as a permanent solution. Besides, that would leave you with no place in the case to put your stylus.

I know some people who had the original version of the V series molded hardcase complained that because the rail fit so tightly, it stretched out the stylus slot to the point where it was unsuitable for other uses. The rail seems to fit tightly into the m505 but not any more tightly than the other cases I've used with it.

Because it has been designed for three different sized handhelds, it fits none of them perfectly. (Don't forget there is a size difference even within the m500 series.) The m505 doesn't rattle around or anything but there's some extra space inside the case.

Inside the case is a thin lining to give the handheld a bit of a cushion. This is cut out where the Up/Down buttons are to prevent the case from pushing them and keeping the device on all the time.

Like I said, the IR port is accessible when the case is open. The serial port is reasonably usable, too. You can open the case as wide as it will go and move both the front and back off to the left and insert the handheld into its cradle. But this won't work if the cradle is on a flat surface because the bottom of the case takes up too much room. I put the cradle at the edge of my desk so the Rhinoskin case can hang off the edge and it works fine. This doesn't work with my Stowaway keyboard, though. The handheld has to be taken out of the case to use that.

The main idea of a hardcase is to protect the expensive handheld inside. I think the Rhinoskin Molded Hardcase provides a decent level of protection. It will probably protect your Palm if you accidentally sit or step on it. They advertise that the Neoprene lining will protect the handheld if it gets dropped. But this case is a compromise between the convenience of not adding too much bulk to the handheld and providing serious protection. I wouldn't, say, drop an m505 in this case out of an airplane and expect it to survive. But how often is that going to happen?

I think this is a good case. It's light and gives the handheld some much-needed protection. Appearance is in the eye of the beholder but I say this hardcase isn't the best-looking one on the market. At $50, its also a bit more expensive that the competition.

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RE: PALM should cut a deal with PC makers
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 12:35:58 PM #
Anything that Palm can do to secure their place in the market is a good thing!

I agree with the editor on the Rhinoskin case. I ordered one, the fit was not perfect for the M505 and the workmanship was rough. I mailed mine back after only two - three days. The case from Kennsington in quite nice. I am using that case now! also I tried the case from Franklin Covey, not impressed! still waiting for the case I ordered from Overseas!


I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 12:35:58 PM #
I agree with the editor on the Rhinoskin case. I ordered one, the fit was not perfect for the M505 and the workmanship was rough. I mailed mine back after only two - three days. The case from Kennsington in quite nice. I am using that case now! also I tried the case from Franklin Covey, not impressed! still waiting for the case I ordered from Overseas!

RE: Comments
PFloyd @ 10/25/2001 1:29:01 PM #
Just a note about Rhinoskin/DirectCase in general. Their customer service is excellent. I had problems with a Vaja syncable case not syncing and they were completely willing to swap for any other case. No penalties or hassle at all. I ended up with the Molded Aluminum case in the end and have been very pleased with this company. (This was with a Vx. Haven't got the cash together for a case for my M5xx yet.)

RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 3:14:18 PM #
I have the Franklin Covey case and it is perfect. It closes tight and wont flop open. Although it is pretty susceptable to light scratches.

Just my $.02.

Willi G.

RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 3:51:37 PM #
Yes the Franklin Covey Case does look nice but is prone to light scratches and not quite a solid feel like the Kennsington! thanks for the comments

It's true that Rhino Skin is very good and I had no problem in requesting my RMA!

Like I said earlier, I have one case coming from HongKong and will report on it later. Thank you!

RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 4:56:14 PM #
I received the Innopocket from Hong Kong over a week ago and have to say that I'm really impressed with it. Fits more snugly than any other case I've looked at, and looks much better than the Rhinoskin. The only real complaint I have is that it is a little tough to open at first, but has gotten a little better with time. Other than that, the Innopocket is great.

In terms of protection, since I mainly want it to protect my m505 from being sat on and denting the back (which I've already done, thank you very much), it does that well. But if I were to drive over it with my car, say, I'm not sure if it offers THAT kind of protection, nor do I plan to find out.


RE: Comments
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 10:06:40 PM #
Thanks for the comments Allen, I hope to rec that case soon from Hong Kong!

step on it!

scat_sweeney @ 10/25/2001 1:13:42 PM #
Yah, but can you step on it?

(inside joke:

Commit random acts of coolness.

