Review – JAVOSkin Case & Accessory Bundle for the Axim X30

by Reads (4,165)

The JAVOSkin case from JAVOedge is not a typical case. Most cases are either ‘soft cases’, made out of leather, or ‘hard cases’ made out of metal or plastic. The JAVOSkin would qualify as a soft case, but it’s definitely not leather. It’s rubber.

The JAVOSkin is made out of a soft, durable silicone rubber. You can literally twist it, fold it, even bend it in on itself, and it will snap back to its original form. This makes it scratch proof, non-slip, and impact resistant among other qualities.

Getting the machine in and out of the case isn’t as simple as most other cases. Because of the non-slip nature of the material, you kind of have to inch the case on bit by bit. It takes a little effort, but you have the reassurance that the handheld won’t be popping out of the case. Likewise, you’re not going to be slipping it out on a moments notice either. On the other hand, the non-slip nature of the material means that it won’t slide along a desk or dashboard. It’s not exactly superglue, but it will hang on better and to more surfaces than a traditional case.

Continuing to spurn tradition, the JAVOSkin doesn’t bother with cutouts for the application buttons, power button, or the directional pad. Instead, you just use them straight through the rubber skin. The rubber has textured impressions of the controls on it, so you don’t need to guess where the buttons are in the dark. The rubber skin makes some of the controls feel mushy, but for general use they’re acceptable.

There are cutouts for such features as the jog dial, headphone port, and any other functions which require direct access. Unfortunately, if predictably, the cutouts don’t include the battery compartment for machines with a removable battery. Along with the grippy quality of the material, this makes swapping in a fresh battery a major effort. You need to inch the machine out of the case, replace the battery, then reinsert it

The case comes with an optional, fully removable belt clip. By ‘fully removable,’ I mean that if you don’t want to use the clip then you don’t have to know it was ever even there. The back of the case contains a small metallic plate with a screw-hole in it. The hole harbors the small metal post to which the clip mechanism itself attaches. If you don’t go in for belt clips, you can unscrew the post and be completely free of it.

One thing that the JAVOSkin lacks, that is present on other cases, is some form of screen protection. Metal and leather cases always include some form of flap or door which covers the handheld’s screen. This prevents a foreign object or sharp impact from scratching or cracking the screen. The JAVOSkin has no screen covering built in, so you still have to exercise some caution in how you treat the machine.

The JAVOedge bundle also includes a retractable USB sync/charge cable. This retractable sync/charge cable is a little different from the average one. Specifically, it has a little bit of rubber that’s called ‘strain relief’.

Cable fully retracted.

Prior to this, I’ve had two retractable sync cables, both for my old Axim X5. Within a couple of months of use, the first cable began to fray at the USB plug. Eventually the cable snapped completely, because the tension of the cable being extended was borne entirely by the relatively fragile wire connection.

Cable extended to minimal length.

About six weeks after receiving the second cable, I noticed that the rubber insulation at the USB plug end was beginning to pull out of the plug itself–the first step to a snapped cable. A little judicious superglue fixed this problem, but it remained a potential source of concern.

‘Strain relief’ is the name for the flexible rubber pyramid that you find on all manner of cables between the wire itself and the plug on the end. Its purpose is to take strain placed on the cable–for instance, pulling on the ends to unroll it–and transfer it to the outer casing of the plug. This protects the more delicate wire connections inside the plug from being yanked out. The JAVOSync cable has this, while most others don’t. It’s an important distinction, as my experience points out.

Cable extended to medium length.

Like most retractable sync/charge cables, the JAVOSync can be extended either to it’s maximum length–43 inches, including the plugs–or in smaller increments ranging from 8.75 to 37 inches. Simply take the ends of the cable in your hands, and gently pull on them to unroll the cable. Each ‘tick’ as the cable extends represents a ‘catch point,’ a length the cable will stay at if you release it. To automatically retract the cable, you simply pull it out to its full length again, then allow it to snap back to the self-winding spool.

The last element of the JAVO bundle is a screen protector. Not an ordinary clear plastic sheet, this screen protector resides in the top-tier of protection with premium grade protectors like the PocketPCTechs WriteSHIELD, BoxWave ClearTouch, and Covertec SSP. In addition to just sitting on your screen and absorbing the poking and prodding of your stylus, the screen protector provides anti-glare and anti-reflective properties. This eliminates the mirror-like finish of the touch-screen, providing a more matte look and allowing the screen to display without competing against ambient lighting.

On top of all that, the screen protector is incredibly tough. Very little–short of screws, razor blades, or sandpaper–will seriously faze it. Even if you did manage to scratch it with your combination steak knife/stylus, the material is tough enough that it absorbs almost any damage rather than letting it get through to the screen.

I’ve seen a screen protector of this class that was used day in and day out for 6 months in an environment choked with metal grit from an aluminum grinder. Even with the equivalent of metal sandpaper coating the stylus, the screen protector still functions, showing some wear but never relenting. These things are tough little buggers.

 

Pros:

  • Non-slip surface
  • Nifty removable belt clip
  • Impact resistant
  • Cable has strain relief
  • High quality screen protector

Cons:

  • Using controls can be finicky
  • Hard to swap batteries
  • No screen protection

Bottom Line:

A unique case bundled with some good quality accessories.

Purchase Information:

There are ktis available for many PDAs and MP3 players. The X3 kit is roughly $44. More info can be found here:
http://www.javoedge.com/simtrix/productMtce/jsp/productListValuePk.jsp

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