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PDA Case Review Roundup: Cases for the palmOne Tungsten E: Proporta and Surplus PDA
Posted May 2, 2004 by Danny Han

Proporta Leather Case (Book Type) for Palm Tungsten E

Let’s get to the point: replacing the default flip case for the Tungsten E should be a priority if you haven’t considered it already. I won’t get into the details of how inadequate the included flip case is, but needless to say, it does not offer the kind of protection for your investment that a case such as Proporta’s leather case provides. Proporta’s solution is elegant in its design, and fits snugly with the Tungsten E via the spine insertion on the device. I found the fit to be very snug, lending an overall confidence in the case’s ability to hold the T|E in place. This design allows for the T|E to be flipped back and forth for access to the rear of the device (e.g. the occasional need to reset), and access to the rear cover of the case where extra memory cards can be stored.

The case has room for additional storage of personal items such as bank cards, business cards and even room for two memory cards in specially fitted pockets on the back cover. The button clasp works well to ensure a closed case, utilizing a magnetized button that’s engineered to snap into place with almost no effort on your part. Finally, there is a small pocket along the spine of the case for a stylus. Some may opt to keep the stylus in the standard T|E location, but the additional pocket is a welcome addition as a secondary stylus insert. Whether the case is open or closed, all input and outport ports are exposed for accessibility. The rear of the case does not have a speaker cutout, so sound volume will be affected.

The case accomplishes its job in overall protection of the T|E while maintaining a relatively small footprint. For those looking for a well fit, stylish soft case for the Tungsten E, you won’t be disappointed in Proporta’s book type leather case.

MSRP $31.95



Proporta Tungsten E case

Proporta PDA case

Proporta Leather Case (Flip Type) for Palm Tungsten E

Proporta offers a flip up style leather case for those who prefer a “notepad” approach to case design for their Palm Tungsten E. The main benefit of this type of design is that the cover can fold back behind the unit in such a way to make using your Palm a bit more comfortable and natural. In many ways, this case is similar to the book style case offered by Proporta, but there were a few concessions made in this design. Since the magnetized button clasp is situated at the bottom of the case, it effectively blocks the USB and AC power inputs when the clasp is shut. Along the top of the case, a small hole is available for inserting headphones into the headphone jack. However, I did have some difficulty in maintaining a proper connection with my headphones, partly due to the off center alignment of the hole, but probably more in part due to the thickness of the case. Your mileage may vary depending on how your headphone jack is designed for tight fits. Also, keep in mind that headphones will get in the way of the flip case opening and closing.

Like its book type brethren, the case interfaces with the T|E via the spine insertion, and the fit is very snug. You will not have any problems with the case disengaging from the T|E. A similar set of pockets are also available for items such as bank cards, business cards and memory cards. The memory card holders are located on the inside, back cover and the T|E simply folds away to the left to expose the pockets. There is no speaker cut out on the back of the case, which will have an effect on sound volume.

Overall, it’s a good design in the area of ergonomics, since the T|E can be used in a more natural notepad fashion with this particular case. However, access to input and output ports are more limited with this case, which may be a consideration for some.

MSRP $31.95

Proporta Tungsten E case

Proporta PDA case


Proporta Hard Case for Palm Tungsten E

Made of anodized aircraft grade aluminum, the Proporta Aluminum Hard Case for the Tungsten E may fit the bill for those looking for a lightweight, complete protection hard case for their T|E. There are pros and cons when opting for a hard case, and usually the most glaring complaint is that they tend to be bulky, and sometimes a hindrance to using the device for which they were made. In my experience, the only real complaint I had with this case was the difficulty in opening it. I like cases that open with relative ease, but this one had me exerting some force in prying it open. I learned quickly, however, that placing one hand at the top edge of the case, and the other at the thumb guide gave much better leverage in popping it open. I don’t think that’s what Proporta had in mind, but it was a lot easier on my hands and fingers.