RE: step on it!
Berliner @ 10/25/2001 3:46:15 PM #


...Wherever you go, there you are...

Yup, not as good as the Kensington

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 3:15:08 PM #
If you want a great case you will love, get the Kensigton that was reviewed here previously. It is the 4th case I have tried for my m505 and it is definatly the best by a longshot.

(At least if you want to keep it in your pocket. The scribble case is THE protective case to get but it sure is bulky. Kensington is the best all rounder and it is tight fitting and I love the top opening feature.)


RE: Yup, not as good as the Kensington
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 3:49:05 PM #
RE: Yup, not as good as the Kensington
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 6:49:57 PM #
I bought a Kensington and returned it in two days. Although the case fit was nice, and it nicely fit on my shirt pocket!, the case rubber siding scratches off too easily. I did not buy a Plam case to protect the case. The rubber molding is removable with your fingernail. Also, the magnetic closure is nice , but if I dropped it, I don't know...

RE: Yup, not as good as the Kensington
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/26/2001 10:11:11 AM #
You should buy the Scribble case if you are worried about dropping it or about scratching it up. That case is the most protective thing you can buy for your palm.

Personaly I don't care much if the rubber stuff comes off, at $30 I can buy a new one if it gets looking too ratty. Besides, I have had it for 2 weeks now and the rubber stuff has not shown even a hint of wear.


RE: Yup, not as good as the Kensington
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/26/2001 11:55:37 AM #
Question: Yes, but does the Scribble case fit the left rail on a 505, or does it have to be velcro'ed in?

RE: Yup, not as good as the Kensington
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/26/2001 5:32:54 PM #
It fits... I have one, love it. It's a little larger than the Rhinoskin, but it will protect your Palm...

RE: Yup, not as good as the Kensington Or Smartercase
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/29/2001 1:22:02 PM #
Check our Smartercase for a good protective case.
Julie "the-gadgeteer" stood on the case & it showed no ill affects.

Saw one, was unimpressed

JohnPGatti @ 10/25/2001 3:19:37 PM #
A friend of mine had one for about a day before he returned it. We were both unimpressed with the fit. And it was just too bulky. He is still using the leather flap and waiting for parallel design to release their m505 screen protector. I am using the InnoPocket version, which fits extremely well and is very small. But the paint scratches off so easily it is bare metal in two spots after only a month. The quest for the prefect case continues...

RE: Saw one, was unimpressed
JohnPGatti @ 10/28/2001 7:31:24 AM #
Ok, actually I have stopped using the InnoPocket as well, and I am also back to the leather flap. The InnoPocket is starting to really squeak now when it opens and shuts. The sound really gets on my nerves. It's a shame. I keep hearing the Kensington is good, but I just don't like the top flip design.


I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 3:21:17 PM #
I wonder why the lining is cut out for the up/down buttons. On my m505, pressing the up/down buttons does not turn the unit on... pressing the app buttons does. But then again, I don't have this case.

What I do have is the Kensington case. It is good insofar as it protects my 505 and I don't have to fear about putting it in a pocket. However, while others have said it doesn't add a lot to the form factor, I feel it does (maybe I'm picky). The 505 in the Kensington case makes it heavier and larger than the Palm III I had before.

I like the Palm-included leather flap as far as size and form factor are concerned. However, I cannot put it in a shirt pocket and so much as bend over to tie a shoe before the pressure presses one of the app buttons and my palm chirps at me incessently. Grrrr.

My first concern is certainly to get a functional protective case to carry around in pockets and not have to worry about (the Palm-included leather cover is completely unusable). My other desire is for the most slim, svelt case/cover possible. It seems that these two concepts are diometric opposites, and no one has been able to make such a case. <sigh>

Please let me know if you know of any.

PS: I looked into the EB slipper, but apparently it's also fairly easy to apply pressure to the case to turn the unit on. This was never a concern with my Palm III and it's rigid cover. I could even keep it in a back pocket (never sat on it, of course) and wouldn't worry about "click, click, click, click, click... hey I'm on here!!! click, click, click." Hehe.

RE: Why?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 3:47:45 PM #
PPS: Does anyone know of a hack that will prevent my palm 505 from turning on when pressing any of the app buttons. This would help tremendously, but I haven't been able to find one.

