Review – HP iPAQ 1900 Series Leather Case by RhinoSkin

by Reads (5,323)

If you re not enamored of the nouveau industrial look of aluminum then the classically styled lines of the RhinoSkin leather flip case may just be what you are looking for.  

 
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First impressions

This is one elegant case.  Impeccably made, conservatively styled, it s drawn several admiring glances.  The stitching and details are neat and the quality of the materials is excellent.  When closed there is access to the headphone socket, and the infra-red sensor/record button.  There is also, for some inexplicable reason, access to the battery cover removal slide button.  Let s put it down to thinking ahead for future use for when HP puts a different button there!  Because it s a flip style case there is no access, when closed, to the synchronization connector.  The RhinoSkin logo is discreetly embossed on a small oval stud on the front cover.

The PDA fits into the case nicely.  However, because it s leather and therefore flexible, the outer rim that holds the PDA doesn t always align precisely with the buttons.  A minor and easily compensated for nuisance that looks like it s more problematic than in reality and everyday use it turns out to be.  That same flexibility allows relatively easy pressing of the buttons.  On the other hand the record button is more of a challenge.  The infra-red port is nicely revealed but the cutout obscures half of the button.  If this is a feature you use often you ll most likely have do so with the PDA out of the case.  You ll need to slip it out also to synchronize and/or charge via the HP cradle anyway and fortuitously the iPAQ slides in and out smoothly, with relative ease.

The case closes with a solid and secure snap button which remains tightly fastened.  When closed it provides a nicely sized solid feel to the encased iPAQ that fits in the hand comfortably.  The PDA is adequately protected on all sides and the flap provides a solid cover for the screen and buttons.

One nice feature is the removable belt clip stud which, when used, is secured inside the case by a precisely fitting flap which is held closed by Velcro.  Considering that this is leather the interior stitching and details are quite remarkably neat and well finished.  The belt clip stud protrudes through a circular hole and marries up to the belt clip into which it snaps into place through spring load prongs.  A button on the clip, when firmly pressed, pulls back the prongs to release the PDA which is otherwise held tightly with no possibility of accidental release.  If you favor wearing your PDA on your hip, this system will ensure it s still going to be there when you need it.

 
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As can be seen in the picture there is Storage for two SD cards and also a couple of credit cards.  Underneath those is another pocket the full size of the lid for anything you d care to slide in their, such as a business card or two.  Not enough storage for everything you might need to get you through the day but certainly convenient.  The Storage slots are a little finicky to use initially but you can be sure that when whatever you choose to store is in, it stays put.

In Use

As always there s a downside to encasing an IPAQ 1900 series PDA at all.  Use it for any amount of time without and putting it in a case makes it feel twice the size.  But, as anyone who travels knows, there s an equally important downside to leaving that same slender lightweight iPAQ unprotected.  If you have to compromise you may as well do it in style.  Using the PDA in the flipped open case is easy and the grip it provides is firm and secure and should you prefer to use it unclad then slipping it in and out is no chore either. 

 
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Still looking new, after a few weeks of constant use, would seems to suggest that this case will remain smart and wear well.  The edges still look good and the stitching remains immaculate.  No loose threads here.  Similarly the flap snaps closed securely and feels tight and solid.  With the lid flipped open the case fits comfortably and naturally in the hand and is easy to hold securely while using the iPAQ.  The usual caveat applies when the case is closed, in that you can t see the indicator light or hear the reminder chime unless the latter is on high volume and you re in a quiet environment.  Don t count on your PDA reminding you of your next appointment, or to pick up chocolates and champagne, as you barrel down the highway or hustle through the airport or train station.


Pros:

Elegant, classical styling
Excellent finish and stitching quality
Nice fit and provides good protection
Protects from accidental button pressing
RhinoClip removable post and belt clip system

Cons:

Lightweight, but enough to make the iPAQ 1900 feel heavy in your pocket
Cutout alignment adequate, but not perfect
Pressing the on/off button can be awkward

Features:

 Premium quality leather
 IR port and Record button accessible when closed
 Cutout for USB synchronization cable connection when open
 Storage for two Secure Digital (SD) cards
 Storage for two credit cards

 
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StuffBak Loss Protection Service:

RhinoSkin includes a StuffBak label with this case.  This is a virtually indestructible label that you stick on your PDA.  You then register your unique label number, free of charge at www.stuffbak.com, or by telephone.  Should you be unfortunate enough to misplace your PDA and a Good Samaritan finds it they can return it for a reward of merchandise and you pay a fee of $14.94 plus any shipping required and your precious PDA comes home.

 
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Owners may also offer a cash reward and, most importantly, you only pay if you use the service.  Note that, as the name implies, you can stick a StuffBak label on anything you want to, not just a PDA, but cell phones, wallet, laptop and so on can all stand a better chance of being returned should you lose them.  An added bonus that s well worth considering if you are prone to misplacing things and it would be hard to beat the price of free unless you use it and retrieve your treasured PDA.  In which event it would undoubtedly be well worth the modest fee.

 
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Bottom Line:

A nicely made, well styled case that complements the iPAQ 1900 series design and that is fit for any occasion from boardroom to breakfast table.  Tough enough to stand up to daily wear and tear while remaining good looking and without adding undue heft to the lightweight PDA.

Price:

Available for purchase online, at www.saunders-usa.com/rhinoskin for $34.95 or, see where to buy at the same web address.

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