Written: Aug 5, 2003 (Updated Aug 7, 2003)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Some models are getting to be genuinely cheap, all provide excellent protecton.
Cons:A little chunky. Not for the shirt pocket crowd, to say the least.
The Bottom Line: A little bulky (depending on the model), but there's nothing like a plate of metal to make you feel secure about your PDA's safety.
Update: Rating drops to four stars. The plastic bracket inside the case on my Rhinoskin has some very poorly moulded edges that were scratching up the sides of my Ipaq. There was flashing sticking out which should have been cut off at the factory. A few seconds with a needle file and then some fine grit sandpaper fixed this, but you shouldn't have to take a file to a case that's supposed to retail for 50 bucks. Other than that, gloss.
When they first came about the metal Rhinoskin hardcases cost a fortune, but were generally regarded as one of the best. If you could find a Rhinoskin for your PDA you were sitting pretty, and if you couldn't you could probably shoehorn your machine into an existing model anyway.
CompUSA is stocking, for as long as they last, the Palm Visor model of the metal Rhinoskin for $9.99 - A far cry from the fifty bucks that these things cost when they were new. I've found that my Ipaq 2215 pretty much fits in one, and for a quality hardcase you can't get a better deal than this.
I've seen lots of good cases, and I've seen lots of bad cases, and I've seen lots of ludicrously expensive cases. The Rhinoskins are pretty high on the totem pole, with very good fit and finish, outstanding durability, and sensible design. The case has a thick plastic bracket mounted on its hinge into which you slide your PDA. The bracket holds it securely, and lets you swing the PDA out on the hinge to get at your stylus, headphone jack, or memory card slot. Snap the case shut and your machine is protected from drops, impact, crushing, scratches, and dirt by a layer of stiff foam padding and some 20 gauge aircraft aluminum. You should have no qualms about tossing a Rhinoskin cased PDA in your backpack, glove box, purse, or pocketful of keys.
The cases have an attractive brushed aluminum finish adorned with a simple, understated "Rhinoskin" along the bottom. Thankfully, using one of these cases doesn't turn you into a walking billboard for the company that made it. All of the cases that I laid hands on had the same general design with the plastic bracket, full length hinge, and snap closure and only differed in side and shape to accommodate different PDA's.
The only real drawback to using one of these cases is that it increases the size of the brick you have to carry around by a considerable amount. My 2215 is tiny by design, but the case I've decided to cram it into is a less than svelte 3.25x5x1", which is massive compared to the PDA itself. For the protection offered, though, I consider this a very fair tradeoff. Bear in mind that the case I'm using isn't designed for the PDA I'm using. If I actually had a Visor it would be closer to the outside dimensions of the case itself.
Since I got mine for a song, I had no qualms about modifying my Rhinoskin with some power tools to accommodate a spare stylus and my headphone wire. Your opinion on this may differ. Since I got a chance to cut through the stuff, I tell you exactly how durable this metal is: For aluminum, very.
If you can get your hands on one I suggest you pick up one of these clearance priced Rhinoskin's while you can. Even if you do have to pay the modest 19.99 or 29.99 full retail for one of these things its a very worthwhile investment compared to the cost of a busted PDA. Recommended.
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