HP 540 series Pocket PCs
The Hewlett Packard Jornada 540 series Body-Suit by Extreme Limit, is a pebbly black leather, wallet style, play-through
case. The model I was presented to review does not have a belt clip, however,
that option is available if you need it.
In case you haven’t heard of Extreme Limit before, their web site proclaims
them to be the leading Japanese manufacturer of bags & cases for mobile
computers. I am inclined to believe their claim.
If you have read my Palm
IIIc Extreme Limit Body Suit Review, you will realize that this review is
more of the same. Extreme Limit continues to put out an excellent product with
superior craftsmanship, for many types of PDAs.
Something I need to point out right now is that
since I consider Extreme Limit’s PDA cases to be among the finest made, I
judge them by a little stricter standard than other “mass-produced” cases.
If you feel like I am getting a little picky, then just understand that
that is where I am coming from.
The first thing you will observe about the Body
Suit is, once again, the contrasting white stitching that goes around all of the
edges. This case utilizes a tab closure, also with the contrasting stitching.
The black pebbly leather is thick and stiff, and has an expensive look to it.
You’ll notice that on the rear bottom right,
there is a discreet Extreme Limit logo.
This is a case that either a man or woman would
be proud to carry, I am thankful that Extreme Limit decided to make this model
available without a belt-clip, as I can now toss it into my gear-bag, without
thinking about if the little metal “button” is going to smack into anything
in there. For all you men out there, you can just as easily toss it into your
As with Extreme Limit’s other cases, once the
wallet flap is covering the screen of your Jornada, it seems to offer quite a
bit of protection. It should shield your screen from any sudden knocks or dings.
Extreme Limit’s cases are very rectangular, and
the Jornada case is no exception. However, because it is coupled with enough
space for your ID and money necessities, the case almost looks like a
“clutch” type hand wallet. In fact, this case really feels and looks good in
your hand. I have found myself leaving my bag at home, and carrying nothing but
this case, loaded with my 548, Driver’s License, and my Amex when I needed to
make a quick run to the store.
When the Body Suit is closed, it will cover every
bit of your Jornada – except for the areas where it matters – namely your
jog dial, the recorder button, and the top surface. Since the top is open, you
have quick access to your IR port, compact flash door, headphone jack, and the
unique top button/charge-light.
There is also a ring on the side, if you’d like
to attach a wrist or neck lanyard to the case – hey, I know there are some
people out there that might want to do this, so I’m just letting you know.
One thing that I feel really speaks well about the planning that went into
this case, is the fact that there is a nice round cutout on the rear side,
perfectly lined up with your reset button.
When the tab flap is closed, it will cross the
top of your Jornada, effectively holding everything in place, safely. Even with
the tab fastened – you still have access to the IR port and the headphones
While nothing actually restrains your Jornada in
the case when the wallet is open, the sides of the case will grasp your PDA
sufficiently that it won’t fall out.
This is a top-loading case, and you will find
that once the Jornada is inserted, it will nestle in a satin lined, fitted area
with cutouts that match where they need to be. As on the outside of the case,
there is contrasting white stitching around every edge.
The bottom half of the case, when it is opened,
has two slots for an ID & credit card. Unlike the IIIc case, there is no
deep pocket to hide your cash in; they did away with it all together. I guess I
won’t have to worry about holding up any more convenience store lines while I
fish for my money! 😉
The wallet portion of the Body suit is situated
so that you can hold the Jornada in your left hand, and whip out your credit or
ID cards from the bottom portion of the wallet with your right. This is a great
feature, as long as you are right handed. Perhaps a way to make it more
ambidextrous would have been to make cardholders that went across the flap,
instead of along the flap. Similar to the way that Vaja makes their cardholders.
There is a rectangular cutout at the bottom of
the pocket that cradles your Jornada, designed so that you can use the travel
charger. You will have to take your PDA out of the case to synchronize, but it
is very easy to do this: you simply use a finger to push your Jornada up from
the bottom cutout, and then grasp the top of your Jornada as it exits the top
The cutout around the Jornada’s screen is
perfectly proportioned, and they did a “free-form” cutout area to
accommodate the power and hot buttons. There are special holes where the speaker
is, so volume on your unit is hardly affected, if at all, when it is in this
case. This split-face window design area involves one of the few gripes I have
about this case. There are actually two gripes, but I’ll get to the other a
Gripe #1: I wish that Extreme Limit would have
just made one opening in the screen and button area, with no leather “bar”
between the screen and the buttons. Because they did include the bar, the double
stitching looks a bit cramped, and is not as perfectly spaced as everywhere else
on the case. Because of the leather bar, I also feel like the button area is a
little too tight when playing games.
If you have tried many cases at all, you have
probably noticed that it is usually best to disable your hot buttons when the
Jornada is turned off. Most cases tend to push against the buttons and
inadvertently turn your PDA on. This brings up another great feature of the Body
Suit case: because the leather is so thick it creates a buffer between the
case’s flip-cover and the hot buttons. It is just about impossible to
accidentally turn your Jornada on. The downside to this is that you may want to
use your stylus to turn on your power button, as you might not be able to get a
good “push” in otherwise due to the thick leather right next to the button..
As with their other Body Suit PDA Cases, you can
fold the wallet portion of the case underneath, and stick the tab into its slot,
instantly creating a handy easel for your desktop. This also fully exposes the
charging cutout that I referred to earlier, for when you are in the car.
I am a bit conflicted on the last feature I am
going to mention. In fact, this is where my #2 gripe comes from.
As you should be aware by now, the Jornada 540
series happens to be the only Pocket PC with a built in flip cover. Inside that
flip cover is the tray where the plastic “Popsicle-stick” stylus is kept.
Since you have to remove the flip cover in order to insert your Jornada into
this case, you might be wondering where you are supposed to put your necessary
stylus. (As if the above picture didn’t give that away…) J
Extreme Limit has made a very clever little
side-holster for the stylus. Especially clever, because not only will it accept
the stock stylus, it will also accept just about any other PDA sized stylus.
This is a really great thing for those that hate the stock stylus, and want to
use something else – without carrying a separate pen-sized implement. The
picture I am showing here is of the PDA panache Handspring Visor stylus, since I
have already shown you a picture with the stock stylus.
Unfortunately, the fastener on the top of the holster is where Gripe #2 comes
in: Because they used Velcro to close the two tabs that make up the loop, the
tabs just will not lay straight, and they stick out quite a bit. I think that
Extreme Limit could have used either a leather or an elastic loop, and achieved
their desired effect.
I think that this could be a perfect case, if Extreme limit would do away
with the split face window design, and eliminate the Velcro on the holster. That
is my humble opinion, so take it for what it’s worth. J
Price: $46.53, depending on daily Yen / Dollar
conversion. Also available in a belt-clip model for approx. $49.29
Openings for every button & slot
Beautiful, slightly custom look
Can carry different stylus, rather than stock HP “Popsicle stick”
Stitching between screen & buttons looks crooked (picky, I
Would rather stylus holder had not used Velcro