RE: Why?
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 4:14:00 PM #
> I wonder why the lining is cut out for the up/down buttons.
> On my m505, pressing the up/down buttons does
> not turn the unit on... pressing the app buttons does.

Doesn't pushing the up&down bottons on the Vx turn it on? This is for them.

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 4:21:59 PM #
> Does anyone know of a hack that will prevent my palm 505 from turning on when pressing any of the app buttons

Try StayOffHack. I had to find it at Handango. Haven't been able to reach PalmGear for days.

RE: StayOffHack
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 5:33:48 PM #
Found it. Thanks (a bunch). I will give it a try.

Unwanted button press
aleclee @ 10/26/2001 12:54:17 PM #
When I first got my Rhinoskin, the neoprene lining pushed my ToDo and Notepad buttons, running my battery down in a big hurry. It pushed them hard enough that there were actually button-shaped indentations in the neoprene.

After I cut out the neoprene over those buttons all was well. It works, but that's pretty horrid design or quality control.


RE: StayOffHack
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/29/2001 9:54:07 AM #
UPDATE: I love this program!!! Have used it for a few days now (thanks, Anonymous). Haven't worried about my m505 coming on from accidently pressing the buttons, at all!

I highly recommend it for anyone who is in the circumstance I found myself (see "Why").

too big

mj6798 @ 10/25/2001 5:10:51 PM #
I bought one and promptly returned it: it's too big. With that case, an m500 is about the same size as a Palm III. What's the point of buying a small Palm?

I just put the m500 in my pocket the way it is, with its little leather cover. It seems to last fine. And if it breaks in a year or two, it's probably time to ugrade anyway.


I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 8:31:03 PM #
I've had RhinoSkin's molded aluminum case for my Vx for almost 2 years. I loved the case. When I purchased my m505 last week, I ordered the RhinoSkin case for it. I was expecting the same tight fit as with the Vx. Boy, was I disappointed. I had to bend the rail so the m505 wouldn't slip down and the gap around the Palm is a waste.

I'm going to look at the Kinsington.........


RE: Disappointed
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/25/2001 10:10:24 PM #
Good choice Thad! the Kenn case is a ok. I hope the rubber will last, even ed@palminfocenter placed that concern. I use the Kenn case some of the time!

RE: Disappointed
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/22/2002 4:36:55 PM #
I agree. I had a Rhinoskin for my Vx and have now bought one for my m505 and I am VERY disappointed in the fit (the rail fits well, but the case is too roomy inside - my m505 rattles around in there!

Time to get a Kensington!

Rhinoskin case is durable

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/26/2001 12:04:41 PM #
I actually like this case. I had several leather cases and found that they did not really protect my palm. Plus they had an annoying feature of turning on unexpectedly (due to the app buttons being pressed).

I'm not a big fan of things that clip to my belt, so I put this in my pocket. With the rhinoskin, I can very easily slip it into and out of my back pant's pockets. I've sat down with it there and had no problems with the screen breaking or my palm turning on.

Just my 2 cents worth

RE: Rhinoskin case is durable
DAK @ 10/26/2001 3:22:27 PM #
I agree. However, I have a m500 and it rattles in the case unless I add to the foam inserts.

So the search continues...............

Case too expensive? Shipping costs are even worse

I.M. Anonymous @ 10/26/2001 2:47:08 PM #
25 dollars to ship an already overpriced case to Europe? That makes it cost 75 dollars....

If only one could buy the cheaper Kensington case in Europe or order it online for a reasonable price...

Kyocera SmartPhone

PIC mobile user @ 3/18/2002 12:15:48 PM #
Why bother trying to protect fragile Palms & Visors? I've dropped my Kyocera SmartPhone a few times on pavement with only scratches to show for it. (I've broken previous Palms dropping them ONCE on CARPET.) If only Palms were made to the same high durability requirements as cellphones. Get a smartphone 6035. (See my review on Amazon.)

Aluminum Case for m105?

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/14/2002 3:46:28 PM #
Does anyone know if an aluminum case exists that will fit my new m105 Palm? So far, I've only found leather/fake leather or a top only covering in various colors. There is an aluminum case for the 505 version (or whatever it is - it doesn't fit).

I know this is not an expensive Palm, but it's my first one and I want to get the hang of it before upgrading. my problem is I can be rough on small mobile items (my poor cell!).

Any assistance would be greatley appreciated!

Thanks. Annie



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