---------- ---------- PC Pro Realworld Computing: Paul Lynch - PDAs


I've been using the Psion Series 5 for a couple of months now. In the same period of time both the Psion Series 3 and the Newton had become covered with greasy fingerprints, which had finally polished in and improved (well, I had to think of it as an improvement, didn't I?) the looks of the machines. The Series 5 hasn't become so obviously grease stained, thanks to the rubberised paint covering the external casing. However, it being summer I can't carry it around by dropping it into the cavernous pocket of a tweed jacket, and putting it into the very large pockets of an oversize pair of chinos has resulted in some rather odd looks from people - "what's that? Yes, I am pleased to see you; why do you ask?". So I've been throwing it into a briefcase, and the rubber paint has some slight chips on the edges. Experience with this type of paint in the past leads me to believe that it might stabilise like this, or it might start to peel off in vast swathes. I'd prefer to take action now to prevent any such rapid deterioration.

As a result, I've been looking at cases. The long term Psioneers always favoured the extremely cheap (and multi-coloured) nylon compact camera cases from SupaSnaps, but I rather fancy something just a smidgeon more business like. A colleague of mine is in a similar position to me; he was taken shopping recently by his girlfriend to buy the very last word in business suits, and he has been banned from putting phones or Newtons in the jacket pockets. His girlfriend even found for him the perfect solution: an underarm holster from Tandy. This is reasonably inexpensive, and clips to your belt, or the waistband of your trousers, at two points, so is very stable in position. The pouch will hold any mobile phone, even a Nokia 9000, and most PDAs.

As I don't have such fashionable taste in suits, and don't have such a dominant girlfriend, I've been looking instead for something in leather, preferably black. While I was browsing the web, I came across a British company called Innovations to Industry, who make some attractive cases for various models of PDA, including the Psion Series 5 and Pilot. The cases are locally made of genuinely good quality leather, with high quality stitching that doesn't leave any missed stretches or pulled threads. I have heard good reports on these cases from many other PDA users, especially praising the Pilot Wrap cases. These attach to the Pilot with a strip of velcro and flip open, but don't get in the way when you need to drop it into your cradle for synchronising. Some of the models offer different types of belt clip, even a belt clip pouch that can hold one of the Pilot Wrap cases. The belt loops fit most of the belts I have; the thinner ones I use with suits are no problem at all, but some of the chunkier Western cowboy belts (it's a long story, OK?) are too tall and thick to fit.

The easy open Wrap1 case for Pilots
The easy open Wrap1 case for Pilots

The only criticism that I can make from my own use, which is fairly brief so far, is that the zipped models could be slightly better if they used a double zipper, so that the zip puller doesn't get lost around the back of the case. these cases are definitely worth a look. If you use the Psion Series 5 model, then the external light and voice memo buttons are covered while it is in the case.

Words and design by:
Paul Lynch
Last updated: September 8, 1997

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