The Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC is the most unique Pocket PC available today. What makes it unique is its sleeve expansion feature. The iPAQ can be expanded by purchasing various sleeves such as the Compact Flash Expansion Sleeve, a PC Card Expansion sleeve, or even a Dual PC Card Expansion sleeve. This feature is very exciting because it gives the user the choice of which options they want for their PDA. Of course, there is a downside to this… Alone, the iPAQ is small and thin. But once you add an expansion sleeve, it becomes larger and heavier than most people would prefer.
Luckily the iPAQ has a really imaginative community of users and not long after the CF Sleeve became available, the Silver Slider by George Mosquera came to be. He used his automobile body work experience to come up with a solution that would make the sleeve more compact. George took an original CF Expansion sleeve and turned it into a much sleeker version which he called the Silver Slider.
I used the Sliver Slider with my iPAQ for quite a while until another creative person came up with an even smaller CF sleeve modification. This person was Whitney LuBean. His CF BackPack mod became my next favorite. But George Mosquera, not being content with the size of his original Silver Slider, has now created a new version which he calls the Silver Slider III.
The Silver Slider III differs from the original slider in the thickness, width and the choice of an arms or no arms version. The arms are the small plastic hooks
that wrap around the iPAQ body and keep the Silver Slider from shifting position or becoming detached. George sent me the version with the arms to review.
To give you an idea of the size differences between the SS, SS3 and Whitney CF BackPack, you can check out the picture below. As you can see, the Whitney mod does look to be the smallest and most compact of the three.
The SS3 feels thinner than the original Silver Slider but of course it still adds some bulk and size to your iPAQ. Check out the stats below:
Silver Slider III
with Silver Slider
with Whitney CF BackPack Mod
original CF sleeve
|Size||5.11 x 3.28 x 0.74in|
(13 x 8.3 x 1.9cm)
|5.11 x 3.28 x 0.80in|
(13 x 8.3 x
|5.11 x 3.28 x 0.78in|
(13 x 8.3 x 1.98cm)
|5.11 x 3.40 x 1.05in|
(13 x 8.6 x 2.7cm)
|5.11 x 3.28 x 0.62in|
(13 x 8.3 x 1.6cm)
*Thickness measurements taken at thinnest part.
You will notice in the pictures below that the SS3 is quite a bit more narrow than the SS.
Silver Slider III
Original Silver Slider
I found that the new width and thickness really doesn’t translate to a noticeable difference when you are holding the iPAQ in the SS3. I think that the reason why
it doesn’t feel that much thinner is that the boxy edges of the compact flash area are still there. It’s possible that if that area was more tapered that it might make the iPAQ, SS3 combo feel smaller. I feel that the Whitney CF BackPack Mod is more contoured and feels much thinner in my hand.
The addition of the little arms is an interesting touch. They keep the SS3 from accidentally getting dislodged from the iPAQ. However, they are small and feel somewhat fragile to me. I keep expecting to break one off.
If you notice, the left arm (as you are looking at the iPAQ screen side up), has been created and attached somehow to the rest of the Slider. The CF Expansion Sleeve does not have a little arm that wraps around the very top of the iPAQ due to the voice recorder button. So my question is, how strong is this joint where the new material has been added? So far the unit that I’m reviewing has shown no sign of breaking, but it might a concern worth pointing out. I actually like the wider arms on my original SS better.
I’ve got to hand it to George, he does a great job modifying the CF expansion sleeve. The paint job on the SS3 is beautifully done. It’s smooth to the touch and blemish free. All the edges are perfectly sanded and smooth. Nothing about this product sticks out as ‘home brew’. It looks and feels totally professional.
Hardware-wise, the SS3 works just as well as the regular CF expansion sleeve or the original SS. It fits fine on the iPAQ, and CF cards fit fine in the slot.
The Silver Slider III is a very nice modification to the stock Compact Flash Expansion Sleeve. However, it is quite a bit more expensive that just buying the regular CF sleeve. So, should you buy the SS3? If you already have the original SS or even the slightly updated SS2 (not sure how this model differs from the SS that I reviewed… all pictures have it looking just like my SS), I would say that the differences in this new SS3 really don’t warrant an upgrade.
If you don’t have a CF sleeve at all and want the smallest solution available, I still prefer the Whitney CF BackPack. It feels smaller to me than the SS3. It is a little more expensive though and there isn’t a version with arms to keep it from accidentally being knocked off the iPAQ. That said, I would take a look at the SS review, the Whitney CF mod review and this review. Check out the pictures and prices and go from there. All of these products work equally well. It’s just a matter of which one looks best to you.