Tuesday, November 1, 2005

LifeDrive cases: Palm vs. Proporta


By James Booth

With the acquisition of any new gadget comes the search for accessories to go with that gadget. In come cases, as in the instance of my Zodiac, available accessories are few and far between. But with a big name like Palm, handheld accessories are relatively easy to find in Proporta's product line.

Because my handheld case doubles as my wallet, I had to have a case the day I bought the LifeDrive, so I settled for Palm's leather flip-style case. It was a great disappointment. There are nowhere near enough pockets, the slots for the SD cards are very loose and insecure, in fact one of them is only half-depth, and I never felt comfortable with the restraint system the case uses to retain the handheld. Then along came Proporta, with a LifeDrive version of their popular Alu-Leather case shown in Figure A.


Proporta's Alu-Leather case for the Palm LifeDrive. (click for larger image)

What is Alu-Leather?

So you're wondering what Alu-Leather means, right? It is Proporta's combination of a typical leather handheld case with an aluminum (or aluminium for our friends in the UK, where Proporta is located) insert in the cover that provides a stiff, armored form to protect your fragile handheld screen.

As you can see from Figure B, the Palm case only has one pocket and uses a loose "sleeve" to retain the handheld.


Palm's LifeDrive case is less than it could be. (click for larger image)

But the Proporta case, shown from two views in Figure C, has ample space for business and credit cards, a sleeve just for your ID, SD card slots that actually hold the cards, and a plastic retention clip that grips the handheld to keep it secure.


Proporta's Alu-Leather LifeDrive case is all that it can be. (click for larger image)

In the figure above, you can see the Proporta logo on the aluminum plate in the cutout. Proporta's case also comes with a removable belt clip. Simply remove the screw that you can see in Figure A, and screw in the knob for the clip. In addition to the flip-style, Proporta also offers the Alu-Leather case in a book-style, wherein the fold is on the long side of the handheld rather than on the short side.

In conclusion

To sum it up, the Proporta Alu-Leather LifeDrive case, available in both a flip-style and a book-style, is far superior to the Palm-branded case. Not only does it offer more features, but also more security in the form of a more secure handheld restraint and an aluminum insert to protect your screen. All this, combined with the removable belt clip and butter-soft leather with contrast stitching earns the Proporta Alu-Leather LifeDrive case 4 out of 5 plugs.


As for Palm's case, it's got nice leather and a nice closure, so I'll give it a 2. I hated that thing.