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JavoEdge cases for the HP iPAQ hx4700 Pocket PC review

Posted on 11-Feb-2005 11:54 by Darryl Burling | Filed under: Reviews

When I got my hx4700, I looked around for a case for a while and was not really able to find one that I liked. In the past I�ve had cases from E&B Cases and others, but I prefer simple cases rather than some of the more off the wall cases. I also prefer not to spend US$50 or more on a case. These conditions mean that I want a simple attractive case for my device that doesn't cost the earth.

JavoEdge Skin
First try, the JavoEdge skin for the hx4700. After seeing a skin for the XDAII I thought it might be quite good. The skin is a great concept - it provides a good level of protection and does not add much to the bulk of the device and largely does not modify the form factor of the device.

The skin is a single piece of semi-opaque rubber that stretches to fit over the device with minimal excess. It has a belt clip embedded into the rubber on the back and also has an attachment for a supplied wrist strap. Having the option of both methods of body attachment is great if you like having the device on you all the time.

The skin is designed to allow you to use the default hx4700 flip cover with it. It also has cut outs for the CF and SD slots, the stylus and headphone jack. If you want a case that will allow you to sync while the device is in the case, you wont like this case. However, you can use a plug-in charger or a "sync and charge" cable to connect to your computer or to charge the device.

Getting the rubber skin over the 4700 is no simple task when you do it for the first time. The rubber tends to cling to the metal exterior of the device meaning you end up stretching the rubber inadvertently to get it on. Stretching the rubber is a little scary at first because you are not sure how strong the rubber is and whether it can stand much pulling. This is further exacerbated by the design of the case which has a number of slots and other holes which means that the skin is not solid but rather flimsy and floppy.

As it turns out, however, the rubber is quite strong enough to take a little beating while it is being put on and off. Once on, the skin is reasonably well stuck on and certainly wont slip off - nor will your precious hx4700 fall out.

Connecting the belt clip and putting the skin on your waist is not for the faint hearted. Firstly, you wont make a fashion statement wearing any PDA on your waist, let alone one wrapped in rubber - however, if this does not deter you, the bigger problem stems from the flexibility of the rubber which feels like it is almost bouncing on your waist. The area on the back of the skin that the belt clip is attached to is part of one of the cut out bits and is not solidly connected to the case. Therefore, wearing this on your belt causes you to constantly be checking to make sure its not about to snap off and fall to a bouncy death. A final note on the belt clip - it is a very tight fit to get the case into the clip - so tight that I felt uncomfortable just pushing the case into the clip off the belt, never mind when the clip is on your belt.

In addition, the fit of the rubber around the top of the device is not very sturdy. Because the skin fits the stylus so that it is no different to pull out of the device normally, there is a small sliver of rubber between the CF and stylus cutout that flops around quite easily.

My final gripe is that the skin picks up every little hair and piece of dust that is available to collect - this is an inheritance from the rubber materials. You can see this in some of the images.

So my conclusion is that for a device like the hx4700, wrapping it in a rubber shell doesn�t work for its otherwise nice form. I think if the back of the case was solid and a little more thought went into the top of the case it would be OK although, I think the aesthetics of this case would banish it from my device.

Click images to enlarge

Leather Case
The leather case from JavoEdge is quite a different kettle of fish from the rubber skin.

The leather case is a simple flip over case made of genuine leather. The model I had did not have a belt clip, but did have a cut out for the stylus and headphone jack, provision for a "sync and charge" or charge cable and two pockets for SD cards.

The leather case holds the device very snugly using no velcro or other adhesives. Rather the case has a wire lined slip style holder that you slide the 4700 into. Getting the device into the case is easy, but getting it out requires a purposed hand - this case wont let your device slip out. The wire is tensioned nicely to hold the device firmly, and the leather also grips the device to ensure it won't fall out.

Once in the case, the top folds over the device and a magnetic dome snaps firmly shut from the front of the device, under the device and into the dome at the back. Inside the front flap is room for two SD cards. The cards insert nicely and are easy to remove, requiring no stretching of the pockets to remove, while holding the cards firmly.

The case adds a little bulk to the device, but it still slipped in the pocket of my jeans easily without feeling bulky. The case will not allow you to use the default hx4700 flip cover, however the leather case is padded and provides considerably better protection anyway, so I don't consider this to be a loss.

Because the corner where the stylus and headphones are has a cut out to cater for these, the device would probably suffer damage if it was dropped on this corner. However other than this, the case provides excellent protection for the device.

My only complaint about this case is that the wire/leather holder covers the bottom of the touch pad slightly. This will annoy users who like to use the device with the cursor mode enabled (is there anyone who does?), but I did not find this interfered with normal use or scrolling at all in navigation mode, nor did I find the device had a tendency to auto-scroll down.

Getting the CF cards in and out was not difficult, however getting the CF card out is slightly more hassle with the case than without the case, however I suspect this is true with any flip over style case.

Click images to enlarge

I wouldn't personally use the rubber case with my hx4700, however, if you like rubber, YMMV.

For my tastes and use, I think the leather case from JavoEdge is probably the best case I�ve ever used for any Pocket PC. I love its simple elegance and found that it is great functionally. If you are looking for a leather case for your hx4700, I suggest you give this one your careful consideration.

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