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Between a Rock and a Hard Case (Series5)

In which inertia is somewhat forceably persuaded to write a review of the Series 5/5mx hard case produced by Palm-Tec.

As I originally wrote the reivew of the replacement ‘skins’ for the Series 5 and 5mx as sold by POS, the only way was to work outwards to the next layer of protection for you Psion machine. There are a number of cases out there on the market but by a small quirk of fate I found myself the proud owner of a Palm-Tec hard case, so here it is.

When you first remove your hard case from it’s packaging, the first thing you’ll notice (and believe me, I know it sounds odd… but it’s true) is that each case comes with a complimentary screen cleaner/cloth. Well mine did.

The cloth is well made with neat stitching and a range of different designs (OK, it’s a cloth Jason - Mike) you mean to say you dont want to hear about the cloth that comes free with the case? - You want to hear about the case?! Is nothing sacred?

Appearance is everything…or is it?!

The first thing that strikes you about these hard cases is that, although they are styled like the Series 5x machines, with groves which match those on the back of the screen of the machines - they look like glorified bricks. Having said that, where these cases make up for their somewhat bulky and brick-like style is that they offer superb protection. The hard cases come, or at least they did when I last looked, in four colours - green, black, red and blue. Looking at the pictures on their site, I had visions of coloured plastic and as a result, was quite dissapointed to discover that infact it was painted with a metalic ‘car’ paint. At first I thought that when Palm-Tec designed their cases, they had based them a little too closely on the original Series 5 - right down to the peeling paint. But, many months on, I can safely say that despite being dropped a number of times, scraped against things and generally treated badly, all the paint is still firmly attached to the case and is showing no signs of giving up (yet).

But do I really need to carry assorted building materials around with me?

‘I don’t honestly need that - do I?!’ - I hear you muttering to yourselves. Well aside from the obvious use when you need something to knock nails in with (and although I havent tried, I’m convinced the case would hold up to the challenge), you’d be surprised what dangerous situations in which you Psion finds itself.

The increase in size which the case gives to your (in this day and age) already rather bulky palmtop is actually the result of a layer of padding followed by a layer of ABS plastic. Only recently, when I was in a physics lesson and in the process of an experiment, I knocked my Psion off the bench onto a concrete floor - a mistake which would have certainly cost me my Series 5 had my case not been there to protect it.

OK… so maybe I’ve been a little cruel…

Throughout this article…review..whatever it is I’m writing, I’ve commented on the poor styling of the Palm-Tec hard case and I think I could possibly afford to take some of it back…no - they haven’t got to me, I do actually mean that. It’s fair to say that the Series 5x hard case isn’t one of the most attractive on the market and if you want something to make your Psion look nice then go for something a little more stylish.

Palm-Tec have themselves realised that this case just isn’t for the fashion consious geek and produce their neoprene range of cases to that end. But, as on the whole, I think it can be said that the hard case is a good comprimise between appearance and functionallity. My Series 5 never goes anywhere without its case and it’s often nice to have that extra layer of protection - for my Psion that is… At £25, this case also offers great value for money when you consider some of the other cases on the market. The big question you have to ask yourself really, is do you want a case which protects your Psion or one that makes you look good!

  • Good protection.
  • Great value.
  • Useful as a weapon...
  • ...not that we've tested it, of course...!

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