Convertible Review

The Convertible by RoadMate
is a one piece protective screen cover with an integrated stand. It is
compatible with both the PalmPilot (including 2meg upgrade with IR), and
Palm III. It is made of a flexible injection molded plastic and comes in
several solid colors including red, yellow, teal, blue, black. It also
comes in translucent iMac colors like strawberry, blueberry, tangerine and
clear. There is even a leather Convertible cover for the Palm V,
PalmPilot, and Palm III.The PDA is attached to the cover via the hotsync port. A plastic plug
slides into the port with a snug fit holding the cover in place. You have
to remove the cover in order to hotsync though.

Two clips snap into slots to hold the cover in the closed position.
Opening and closing the cover is a two handed operation.

When the cover is closed, it protects the entire screen
except for two narrow slots that the stand uses.
When the cover is open, you can flip it back flat behind the PalmPilot
or just let it hang down.  When I was using the Convertible, I
preferred to just let the cover hang down because it wasn’t as comfortable
to hold when it was folded behind the Pilot. A great thing about this
cover is that it leaves the hardware buttons totally unobstructed when it
is open.

The main feature of the Convertible is that it can double as a stand
for your PalmPilot. To do this, you just open the cover, pull out the
stand and snap the feet into the slots. When the stand is in this
position, it’s at just the right angle for viewing and screen tapping.



Another feature of the Convertible is that it has an opening for the IR port
on a Palm III or upgraded Palm Pilot. This will allow you to use the IR port
without needing to remove the cover.

The Convertible is a nice protective screen cover and stand.

Price: $19.95

Pros:
Built-in easy to use stand.
Available in a variety of colors.

Cons:
Have to remove to hotsync.

Leather Convertible

The Leather Convertible is a leather version of the plastic Convertible
stand/screen covers. They have a version for the Palm V as well as the
PalmPilot, Palm III and Visor.  The Leather Convertible is a stand/beltcase/cover
that you can play through. Unlike the plastic Convertibles, you can leave the
PDA in this cover while you hotsync.


The cover is made of black leather and the PDA is attached to it with Velcro.
The cover is held closed with a snap strap. Unfortunately this snap is on the
screen side of the cover which requires you to press down on the glass part of
your PDA in order to secure the strap. I don’t like this at all because there is
a high risk factor for either scratching or breaking the screen. It doesn’t
require a lot of pressure to close the snap, but any pressure on the screen is
not something I personally recommend. The cover has one business card slot. It
is only somewhat stiff and doesn’t have any type of hard insert that I could
discern.

There are actually two straps on this case. One is shorter than the strap that
holds the cover closed. This shorter strap also has a snap. The idea is that you
can snap the short strap to the longer one and create a stand out of the back of
the leather cover. The back of the cover can fold into a stand-like shape
because it is really 3 pieces of leather that are held together by elastic
bands. This is an interesting feature but I didn’t find myself using it this way
much if at all.

The cover has an elastic stylus holder on the right side. I really don’t find
this useful at all. The stock stylus falls out of this holder and a larger
stylus is too thick for it and would flop around against the side of the PDA.

The back of the case has a slot for an included metal belt clip. This is the
exact same skinny belt clip that the Rhodiana case uses. I don’t mind this clip
on the Rhodiana case because it is attached better and feels more secure. On the
Leather Convertible, the case feels very unsecure on my belt.


Although the leather is good quality as is the stitching, I really don’t like
this cover much at all for my Palm V. I don’t think it really protects enough.
When the cover is snapped closed, it seems like the case is one size too large
because it gaps quite a bit around the PDA. Dust, dirt etc can easily get on the
screen even while the cover is closed. The price is also way too expensive for
what you get.

Price: $49.95

Pros:
Play through.
Can Hotsync while cover is attached.
Access to all buttons.

Cons:
Does not fit snuggly around PDA.
Too expensive.
To close the snap, you have to press on the screen.

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15 thoughts on “Convertible Review”

  1. Great to see review of this type of equipment. Can’t help but think bit like reviewing a Palm 3 when the Tungsten is avail 😀
    Julie how about a test on the Streamzap remote control http://www.streamzap.com that can be used on a multitude of multimedia software. Are there some Streamzap users out there? I have convergence dreams of having my Vaio notebook connected to my stereo and remotely controlling MusicMatch Jukebox mp3 tracks plus remotely controlling WinDVD DVD movies including volume control. What a fantastic solution for the less is more gadgeteer.

  2. Maybe you missed my post above yours but the Streamzap remote says it works with Musicmatch Jukebox along with heaps of other multimedia software

  3. The website for this product keeps saying the SW works with W2K, but when you go to the download section, the LIRC software says it does not support W2K.

    I tried it a few months ago and again with this new “packed” solution.. no go.. I cannot get LIRC to receive a remote-control signal..

    I heard there is something that needs to be done on W2K boxs.. something about diabling the Microsoft IR driver that ships with the OS to release the COM port or IRQ from the windows IR driver grasp.

    Any help..?
    Thanks,
    Fabian.

  4. LIRC software says it does not support W2K.

    Are you perhaps thinking of WIRC by Zorxx? I know that only supports Windows 95, 98, and ME. WinLIRC which is just a port of the LIRC software (lirc.org) does, in fact, support Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP. This is the first I’ve heard of uninstall the irDA drivers, but its possible that is one way to free up IRQs. Traditionally, IRQ 3 and 4 are reserved for COM1/2 use.

  5. Yes, positive on the SW versions and recommended solutions..

    No luck yet on W2K.. yet i know my IR works cuz I can network and sync PPCs via IR.

    If you peek at all the documents for this 0.64 IR software, there are NO procedures for troubleshooting W2K installs.. nowhere, google-news, web, so if you know where i can find some tips.. please shout!!

    thanks

    F.

  6. Good luck to you. irDA (laptops, palm pda) is a different protocol than the infrared the Packard Bell Remotes use. So, how irDA works on your system has little to do with whether WinLIRC may work for you. You might want to checkout the WinLIRC Troubleshooting Guide and that may give you some ideas. If you have a zip drive or internal modem, those items will sometimes contend for the same IRQ. Anyway, check out the link. Thanks.

  7. Great, I’m glad you found a solution — that is most important. 🙂

    May I ask what specific passage from that link made your system work? Its a bit confusing to me from a quick scan.

  8. # FIRST, you should disable standard IrDA drivers, which are installed on some mainboards after enabling IrDA.

    For Windows 2000 I used such a method to delete standard drivers:
    1) Remove following strings from netirsir.inf:

    %*PNP0510.DevDesc% = PNP, *PNP0510
    %*PNP0511.DevDesc% = PNP, *PNP0511

    and replace

    ExcludeFromSelect=*PNP0510,*PNP0511,*IBM0002,*IBM0034,*IBM0020

    to

    ExcludeFromSelect=*IBM0002,*IBM0034,*IBM0020

    2) Add to msports.inf to section [Std]:

    %*PNP0510.DeviceDesc% = ComPort, *PNP0510, *PNP0511 ; Communications Port
    %*PNP0511.DeviceDesc% = ComPort, *PNP0511, *PNP0510 ; Communications Port

    to section [Strings]:

    *PNP0510.DeviceDesc = “Generic Ir Serial Port”
    *PNP0511.DeviceDesc = “Generic Ir Serial Port”

    add

    ExcludeFromSelect=*PNP0510,*PNP0511

    to section [ControlFlags]
    # ONLY NOW enable IrDA in BIOS. Usually you should also enable RX inverting.
    http://www.mediatexx.com/. uICE also supports RX device.
    Use it only as a WinLIRC client.

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