Palm Zire or Zire 71 PDA
The bundled case suffers from
a number of deficiencies that may drive new Zire 71 owners in search of
something better, however. It’s made from cheap plastic material, it’s not
fully enclosed, the Palm cannot be used while in the slip case, and the pressure
from the front and elastic sides nudges the joystick and turns the unit on each
time it’s inserted into the slip case.
Since the Zire 71 is quite
new, there are very few custom cases available at this time. The Palm Zire Slim
Leather Case is one of the first I could find on the market. It fits both the
original Zire and the new Zire 71 model. I have only tested it with the Zire
71, but it should fit and function similarly with both models since they have
If you have used any of the
previous Palm Slim Leather cases you will find the Zire Slim Leather Case
instantly familiar. It’s a wallet or book style case made of medium-quality
leather with light padding. It’s available in any color you like so long as
Features include three
business card holders on the left side, a pouch-style stylus holder in the
center, a Velcro attachment point on the right side, and a
leather-tab-through-loop closure mechanism on the right and front of the case.
The case does not block access
to the power button, SD expansion slot, or headphone jack. It is also not
likely to turn the unit on when closed, though this is still possible if you
press the buttons or joystick through the case. The arrangement of the case
makes it easiest to use if you are right-handed.
As with other book / wallet
cases, the Palm Zire Slim Leather Case does not provide much protection in case
of falls. While the front and back have some padding, three sides are open to
the environment. Padding and protection are about average for this style of
case. If you need heavy-duty protection you will want to invest in a hard case
once those are released for the Zire / Zire 71.
Construction and features of
the case are average or slightly better than average. You will not mistake the
leather and build-quality for a Vaja or
other premium case however.
The attachment mechanism that
secures the Palm to the case is a significant step backwards for Palm. Recent
Palm-designed cases, such as those for the m5x5 series, attached to the Palm via
rails or similar positive locking, easy-to-use, and reversible mechanism. The
Zire Slim Leather Case connects to the Palm via a Velcro strip that is stuck to
the back of the unit and adheres to the Velcro fastener on the right (back) side
of the case. The Velcro is essentially permanent, as removing it from the Palm
would likely mar the finish and paint on the Zire. This is the same mechanism
as was used in Palm Pro, Palm III and other early Palm slim leather cases.
The Velcro slightly increases
the bulk of the unit in the case, cannot be easily removed, and can be difficult
to fit if you don’t carefully line up the Velcro strips on your initial
installation. The Velcro could also make it difficult to use the Zire with
future expansions. It adds bulk between the Palm and an expansion sled, which
may preclude a tight connection between the two.
Cradle synchronization of the
Palm is not possible while in this case.
The Palm Zire Slim Leather
Case is a good value. The workmanship and included features are reasonable for
the relatively modest $25 (US) price. Those looking for additional features
such as in-case synchronization, additional protection, or higher-quality
leather in a book style case are advised to wait for additional vendors to
produce Zire 71 cases.
The Palm Zire Slim Case is
Palm and other vendors.
Good construction & quality compared to bundled or available cases
Velcro attachment mechanism