Brando m100 Color Set Review


Product Requirements:
Palm m100/m105

This is one of the few reviews that I will write that comes with a caveat: IF
you have no sense of humor, or if you work in an uptight environment
where a bit of color is not appreciated, then there is no reason for you
to even consider the following product. None at all, in fact, you might as well
quit reading right now.

Still here? All-righty then!

You can say what you want about the recent popularity of bright colors and
see-through case designs for desktop systems and PDAs; but the truth of the
matter is that while such eye candy may not appeal to everyone, there are those
that absolutely love it.

There is a young girl hidden inside of me that loves it, too…

In 1975, when I was 8, my parents bought a kit for me that when assembled,
made a radio that would actually work. I spent many happy hours by myself
building it. I had to wrap copper wire around spools, connect wires, attach
dials; and although the details are a bit fuzzy (in my old age) I remember that
there was an actual crystal involved in the radio’s make-up. Once the radio
portion was finished, I built the battery holder and attached the copper
contacts. Words can not express the thrill of listening to the tinny music that
poured out of my home-made radio’s cheap single speaker. I had created something
that worked, and what was even cooler, was looking at my radio’s components
while it worked – thinking about the electronic magic that was happening before
me. I have never lost my fascination with looking at electronic components. Over
the years, as circuitry has shrunk and electronic gadgets have become even more
complex, the thrill is still there. 

That may explain why the Palm
m100 Color Set
Brando really caught my eye. 
Here’s what you get in the package: A replacement shell of translucent plastic,
a set of replacement buttons, a face-plate & flip-lid, and a set of
replacement screws. Most of the plastic pieces are available in your choice of
colors, including: Black, Pink, Orange, Light Blue, Bright Green, Light Green,
Purple, and Ice

I was presented with the clear and pink combo.

Always game to take something apart and try to put it back together, I
couldn’t wait to get started.

First of all, I did a complete backup (using Backup
) of all my files, knowing that once the batteries were removed my
programs would be kaput. Then, I fought with the screws on the back of my m100’s
black plastic shell. The m100’s shell is held together with torx screws – but
knowing that I wouldn’t need to save them; I didn’t hesitate to use a very
small, very sharp flat-edge screw driver for removal. It worked just fine. Soon,
my case was (figuratively) cracked…

Looking at all of the fabulous circuitry that had been invisible to me
before, I couldn’t help but feel an old familiar thrill… 

My next step was to transfer the copper battery contacts over to the Brando
shell. This is actually the only part of the original shell that you will need
to re-use. They were quite easy to gently pry off, and insert onto their new

Next I lay the pink button network into the holes in the front of the Brando
shell. The loose power button slipped into its slot at the top of the unit. Now
for the moment of truth. With a little bit of pulling, the "guts" of
my m100 separated from their original home. I placed them in the front of the
clear Brando shell, and everything lined up properly. Next, I placed the rear of
the Brando shell over the front, and lined up my screw-holes. Utilizing the
included replacement screws, I was able to use a small Phillips screwdriver to
close the case securely. 

I replaced the batteries, and held my breath…


My m100 turned on, and gave me the familiar Palm logo. So far, so good!

Here are the front and back views of the clear Brando case:

Everything was looking great, and working just as well!

Next, I added the clear pink face-plate 

It was simple to add the clear pink flip-lid, then viola, my m100 was a whole
new machine!

Holding the Brando m100 in my hands, I am impressed with how sturdy the
plastic shell feels. It is obvious the shell was professionally created, and
with the exception of a slight bit of flexing on the very bottom, near the
hot-sync port, the shell does not seem to "give" or creak. This shell
feels as sturdy as the original ever did.

Once the face-plate is added, when you squeeze the Brando shell it will
appear to be flexing, but it is in fact the face-plate moving not the
shell itself. My OEM Palm m100 with the OEM Faceplate had a slight flex to it
also, so this is not anything to get alarmed about. 

One of the main things that I noticed about my m100 was that with a lighter
frame around the screen, an optical illusion was created, making the screen
appear to be larger and less cramped. Maybe I should beg Brando to make a clear
kit for the Kyocera! ;0)


As you can see, the OEM face-plate will still work on the Brando shell, so if
you have already invested in a few, you’ll still be able to use them.

I showed the converted m100 to Sarah, my pre-teen daughter. She had
previously turned up her nose at this particular Palm, even when I had added a
blue (her favorite color) faceplate to it. Suddenly, the m100 was
"cool", and she wanted to play with it. This is a girl that has a Palm
IIIc, but we all know how "exciting" the shell for that Palm happens
to be.

I will be the first to tell you that this Brando conversion in pink is
not something that I would really want to tote around to business meetings.
However, I have enjoyed playing with it and looking at it while at my

There is still something satisfying about being able to look at all
those little capacitors and bits of circuitry, even after all of these years. I
think that this product makes the inquisitive child inside of me happy.:0)

Price: $16.00
Colors available include: Translucent Black, Pink, Orange, Light Blue, Bright
Green, Light Green, Purple, and Ice


Colorful, fun, inexpensive way to customize your m100/105
Makes the PDA’s screen seem larger
Probably voids your Palm warranty :0P
Might spark an electronic interest in pre-teen gadgeteers – having a PDA that
looks so "fun"


Slight flexing on the bottom, near the hot-sync port


Product Information

  • Colorful, fun, inexpensive way to customize your m100/105
  • Makes the PDA's screen seem larger
  • Probably voids your Palm warranty :0P
  • Might spark an electronic interest in pre-teen gadgeteers - having a PDA that
  • looks so "fun"
  • Slight flexing on the bottom, near the hot-sync port
{ 13 comments… add one }
  • TheDreamer June 24, 2003, 3:51 pm

    So you got yourself a Refurbished 5040….I thought about getting one….and I probably would’ve if I hadn’t just bought a new one the week before Mother’s Day. Considering I’ll probably never see the rebate….. And, then there were all the other gadget additions…like new digital camera (now I’m in the buying accessories for it phase :rolleyes:)

    But, I’m thinking I want to get another one soon….before they become too scarce. Though they did reverse their decision to hike subscription fees.

