Reviews: Other

DS International iPAQ Holster

     DS International has been around since the late 80's, serving the computer input needs of users in the United States, Canada and Europe.  DSI has focused primarily on keyboards (including custom designs) and input devices, but now is starting to feature new PDA related products in their catalog.  Their newest addition is the iPAQ Holster for all iPAQ Pocket PC's with an expansion sleeve.  The holster provides added device protection as well as a belt clip for easy transportation of the iPAQ with an expansion sleeve.
     The DSI iPAQ Holster is made of a black plastic shell similar to that of the iPAQ sleeves. Either side has red rubber grips as well as an opening for the side button. The top of the case includes the hook for the belt clip as well as a latch to keep the flip-cover closed. The bottom as openings for the AC-plug, reset switch (battery lock) and the connection port. The inside of the top cover is lined with soft felt as to protect the screen. The top cover has stops so it will stay open in various positions by itself.  The top cover also has a cutout at the top so the user can see the iPAQ notification lights and the speaker included at the top of the 3800/3900 series iPAQ's. The flipside of the holster case is completely open. This is where the expansion pack sticks out. By having this kind of design, the holster can use any iPAQ expansion pack, not just a certain size. The belt clip hook and the belt clip are made so that the holster only can be connected with the holster to the side. Once it is latched in, it will be held tight until the release is pressed and the holster is turned an pulled out. Also, the top of the holster has a small overhang on the hinge so the expansion sleeves will stay in.
     Upon first use of this holster, one noticeable thing is the added size.  Since I most often use my iPAQ naked (or in a small case), having a sleeve on it adds bulk but also the holster casing increases the width by over a quarter of an inch.  Because of the increased width, while the device is in the holster is cannot be used on the sync cradle.  (Openings on the bottom allow for a sync cable to be connected as well as AC power.)  Though there is the added size when I am using it, I find the holster is really a solution for taking my expansion sleeve with me and this added size is necessary to be able to carry my device on my belt.  The holster will work with all expansions except the empty sleeve with the flip cover (because the flip cover could not be opened while the device was in the holster).  I did not have a silver slider or modified sleeve to test with, but these should work as the conform to the standard sleeve sizing as the new style sleeves work fine.
     One nice feature this holster has that others I have seen do not, is the opening face so you can use your iPAQ while it is still in the holster.  This leaves less on your belt while you are using your device and gives you device added protection.  DSI has also made the lid hinge with stops in it so you do not the holster case will stay open on its own.  Another nice feature is that the belt clip and belt clip hook allow the holster case to turn while on your belt.  This causes the iPAQ to stay vertical while standing and sitting, and also allows it to shift if there are obstructions (like car seat belts).
     Holsters are a simple and effective way to carry a Pocket PC especially when they will not fit in your pocket. Because of the iPAQ's expansion systems, often the iPAQ because bulky but a holster like this one allows you to easily care the device and its sleeve with you. Most of the time, I like use my iPAQ without an expansion, but when I have one on my iPAQ, the DSI holder is a cost effective ($30) solution that makes transportation and use easy.

Dave's Score - 8.0
This means, this product is a good product, though has something which could be improved.  This product has a good design and/or application, and is something I might use though there are still areas for improvement.  Weigh the pros and cons before purchasing.

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