Chameleon Palm m500, m100 and V Series Hard Case Review

Palm m500 Series Version

Product Requirements:
Device:
Palm m500, m505

The Chameleon m5 is an update of
ScribblePDA’s
original Palm V hard case. This new version has been made
specifically for the Palm m500 series PDAs and looks almost identical to the
older Palm V version. This case is available in both a belt clip (which Scribble
calls the Fabloc) or non-belt clip version.

The main difference that you notice immediately, is that the case is now grey
ABS plastic instead of black. I personally find the grey to be more attractive.
The Chameleon m5 still retains the unique interchangeable front and back snap-in
color plates feature. These plates can be purchased separately and are available
in Red, Dark Green and Grey. Unfortunately, the plates are still as difficult to
change as the Palm V Chameleon’s plates.

The Palm m500 PDA is held in the Chameleon with a plastic rail which fits
securely in the left stylus silo. Inserting and removing the PDA from this case
is not difficult. Luckily, you don’t need to remove your PDA from this case in
order to sync with the cradle.


The inside of the case is lined with a black velvet material which cushions
the PDA and protects it from scratches. It doesn’t really offer that much in the
way of padding though. It is interesting to note that this case does not have a
business card slot on the left side like the Palm V version. It does however
have an SD slot on the back side of the case. I guess I should say that it is
supposed
to have an SD card slot… For the life of me, I could not
manage to get any of my SD cards to fit in this slot. It just doesn’t seem wide
enough. At one point, I was afraid I was going to snap my card in half in the
process of trying to get it to fit!

All in all, the Chameleon m5 case will protect your m500 series PDA from
typical daily bumps and knocks. But, it probably won’t protect it from a
considerable drop to a hard surface*. If that isn’t a major concern, then this
might be just the case for you.

Price: $31.95 with Fabloc / $29.95 without Fabloc
(Approximate price. Prices are based on GBP – Sterling)

Pros:

Encloses entire PDA
Can sync and beam while in case
Customization via replaceable face plates

Cons:

Adds bulk to the Palm m500
Have to lift PDA to remove stylus

* Scribble took offense to my statement that a PDA in
this case might not survive a fall. They sent me proof that a PDA has survived a
fall from an aircraft no less! Check out the
report for yourself.

Palm m100 Series Version

Product Requirements:
Device:
Palm m100, m105, m125

The Chameleon m1 is Scribble’s Palm m100 series hard case. Like the Palm V
and m500 series, this case totally encloses the PDA to give it good overall
protection from everyday scuffs, knocks and short falls to soft (carpet)
surfaces.

The case is shaped just like the m100 series PDA and is made of grey ABS
plastic. It too has the  interchangeable front and back snap-in color
plates, and a black velvet interior. It is available in both a belt clip (which
Scribble calls the Fabloc) or non-belt clip version.

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This Chameleon case does differ from the Palm V and m500 versions in the
method used to attach the PDA to the case. In this instance, the m100 is held in
the case by the flip cover slots. So, the first thing you have to do is remove
the standard flip cover from the PDA. You then have to press the PDA onto the
clips that are fastened into the top of the case.


I noticed that after placing my m100 in this case, that it did not lay flat.
Instead, it stuck up at an angle. Although I was able to close the cover on the
case without difficulty, I found that I encountered another problem…

The m1 case has a feature which allows you to activate the clock application
so that you can see the time thru an oval window in the cover. When the case is
closed, you can press the Scribble logo on the outside of the cover which in
turn pushes a plastic nub on the opposite side into the UP scroll button. When
the m100 is powered off, pressing the UP scroll button displays the time for 3
seconds.

The problem that I mentioned earlier concerning the way the m100 attaches to
the case is that since the m100 does not lay flat, the mere act of closing the
cover activates the UP scroll button. I consider this a flaw that needs to be
looked into.

Due to the way that the PDA is fastened into the case, there isn’t access to
the stylus. Scribble solved this problem by creating a new stylus silo on the
back of the Chameleon case. They even include a plastic stylus.

I like the form factor and look of this case, but I don’t like the attachment
method at all. If Scribble can fix this problem, I would have no problem
recommending this case.

Price: $25.95 with Fabloc / $23.95 without Fabloc
(Approximate price. Prices are based on GBP – Sterling)

Pros:

Encloses entire PDA
Can sync (with cable) and beam while in case
Customization via replaceable face plates

Cons:

Closing the cover activates m100’s clock feature
No access to the SD slot for the m125
No access to the reset switch

 

Palm V Series Version

Product Requirements:
Device:
Palm V/Vx, IBM WorkPad c3

The Chameleon V case from ScribblePDA
is an injection molded ABS hard plastic case for Palm V series PDAs. This case
features interchangeable colored face plates and a removable belt clip which
they call the Fablock.

