Ever had one of those moments when everything seems to go in slow motion or freeze? I ve had a couple once when I was in a terrible car accident many years ago. The other one happened yesterday when I dropped my wife s SJ33 onto the concrete floor of our garage from about 5 feet. There it lay, probably as stunned as I. My wife s pride and joy had just met Mr. Concrete and it was all my fault. But guess what I had just put her Little Precious inside one of the new Metal Deluxe Cases from Innopocket. After careful examination, I doubt the SJ33 even knew it had faced death and won. For those of you looking for top-notch protection without sacrificing PDA accessibility, I highly recommend a Metal Deluxe Case from Innopocket.
The Metal Deluxe Case (MDC) offers a rare combination of impact protection, PDA operation without case removal, and style at a reasonable price. Innopocket claims that the MDC is 100% made of anodized aircraft grade aluminum. I m not a metal expert, but after surviving a five-foot drop onto a concrete floor without a scratch or dent, I ll take their word for it the case is tough. But anybody can make a tough case. Can I still use my PDA while encased in body armor? And can I afford it? Oh yeah.
But before I even get into discussing the case itself, I d like to first mention two seemingly minor yet nice points about the MDC. First, the case comes packaged in a plastic case that does not require scissors or a blowtorch to open. Secondly, this is the first case I ve reviewed that came with directions. So simple to do, yet I ve yet to see other case makers do this.
Installation was a breeze, and thanks to the included instructions I was assured of easy and proper installation. Figure 1 below shows the instructions to the left of the case and my wife s SJ33 prior to installation.
Figure 1. Installation
The MDC holds the SJ33 by latching onto the attachment slots built into the back of the SJ33. To install, simply insert the SJ33 into the MDC, slide a locking tab on the back of the MDC into the Lock position (see Figure 2), and the SJ33 is securely attached to the case. Note that other cases have tried to use only this attachment method for the SJ33, but the result was poor, as the SJ33 tends to flop around inside the cases. The MDC overcomes this nicely with a neoprene lining that grips the SJ33 and keeps it firmly in place within the case.
Figure 2. PDA Locking Tab
The finished product after installation is shown below. Note that the SJ33 can be installed with or without the plastic flip lid that comes with the SJ33. The SJ33 s lid does not attach to the MDC lid, however, and I found it somewhat difficult to open the SJ33 lid. But with her longer fingernails, it s not a problem for my wife. Plus she likes the pretty blue SJ33 cover and refuses to give it up. But that s another story :-}
The finished product is shown in Figure 3 (open) and Figure 4 (closed) below. Note that the MDC lid does not fold back behind the case the maximum opening position is what you see here.
Figure 3. Installed (Open)
Mounted behind the MDC lid is a torsion spring that applies just enough force to keep the MDC lid from flapping around it wasn t so strong that it snapped the lid shut. Keeping the lid shut is a pair of pressure tabs that, combined with the torsion springs, keep the MDC securely closed. Measuring in at 115.5 x 83 x 30mm, or just slightly larger than the SJ33 itself, the MDC fits into just about any space that the SJ33 would by itself. Weighing in at a mere 60 grams, there s no need to worry much about any added weight from a metal case either.
With its smooth aluminum finish, my initial thought was that the MDC might be too smooth and thus prone to dropping. Not so, as there are small gripper bumps on both outer sides of the MDC to help ensure a secure grip.
Figure 4. Installed (Closed – Top)
Access to the SJ33 features while in the MDC is top notch. All, and yes even the reset port on the back of the SJ33 is accessible without first having to remove the PDA from the case. Starting from the top, Figure 5 shows the memory card slot, audio jack port, and IR port are all easily accessible and functional within the case. Figure 5 also shows the MDC has cutouts for the jog wheel, back, and power buttons on the SJ33 side. Note the gripper bumps located to the rear of the side cutouts are also shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5. Top & Left Side Cutouts
Figure 6 shows the right hand side and rear of the MDC. Note the cutout for the SJ33 stylus, as well as the same gripper bumps that were shown for the left-hand side. Finally, a cutout is even provided for the reset hole on the case back.
Figure 6. Right Side, Rear, and Top Cutouts
Last but not least, Figure 7 shows the bottom of the case, where the cutout is provided to allow charge/hotsync of the SJ33 without having to first remove it from the case.
Figure 7. Bottom Cutout
So that s the tour a nice case that provides proven (!!) impact protection with minimal added bulk, while allowing FULL accessibility. And the cost? Only $29.90. So what s not to like?
About the only things I can think of are style and protection against the environment. I personally like leather cases as they tend to include slots for accessories (i.e. memory cards, business cards, spare styli, etc) the MDC has none of these. Depending on how you use your PDA determines the importance of this potential limitation. Secondly, keeping everything accessible to you also means keeping everything open to dirt, moisture, etc.. But I think this is a good trade-off (unless you re on duty in an Iraqi sandstorm) as most cases out there offer minimal protection against the environment.
Excellent case that provides proven impact protection, while allowing full accessibility to the SJ33 at a reasonable cost. Well designed from top to bottom. Highly recommend unless you also need to carry spare memory cards or other accessories for your SJ33.
Superior impact protection
Nicely packaged with instructions
Unsurpassed accessibility to the SJ33
No accessory (e.g. spare memory cards, styli, business cards) slots
For further information or to purchase, visit the Innopocket site.