    Have you seen:

    Now I can schedule shows from work, and not be restricted by the 24 hour black out period of

    I need to upgrade my home network so I can get shows off my RTVs faster….my 802.11b WiFi connection tops out at about 260-270 kbps. Plus need more speed to do streaming back from my PC (right now it is real easy way to make my RTV crash….though I don’t know if it is because the show was in medium quality.)

    Unfortunately, nobody seems to make affordable 802.11a bridges…. meanwhile next project is to add more disk space to a PC….probably gonna get a 120GB drive for my fileserver.

    While, having 4 ReplayTVs to replace what I used to use 4 VCRs for…has been my goal….the timing wasn’t. But, fitting a 4th into my setup has its problems…..namely I’m out of S-video inputs (there is only one….but, the 4-way A/V switcher only has S-video on 3 of the 4 inputs….I suppose I could resort to chaining them….actually, the more I think about it….sounds like I want to do this anyways.

    The Dreamer.

  • Julie June 24, 2003, 4:54 pm

    I’m loving everything about the 5040 except that it has a bug with the IR Blaster and my Philips 5500 DirecTV satellite box. I can’t tape or switch to channels that have repeating digits. For example, if I want to watch channel 229 (HGTV), it will drop one of the 2’s and try to switch to channel 29.

    This is a known problem with no fix. I’m thinking about trying to find a another DirecTV box that has a serial connector…

  • TheDreamer June 24, 2003, 10:04 pm

    I assume you already tried fine tuning the IR tuning?

    The Dreamer

  • Julie June 24, 2003, 10:34 pm

    Yes, fine tuning has no effect as it is a problem with this specific Philips satellite box model… lucky me 😡

  • TheDreamer August 12, 2003, 3:24 pm

    So word is that a newer version of 5.0 will contain a fix….though not the current latest release of 5.0 (build 110).

    Though I don’t have one of these boxes (just analog cable)…so I can’t test it when it does come out. Wonder if any of the beta testers have it….

    I got the build 110 on my 5060 (which I only got on July 30th)…..I was having a video issue which they said was fixed in that version, so they got me to try it out. They also wanted me to test it for modem connects, but the software outsmarted me…detected that I had a working Internet connection…and used that for all the actual transfers (but it dialed up the modem and such, and restricted the daily net connects to between 2am-6am…good thing I kept my unlimited local dialing on my phone, I thought about trimming it down to nothing since I’m only keeping it for emergencies, now that I’m playing around with Vonage.)

    My other 3 RTVs are still running build 75. (2 5040s, 1 5160).

    Maybe when the build comes out, they’ll have a special signup in AVSforum for affected users to signup for it.

    The Dreamer

  • Julie August 12, 2003, 5:11 pm

    I saw the message about the fix too. I’m glad as I was going to try buying another sat box from eBay. Now I’ll just wait it out…

  • TheDreamer September 10, 2003, 12:18 pm

    Well, apparently all the new IR blaster codes have been coming out…..which is why a recent or soon to happen net connect will spend a lot of time transfer Replay Zone 12.

    No details on what’s all in there yet….

    OTOH, net connects are failing, but at least the guide is being updated….the 5.1 betas must be rolling out now. Now the goal of this release was to make the software rock solid…..except that they’ve added two new features to it.

    I heard at one point 5.1 got delayed, because they added a feature and it broke. Of course, I’ve been working on an enhancement request in my day job for over a year….the latest round of feature creep has nothing working. Back to programming blind…..when I’m done, maybe I’ll at least see if it compiles :p

    The Dreamer

  • Julie September 10, 2003, 12:22 pm

    That is EXCELLENT news!!!! I haven’t been able to switch (easily) to HGTV and some other channels for months now.

  • TheDreamer October 7, 2003, 2:57 pm

    Well, if you haven’t heard…it’s out….

    5.1 that is….

    ReplayTV Software Upgrade Announcment

    Now to see if I can my 5160 to get the update before Thursday….seems trying to record too many back-to-back episodes in Medium causes it to lock up. I want the 5.1 improved Standard mode….along with less lockups.

    Though I normally use Medium on the 5160, because I have the space…and use Standard as my default on the 5040s/5060…. Though I am kind of low on space on the 5160, because there’s some 100 hours of stuff I don’t know when I’ll get around to watching. Some stuff was as old as May (shortly after the last time I did a factory reset on the box).

    The Dreamer.

  • Julie October 7, 2003, 3:17 pm

    Thanks for the news! I sure hope this FINALLY fixes my problem with changing to channels with consecutive duplicate numbers!!!

  • TheDreamer October 7, 2003, 5:13 pm

    Accord to this message….

    It apparently does….

    The Dreamer

  • Julie October 7, 2003, 5:29 pm

    Yeah baby yeah! 😀 😀

  • doteltech October 17, 2003, 2:08 am

    I just got mine today. Costco had 1 left, $150 with no activation. Grabbed it today at lunch. Activated it at work (shhhhh don’t tell my boss) I have 50 mintues till I’m off and get to play.

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