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Review: Hand Stand Newton Case
by Julie Strietelmeier
Last date revised: 03/23/99
Do you use the keyboard with your Newton and are you looking for a case that will hold them both? Then you will definitely want to check out the Hand Stand case made by PDA Concepts. This is a 'play-through' case that holds both the Newton and the keyboard. It is made of a very durable stain and water resistant black ballistic nylon with leather trim. An adjustable shoulder strap comes with case, or you can buy a leather handle for $7.95. I preferred the leather handle. The adjustable shoulder strap would be much better if it was about twice as wide.
The Hand Stand is a play through case which means you don't have to remove the Newton or the keyboard to use them. When the Hand Stand is opened, it can be laid flat so that Newton and Keyboard are in the perfect position for use. Everything about this case is adjustable. The angle of the Newton can be adjusted from 5 to 70 degrees. The palm rest for the keyboard can also be adjusted. This is all made possible by the use of Velcro. Usually I hate Velcro, but the Hand Stand doesn't require you to attach it to the actual PDA. You can attach Velcro to the keyboard to keep it in place if you wish... it's optional though.
The Newton is put in a special leather holster that has Velcro on the back. This lets you attach the Newton to the Hand Stand in the best position or remove the Newton from the Hand Stand to use it outside the case. Getting the Newton into the holster was not that easy. At first I was sure that the holster was too small. But, with a little pulling and stretching, I finally was satisfied with the way it fit. I think that the holster would be much better if it was just a bit larger. The holster allows access to all the ports on the Newton. There is also an opening on the back of the holster that allows you access to the reset button.
Because the holster is so tight, I found that it was a little hard to access the power switch and to open the serial port door. This wasn't a big problem, and could probably be fixed by some extra stretching of the holster. I think that the main idea of the holster design is to put the Newton in once, and leave it in... so once you get it 'just right', you'll be ok.
Some great features of the Hand Stand are all the pockets that it has. There are 12 credit business card pockets (1 that is a see through pocket for an ID card), 2 PC Card pockets, one long pocket, and one long zippered pocket on the outside of the case. I found that the credit card pockets were just slightly too narrow. The cards fit ok, but were just a little hard to insert. This would probably get better with use. I don't know why you'd really want to use these slots for credit cards since the Hand Stand is way to large to be used as a wallet type case. The other pockets are mostly for papers, not for bulky items. If you arrange things just right inside the Hand Stand, you can fit in the AC adapter and some extra batteries.
The Hand Stand is made extremely well. The stitching, zippers, leather trim, form and function of the case are all top quality. I wouldn't use this case every day, but it is perfect for those times when I want to use the keyboard with the Newton or for traveling. This case makes me feel that my Newton is very well protected... I don't think even dropping it while it's in this case would worry me.
The only things that I can really complain about with this case are the leather holster and credit card slots. The holster just needs to be the slightest bit larger and the card slots either need to be a bit wider, or turn them into bigger pockets. Besides those two very small complaints, I would say that this is one of the best cases I've ever reviewed for any machine so far.
On a side note, check out the PDA Concepts web site. It has many more pictures of the Hand Stand. There is an online manual, FAQ and order tracking page.
Price: $89.95, Leather Handle accessory ($7.95)
Overall Rating: A
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