Don’t get me wrong I love my Palm Tungsten T but finding the proper protection for my ‘baby’ has been my personal quest since the day I opened the box and threw away the TT’s infamous plastic shield. Since then, I have tried and tossed away several cases, some generic and some ‘designed’ for the TT. None have been perfect and I was forced to work with one that was the least offensive, eagerly waiting for the PDA case makers to come to the rescue. The people at Bellagio must have been thinking the same thing as their Slipper case comes close to meeting all my requirements of a perfect TT case.
So what are my requirements for a ‘perfect TT case’? I first consider what I call the ‘Hard Requirements’ if it does not have these features then I toss it. Assuming the case has met my Hard Requirements, I then consider what I call ‘Personal Requirements’ things I’d like from the case to meet my personal use habits. After installing the TT, I’ll show you how the case stacks up against the full suite of my requirements.
Installation of my TT into the case was somewhat difficult perhaps due to a lack of directions in the case I received. But basically, the TT is secured by a combination of spring tension around the top and sides, combined with an extendable leather case covering the TT bottom, as shown in Figure 1 below. To install the TT, I first had to pry the leather-wrapped spring bars apart enough to install the TT top. The fit was very tight and while I am confident that the TT will remain secure in the case, I find it inconvenient to remove and install the TT (which is needed to access the reset hole on the TT back).
The second installation step I performed was to wrap the TT’s bottom in the extendable part of the case. Again, I found this tough to do as the fit is extremely tight. I also had difficulty in getting both the buttons and the universal connector completely exposed. In Figure 2, note how the universal connector is partially covered by the case straps the case was too tight for me to adjust. However, after removing and installing the TT several times, the leather has loosened up enough to making subsequent installations hassle-free.
Protect/Prevent Power-On. The Bellagio Slipper does a fine job in this area. The top and front of the TT are well-protected with extra padding. I have been able to power-on the TT with the case closed, but only from the top and only with a lot of pressure. When closed, the magnetic snap fully covers the universal connector. The bottom corners of the TT are exposed (see figure 2), but the magnetic strap and case corners offer some protection to limit the damage potential to just the TT corners.
Hot-Sync Without PDA Removal. The Belagio Slipper design is unique in that it features what I call a “built-in desktop mode . As shown in Figure 3, the back of the case can be bent back and attached to the front cover with the magnetic snap to allow the entire unit to sit upright on a desk. This configuration also allows the unit to sit snugly in the TT’s desktop charging unit to charge and hotsync without having to first remove the TT from the case.
Use of my portable USB/Hotsync cable was possible, though initially difficult, with the case either open or closed. I say initially, because as with installation, the stiff case leather made it difficult for my cable to make a solid connection with the universal connector. Subsequent connections have loosened the leather to the point of this working without problems as well.
TT Slide Extension Without PDA Removal. This requirement has been the bane of most PDA cases that I’ve tried in the past. The Bellagio Slipper meets this by attaching the separate bottom cover to the case with elastic bands. A problem with this to date is that the elastic bands are a bit too strong my TT will not stay extended unless I hold it. If I let go, the TT slides shut enough to prevent access to the Graffiti area. Time will tell whether the bands lose enough elasticity. But for now, it works good enough for me.
Access to TT Buttons & Ports. With the case closed, both the voice memo and headphone jack are easily accessible. With the case opened, but the TT still installed, the TT top (stylus, power, SD slot, IR) and universal connector are easily accessible. However, the reset port on the back of the TT can only be accessed by removing the TT from the case. I can’t recall the last time I had to do a reset, so this is not an issue with me.
No case can be perfect for all users, since we all use our PDA’s differently. The Bellagio Slipper comes with 4 SD card Storage slots mounted inside the front cover, and two credit card slots mounted in a nylon case that folds over the SD card slots (see figure 1 or 2). I personally do not have extra SD cards to carry around, and I do not carry credit cards or business cards in my PDA case, so these features mean little to me though they may be requirements to others.
What I do like to use with my PDA is a small paper notepad and one of those all-in-one pen/stylus/pencils. This allows me to quickly jot down notes on paper without having to start up the TT, and a good engineer always has something to write with. In cases that I’ve used in the past, I have been able to attach the pen and paper pad to the case. So far, I don’t see how I can attach these accessories to the Bellagio Slipper.
The Bellagio Slipper easily fits into my shirt pocket, measuring a compact 4.5 x 3 x 1.25 . The version that I received also came with a belt clip. The clip is easily attached by sliding a metal post mounted on the case back down until it clicks in place. Removal is done by pressing a button on the top of the clip and then sliding the case out. Note, however, that the clip will not attach securely to pockets or belts wider than about 1.5 inches as it attaches in a clasping mode around the belt rather than the more typical clothespin clips I have seen elsewhere.
Bottom Line: The Bellagio Slipper is a nice compact case that provides decent PDA protection and allows nearly full use of the TT without having to first remove it from the case. My only real complaint is personal in that it does not allow me to attach the accessories that I use (paper pad & aftermarket pen/stylus/pencil). After struggling a bit with the installation, I think Bellagio has come up with a winning solution for us long-suffering TT owners.
Recommend Buy: Yes
Rating: 4 (Out of 5)
Ingenious Desktop Mode
Compact (fits in shirt pocket)
Good PDA Protection (except at extreme PDA bottom corners)
Allows full TT operation (including Graffiti) without PDA removal
Hotsync/Charge without PDA removal
Somewhat difficult installation, no instructions
Does not allow full slide extension on my TT (without me holding it open)
Belt Clip does not securely attach to pockets or extra wide belts
No room to attach accessories such as pens or small paper pads
Dimensions: 4.5 (L) x 3 (W) x 1.25 (H) (closed)
Cost: $39.99 (Slipper), $34.99 (Book)
Construction: TT mounted with spring tension & leather case, 4 SD card slots, 2 credit card slots
Other: Available in Brown or Black, with or without the Belt Clip
Source: Made in Bolivia by Bellagio
You may purchase this case for $39.99 at the Bellagio site.
-Shaun McKee (Vike99)