nSignia h1900 Book-Style Premium Leather Case Review

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Product Requirements:
HP iPAQ 1900 series PDA

Back in 2001 I favorably reviewed the Flak
case, made by the Australian Company, Silicon Web. Many moons and
many PDA models have come and gone since then. Therefore, it was a nice surprise
when I recently heard from Graham Walker, the man behind what had been one of my
favorite cases for the Compaq iPAQ 3600 and 3800 series PDAs. Graham is now
focusing on handcrafted leather PDA cases with the latest incarnation of his
company, nSignia.

Unlike Graham’s prior iPAQ focused company, nSignia will be producing
handcrafted cases for various models of both Palm and Pocket PCs. These cases
will be made of either premium cowhides or exotic leathers. Though the company
is new and models (and hopefully assorted colors) are still in the process of
being added, Graham was kind enough to send a sample of their new

premium cowhide book-style case
for the iPAQ
series. I should mention here that there is also a

case available for those who would prefer it. These premium
cowhide cases are available black.

The exterior is made of a soft, full grain Napa Leather, complimented by
matching black stitching. The nSignia’s curvy shape matches the lines of the
1900, and the pieced-in curve of the spine continues the rounded look. A small
embossed logo on the bottom right is the only branding present. The case is kept
closed with a snapping leather tab. I think the case looks very professional,
yet not boring.

Opening the nSignia reveals the suede lined leather holster on the right.
Once the 1900 is inserted, it will be protected from just about every angle.
There is a cutout for the joy-pad but in a move reminiscent of the now-defunct
luxury case maker Orbino, the buttons have been
left covered. However, instead of merely covering the buttons with leather,
nSignia has taken their level of customization a bit further and added shiny
metal rivets which sit on top of the 1900’s buttons. This was done instead of
making a separate cutout for each button which might be harder for those with
larger fingers to access. I approve – even though my fingers are not big.

Photo courtesy of the nSignia site

The addition of the rivets makes hitting each of the four buttons very easy;
however, there is a caveat. Because the rivets sit a bit higher than the 1900’s
slightly concave buttons, the user should go into the button settings on the PDA
and enable the "button lock" feature. Doing this will ensure that the iPAQ is
not accidentally powered on and the battery drained by the case hitting one of
the four button/rivets. In lock mode, the buttons can still be easily accessed
once the main power button has been turned on.


On the left side of the case are three slots for ID or credit cards, one
multi-purpose pocket behind the card slots, as well as two SD card slots. Note
that the frame around the screen fits perfectly. I did not have to tug or
push it to make it fit properly. Kudos to nSignia!

Since the 1900 series does not come with a cradle, there should be no
complaints that the only way to sync or charge the PDA while in the case is by
using the cable. When the iPAQ is in the case, a slight bit of bulk is added.
Naked, the iPAQ 1900 measures 4.46" tall  x 2.75" wide  x 0.50" thick.
In the case, the total measurements are 4.75" tall x 3.5" wide (measured at the
widest point on the strap) x 1" thick.

The top of the iPAQ is left open, not only so that it can be slipped in and
out of the holster, but also so that the user has easy access to the stylus, SD
card, power button and headphone jack.


The right side of the holster dips a bit so that the user has access to the
Infrared port and voice record button. The 1900 will have to be removed from the
case if a soft reset becomes necessary.


Updated 12/07/04: The case I received was an early
model, and the reset hole will be present on all models shipped to customers.

Photo courtesy of  nSignia

The spine of the nSignia case protects the entire backside of the PDA.


As I learned when Graham was producing the Flak Jacket case, he is a man who
truly listens to his customer and who wants to know what their needs are in
regards to PDA cases. To that end, nSignia is sponsoring a
survey in the
hopes that customers will communicate what they would like to see in their
ultimate PDA case. One participant will be chosen to win a custom exotic case
(valued at $150++).  I took the survey in hopes that I won’t be the only
user that would like an iPAQ 4700 case made to accommodate the extended battery.
Don’t worry though, I can’t win.

For those of you that are interested in a high quality protective cover for
your PDA, the nSignia definitely deserves a good look. The nSignia case looks
great, smells good, feels solid and is extremely well made. I am
particularly impressed by the fact that the cases are handmade by Australian
workers that are being paid a living wage. As such, nSignia cases may seem a
little more pricey than some of the cheaper mass-produced cases available today.
I believe that the quality makes the price well worth paying. In addition, each
case is backed by a lifetime guarantee against any production defects.

For a limited time, Graham is offering the following: "I have created a
discount coupon that is valid for the first 100 people between now and Dec 31,
2004. When entered into the location provided on our checkout page the coupon
code will give that person 15% off all purchases of our PDA cases (except the
clearance items which are already discounted). The coupon code is: UAPX79FE

Price: AUD 67.00, or approximately $51.84 US

Looks great, stylish design
Quality materials
Handmade by skilled workers, reasonably priced as such
Holds ID & credit cards, as well as SD cards

Only available in black – let there be color! :0)


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