StylusCentral Week: Aluminum Case for the palmOne LifeDrive

by PocketGoddess on July 15, 2005

I’ve long been a fan of aluminum hard cases for mobile electronics. They’re extremely light, yet they offer the best protection available for delicate devices such as PDAs and cameras. The aluminum case for the palmOne LifeDrive is no exception to that rule.

Aluminum Case for palmOne LifeDrive, front Aluminum Case for palmOne LifeDrive, open Aluminum LifeDrive Case, back

The front of the case looks vaguely like the LifeDrive it was designed to protect, with an indentation around the screen and a raised area where the hard buttons reside, under the screen. The case is book style, opening to the right. There’s a very small hinge on the right side, and the clasp that holds the case closed is on the left, along with cutouts for the voice recorder and screen orientation buttons. Those cutouts seem to be a bit larger than necessary, but that’s a minor quibble. The bottom of the case has the cutouts you would expect to see for the headphone jack, charge/sync port, and reset button. The top of the case is basically open, so that you can access (or lose!) the SD expansion card and stylus. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the small piece of aluminum on the top of the case rises straight up from the back, it isn’t curved to closely fit the edge of the device. I assume this is to provide some extra protection if the LifeDrive is dropped and happens to land on its top, but I would prefer that it was angled to fit the device. The back of the case is perforated by several long cutouts arranged in a rectangular pattern. This provides extra ventilation for the device and also ensures that the sound from the speaker isn’t too muffled to allow you to hear alarms. A small screw hole serves as the attachment point for the optional belt clip.

Open up the case and you’ll see that you can slip the LifeDrive into the case through the opening on the top. The device is held in place by four small metal “overhangs” and that the entire interior of the case is lined in black Neoprene. Once the LifeDrive is in the case, it’s held quite strongly and there’s no fear of it coming out accidentally. There’s not much reason to remove it from the case either, since you have full access to all of the buttons, the SD card slot, headphone jack, charge and sync port, etc. Removing the LifeDrive is rather simple though, just push a bit on the bottom of the device to get it started, then slide it out of the top of the case.

Aluminum LifeDrive Case, from the side Aluminum LifeDrive Case, bottom view

The lid features two SD card storage slots, which is pretty handy. I’m not exactly sure why they’re oriented as they are though; following the illustration you’ll find that you have to insert the card upside down in order to use the slot. I don’t really like having the contacts exposed on the card, though it’s unlikely the card will be harmed while it’s being stored on the lid. It does cause problems though if you frequently switch cards and bought them from the same manufacturer–the label is upside down so it may be difficult to tell the cards apart without removing them from the slot.

That’s a relatively minor complaint compared to just how thrilled I am to have my new LifeDrive as protected as possible. While leather cases are more luxurious and stylish, I typically choose to keep my devices in aluminum cases, even though I’m not particularly hard on my mobile electronics. I don’t toss them around or drop them, but I still like knowing the peace of mind that comes from opening the case without ever having to worry about seeing a cracked screen on my “primary brain!” The Aluminum Case for the palmOne LifeDrive is a great value too; normally $24.99 but currently on sale for just $22.99. That’s an absolute steal when you consider that the hard case being offered by palmOne is perhaps slightly nicer looking, but sells for twice the price at $49.99. If you’re with me and would rather save your money for that 2GB SD expansion card or whatever peripheral/accessory you keep eying, head on over to the StylusCentral online store and pick up the Aluminum Case for palmOne LifeDrive at a bargain price.

5 out of 5

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