Sleeves seem to be
the latest cottage industry in PDA land. Heck,
even the HP Jornada 560 and Casio E-200 have jumped on the
bandwagon with slide-on expansion devices that allow you to
use PC cards and extended batteries. But let's face it, the
iPAQ expansion sleeve system is one of the iPAQ's strongest
selling points. If you're a power user, the myriad devices
and expansion cards you can use via sleeves is fantastic. These
sleeves aren't always cheap, but the new MemPlug expansion
sleeves from Portable Innovation Technology are affordable
and an exceptionally good value. Not only that, they've got
a slim profile thanks to their clever design: one CF slot is
at the top, while the 2nd expansion card goes in the side so
that there's no bulky overlap of slots.
The sleeves work with all iPAQs that can use
sleeves, including the 3900 series (we tested it!). Both
models come with a protective plastic insert for the top
slot which fits snuggly and flush with the sleeve surface.
The sleeves have the same notches as the Compaq Cover Pack
and Plus Sleeves, so you can use the screen cover from these
(righty and lefty) with the MemPlugs.
There are no internal batteries in these sleeves,
if you need extra power for IBM Microdrives and power hungry
type II networking cards, see the Compaq Plus line of expansion
sleeves, which have internal Lithium Ion batteries in our sleeves
article. However, the lack of a battery in these sleeves
does help keep their cost and size down. Both sleeves are
the same size and are a bit slimmer than the Compaq Expansion
Plus Sleeve (see picture below).
You won't need to install any drivers for these
sleeves: just slip your iPAQ in the sleeve and you're off!
The $49 US Dual Compact Flash model has two
Compact Flash card slots. There's a type II slot at the top,
and a second type I slot on the left side of the sleeve.
The type II slot worked fine with WiFi network cards and
the IBM Microdrive. The side slot only works with type I
memory cards (no type II or I/O).