The Chameleon is an all black case except for the face plates. Each case
comes with three plates. Mine came with a Red, Blue and Black plate. The Red
plate is very shiny and shows finger prints and smudges easily which I don’t
really care for. The other two plates have a more matte texture to them that
resists prints. Other colored plates can be purchased separately from the
Scribble website.

Changing the plates isn’t the easiest thing in the world. The instructions
say to press the top of the plate and press down to bow it upwards. I could
never get that to work. I resorted to using my fingernail to pry up the edge of
the plate till I could get my fingers under it. 

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Having the interchangeable plates is a neat idea, but I wish the Scribble
logo wasn’t so large and obtrusive on the front of the case…

The inside of the case is lined in a black velvet material. This material
doesn’t have much in the way of padding so I am not sure how shock absorbing the
case would be in the event of a drop to a hard surface. The screen cover portion
of the case has one business card slot.

The Palm V is held in the case by a rail that is inserted in the left stylus
silo. The rail is made of plastic and is sufficiently thick enough to hold the
PDA securely. It’s actually slightly difficult to remove the Palm V from the
rail once it is installed.

The case is held closed with a sliding plastic latch. This latch is very
sturdy and I had no worries that the case would open accidentally.

When closed, the Chameleon completely encapsulates the Palm V, protecting all
sides of the PDA. The case measures .826 x 5.028in  (20.98 x 127.71mm) in
size and weighs 3.44oz (97.5g). That is almost double the thickness and weight of a naked Palm V. Using the PDA
in this case makes it pretty much non-shirt-pocketable. Luckily there is a belt
clip nub on the back. Scribble calls their belt clip the Fablock. It’s not any
different than most stock clips. The only difference is that the clip nub on the
back of the case can be unscrewed if you don’t want to use it.


You might wonder if you can hotsync your PDA while it is in the case. Yes, you can.
You have to maneuver the front and back of the case in such a way that you can insert
the PDA into the cradle, but it is possible and does work.

The only little problem that I found with this case is that you have to lift the PDA out of
the bottom shell in order to gain access to the stylus. This isn’t a problem if you use a
full-sized third party stylus, but if you use the stock stylus, it can be tedious to remove
it when needed. I tested the case with the original stylus, the Deluxe
Palm V PDA Panache
stylus, iPoint Palm V
stylus and the Landware Floating Point stylus. All of them fit in the case just
fine.

The craftsmanship of the Chameleon case is quite good. There are no sharp or pointy
edges like there are on some of the metal cases of the same general style. Also,
I found the hinge to be easy to manipulate and void of squeaks.

Overall, this case will protect the Palm V from everyday bumps and bruises
while still looking stylish. 

 

Price: $25.95 with Fabloc / $23.95 without Fabloc
(Approximate price. Prices are based on GBP – Sterling)

Pros:

Encloses entire PDA
Can sync and beam while in case
Customization via replaceable face plates

Cons:

Adds considerable weight and size to the Palm V
Have to lift PDA to remove stylus

 

Product Information

Price:25.95
Manufacturer:Proporta
Pros:
  • Encloses entire PDA
  • Can sync and beam while in case
  • Customization via replaceable face plates
Cons:
  • Adds considerable weight and size to the Palm V
  • Have to lift PDA to remove stylus
6 comments… add one
  • Jellyguy April 30, 2003, 11:20 pm

    l built a system similar to the one you describe a few months ago, Julie. Here is the case I use:

    D-VINE4

    It is quiet, elegant and looks like a high-end stereo component. I’ve overclocked my Athlon 2600+ to a 2800+, and it runs rock-steady.

  • Julie May 1, 2003, 12:20 am

    Here is the case I ended up ordering:

    http://www.directron.com/knottyburl.html

    I should have it tomorrow or friday. This is going to be a computer building weekend 🙂

  • Jellyguy May 2, 2003, 7:24 am

    Nice case…

    and that’s the second best way to spend your weekend…;)

  • Heavychemist May 2, 2003, 12:25 pm

    Julie

    That’s a very cool looking case. Too bad that all your peripherals won’t be the same colour. At least it has a door to hide the beige. Oh wait, they sell front bezel / face panels of CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, and floppy drives to match the case. Nice. Did you buy the matching panels??

    HC

  • Julie May 2, 2003, 12:30 pm

    I looked to see if they might have matching bezels for the CD that I picked, but no luck. I have the TDK CD-RW. I also ordered a 3.5 bay 6-in-1 media card reader that is white. It is a bummer that those things won’t match, but like you said, the case has a door 🙂

  • Heavychemist May 2, 2003, 4:09 pm

    Oh boy. White you say? :wow: That will look really nice. I imagine the peripheral door will be closed most of the time. Unless you are really handy with an airbrush….;)

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