Monday, September 22, 2003
Targus HP1000 Professional Protective Case Reviewed
Posted by Dave Beauvais in "HARDWARE" @ 09:00 AM
When HP announced that an extended battery would be available for their h5000 series iPAQs, one of the first questions asked was if there was a case that would work with this battery attached. For a long time, the answer to this question was "no." Then, Targus and HP worked together to develop a hard case that would not only hold all sleeve-capable iPAQs all the way back to the 3600 series, but would also accommodate the extended battery of the newest h5000 series iPAQs. The result of their work is the Targus HP1000 Professional Protective Case.
Description and Features
The HP1000 case is constructed of a hard, yet flexible black plastic with a black synthetic leather insert on the front cover which is embossed with the HP logo. The back panel of the case can be removed and replaced with either a smooth solid piece or a panel that includes a belt clip attachment. There is a single slip of paper included with the case which contains usage instructions on one side and warranty information on the other. As a geek, I'm ashamed to admit that I actually had to read the instructions to figure out how I was supposed to swap out the back panel of the case. :)
Figure 1: The Targus HP1000 case laying open.
There are openings in the top and bottom for easy access to all of the various ports and connectors of all the iPAQs with the exception of the expansion sleeve connector. Since this case is designed for a "naked" iPAQ, there's no need to expose the sleeve connector since no sleeve could attach while using the case. While testing this case, I used my h5455 and a friend's 3955 and found that the headphone jack, sync connector, reset button, stylus, infrared port, microphone, SD slot, and the h5455's antenna nub and fingerprint scanner were all easily accessible. About the only thing I had a problem with was the record button. I found it very difficult to press because of how much the case surrounds it. The 3955's record button was easier to press than the h5455's, but that's true even with no case. Still, if you use the record button frequently, that could be an annoyance to you.
Figure 2: The top end of the case with an h5455 inside. Note the easy access to the stylus, Ir port, and SD slot.
Figure 3: This is the bottom end of the case with an h5455 inside. The headphone jack, sync connector, and reset button are all accessible. You can also see the latch that holds the front flap closed.
The rigid front flap of the case will protect the display against some pretty serious impacts, I suspect. It did not flex much under pressure and is thick enough that bumping into the corner of a desk or table would probably not shatter your LCD. The flap is attached to the body of the case by two thin strips of plastic and can be removed entirely during use, if you wish. The flap latches to the body of the case with a small "lip" on the lower edge. At first, this didn't seem to be as secure as other cases I've used, but it never opened accidentally during use, so it should be just fine for most users.
The sides of the case have raised "bumpers" which I suppose can help prevent damage to the side of the iPAQ which is left exposed as you can see in Figure 4 below. Also in that photo you can see how much thickness the case adds to your iPAQ. The extra room, of course, is to accommodate the extended battery. (Or a few business cards, as the Targus Web site mentions.)
Figure 4: The side of the HP1000 case with an h5455 inside. The sides of the iPAQ are left exposed and you can see how much extra thickness the case adds to the slim iPAQ to accommodate the extended battery.
Turning to the other side, the back of the case can be removed and replaced with a panel which has a belt clip. Both smooth and clip back panels are included with the case. As I mentioned earlier, I had to read the instructions to figure out the correct way to remove and insert the back panels. It was not the easiest thing to do, but once I got the hang of it, I could do it fairly quickly. Fortunately, it's not likely to be a change you make on a daily basis.
A nice feature of the belt clip is that it can rotate and lock into a horizontal or vertical position, which would allow you to rotate the case out of the way of, say, a seatbelt in the car. Unfortunately, that feature is the belt clip's only redeeming quality, as you will see...