Let it be said, however, that this case accomplishes its mission in almost completely protecting your T|E. Inside, it is lined with neoprene to cushion the T|E which is held in place by the spine insert (as such, the T|E can be flipped left or right like a page in a book). The inside front cover has two slots for extra memory cards, but no other storage areas are available. All input and output ports are accessible whether the cover is open or closed, and any cables that are plugged in are not in the way of the case as it opens or closes. The back of the case has a speaker cut out so that sound volume is not an issue. Finally, a clip is available that allows the case to be tucked away on your belt. The case attaches to the clip via a small nub that protrudes from the back of the case. This nub does get in the way of the case lying flat on its back, but if you prefer not to use the belt clip system, the nub can be removed entirely.

Aside from a somewhat stubborn open/close system, the Proporta hard case offers maximum protection in a stylish design. Wear and tear will expose itself on the surface of the case (mine already has a couple scratches), but I can’t think of any better way to protect what’s on the inside.

MSRP $39.95

Proporta aluminum case

Proporta hard case for Palm Tungsten E

Surplus PDA PU Leather Side-Open Case for Palm Tungsten E

I’m of the opinion that a real case should be one of the first purchases anyone makes for the Tungsten E. Zoar Surplus provides a fine solution for those in the market for a respectable case, and though it does not have all the features of some other cases we’ve reviewed, it does offer a good, protective home for your T|E.

The case holds the T|E in place via two plastic brackets that grip the device on both sides. Some may prefer the use of the spine insertion as seen on other cases, but I found the grip to be quite respectable, and I had very little worry that the T|E would unseat itself. An interesting design choice is that the T|E is placed on the left side of the case as you unfold it, which seems somewhat counter to most cases we’ve seen. I’m not a lefty, and so I initially thought this would be somewhat awkward (or at least confusing), but it didn’t seem to bother me at all.

Inside, the case is lined with leather and provides two small pockets on the inside front cover for extra memory cards. The inside spine of the case can also accommodate an extra stylus. All input and output ports are available whether the case is opened or closed, except the reset hole on the back. Since this case does not allow the T|E to be flipped like a book, any resets require the removal of the device from the case. Fortunately, the holding brackets are easy to negotiate, so this shouldn’t be too much of an annoyance, if at all. A magnetic button clasp closes the case along its side. No speaker hole is available along the back, which will have an effect on the sound volume of the T|E.

Overall, a good, no frills case that provides a nice, snug home for your Tungsten E.

MSRP $14.95

Surplus PDA case

Surplus PDA Tunsgen E case

Surplus PDA Zipper Case for Palm Tungsten E

The zipper case seems antiquated these days, but there’s something about having a case that entirely encloses the device it’s supposed to protect. I would imagine that it’s the peace of mind in knowing that your Tungsten E is protected in a way that not even the button cases can deliver. Maybe it’s comforting to know that if you dropped it, it wouldn’t land on any exposed part of the T|E. Either way, some folks are just going to prefer an all encasing – ahem – soft case for their Palm, and this one does it in a small footprint very much in the spirit of the T|E’s tiny form factor.

Once again, this case defies convention by placing the T|E on the left side of the case as opposed to the right side. Utilizing the same plastic clasps as found in the button case version, the T|E fits snugly in place. In fact, the fit is very snug; the zipper’s teeth run right alongside the edge of the T|E (so much so that you might have to tuck it away a small amount just to access the input and output ports). The inside cover offers two pockets for memory card storage, and the inside of the spine provides room for an extra stylus (although the extra one I had protruded out of the top by just a hair – enough to keep the case from closing all the way). The rear of the case has a port hole of sorts for the speaker, and a small pin sized hole for the reset button. Unfortunately, due to the thickness of the case, the reset pin that’s included with the T|E won’t reach the reset button. It’s a nice feature to be sure, but let me save you the trouble of jamming the reset pin back there in a futile attempt to reset it – it’s not going to reach. Finally, with the case zipped closed, all input and output ports are effectively blocked.

This is a great zipper case for those who don’t mind this type of case design. No, it’s not as elegant as a button case, but it does offer some of the best protection for your investment than any other soft case around.

MSRP $29.90


Surplus PDA case

Surplus PDA Palm case





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