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**:The Palmtec 5(mx) soft case: ** In which **Rob** takes an outing at the beach. Disclaimer : As Rob's not a part of the team, we just agreed to post the review, we'd just like to say that this doesn't necessarily reflect our views. All legal threats, death threats and general nastiness should be aimed at the author. Oh, and we suppose good stuff can be as well. The address can be found at the bottom of the review.

Once upon a time…

Imagine yourself sitting on a deserted beach, the sun filtering through sparse palmtrees overhead. The call off a lonely gull passing overhead as you recline back into your deckchair, your faithful series five clutched in your hand. When suddenly you realise you are sitting only three metres from a helicopter which is in the process of taking off (a frequent occurrence). You attempt to protect your precious palmtop as best you can from the waves of sand kicked up in the helicopter’s wake, to no avail. Your pride and joy is ruined. It’s at times like these when you wish you had a handy case to protect that expensive investment indispensable to your life. But should it be the Palmtec neoprene soft case? That’s the question we hope to answer.

Don’t Believe the Hype

The Palmtec neoprene case claims to be the most stylish case on the market, offering the best protection [for a soft case – Inertia] for your Psion. It also claims to be built to the same high quality as a leather case, but more robust and for a fraction of the price. Don’t be lured in by the sweet sounding words though, read this no-nonsense review before making any rash decisions.

A Brief Tour:

In order to give the whole effect of the case I guess we'd better familiarise you with the case itself first:

- The neoprene case can be ordered from a choice of lively colours to dazzle your friends with. This fabric provides very good protection for the precious machine contained within (think wetsuits). The robust zip allows easy access to your machine as well as providing a method of keeping the case shut. - The inside lid contains several smaller 'pockets'. On the left a 'card holding' section allows storage of business cards and note-sized pieces of paper. On the right sit two pockets ideal for the storage of compact flash cards or back-up batteries. - Behind these lies a compartment ideal for the storage of all those annoying papers that clutter your pockets. On the base can be found the Velcro-attatchment pad designed to hold your Psion firmly in place. When you receive your case the Velcro strip to stick to the base of your machine can be found here. - In the spine are two elastic holders capable of holding spare batteries or a spare stylus quite well while still allowing the case to close. - The interior has a leather-like finish which stops your coveted pride and joy from being scratched in any way. This case has several large advantages and lot of small disadvantages, lets get to the crunch: **The good stuff** There are many useful storage pockets including handy spaces for Flash cards and the helpful elastic in the spine capable of storing, well, a lot of useful extras, e.g. spare batteries, spare styluses (just in case). It is just about feasible to fit a 3½ " floppy in the larger back pocket. As well as being surprisingly inconspicuous, if you find walking down the street with your Series 5 gets you strange looks (please tell me it's not just my haircut), the protective neoprene greatly lessens the well observed "ARGHH IMMINENT SCRATCH" reflex whenever your precious Psion machine is exposed to the elements. The case is really very robust, though don't try to test it (throwing it out of a plane is probably a bad idea). Coupled with the super-strength Velcro pads supplied which mean the chances of opening the case and dropping the machine inside are slim (as are the chance of getting the machine out of the case). The zip handily allows easy closing and opening of the case (after the case has been broken in) which is always a good thing. By far the biggest advantage is the very friendly, helpful customer service department of Palmtec, ready to see to your every need. **The annoying stuff** In their infinite wisdom the designers of the case have seen fit to make the Velcro pad large enough to completely stop you accessing the back-up battery or the D drive. D'Oh! I recommend a large pair of sharp scissors. Just don't stab anyone with them in your frustration. These experienced people have also made the case hug the machine so tightly, fitting anything more than a few bits of paper in the handy pockets is virtually impossible (that could be bad if you want to use the spaces for flash cards to hold more than one flash card). Don't be dismayed if after about five minutes you discover what looks to be a rip that's developed in the 'card holder' section. It appears to be the result of the terrible world cotton shortage at the moment not permitting this to have been sewn up. The only other annoyance is the absence of more elastic holders to secure the various useful psioneer equipment in the spine of the case. In itself not really much of a problem.

**So, what do we think?** Would I Buy it?.... I think so, at the present time it is the best quality soft case available in my opinion. It offers reasonably good value for money, though the design flaws do pull down the mark. Summing up:

- Easy to use, your mum could probably figure it out. - Offers great protection, no more cringing whenever you take it out. - Extremely cool and stylish. - More functions than a Swiss army knife.

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© Michael Rhodes and Jason Morley 2000-2019.
We're not associated with Psion in any way, shape or form.
In fact, they've probably never heard of us. Just so you know.