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Innopocket Hard Case

Thu Mar 17, 2005 - 6:59 PM EST - By Douglas Morse


4-8-15-16-23-42. In Lost—these numbers have mystical significance. They are Hurly’s ‘winning’ numbers that were broadcast repeatedly from the island and lured a scientific team to its fate. More importantly they are inscribed on the hatch that Locke and Boone find at the end of the show’s latest episode. If you want a little piece of that hatch for your very own (minus the numbers), check out the Innopocket Hard Case for the Treo 650. They come from the same retro-future stylistic place.


When the case came out of the box, there was a chorus of ohhs and ahhs in the apartment. A brushed metal look, elegant styling—this case has it going on. I have never seen another case like it. There is a clear piece of hard plastic over the screen and cut outs for the main function buttons but not the keyboard. There are also cutouts for all of the ports top and bottom, microphone, speakers, and camera. Because the case rides a few millimeters away from the unit on all sides, the aforementioned are all set back and protected by the case. The keyboard area is fully covered by metal, though with a quick flip of the lid to the side, they keyboard and touch screen are available for use.

The Treo slides into the case from the top. It is a snug fit as the thin protective layer of neoprene both protects and holds the unit very securely in place. On three places on the sides of the case are plastic strips to aid in gripping the case. The case, made out of anodized aluminum, is strong and extremely lightweight.


This case is designed to maximize usability while offering maximum protection, and it succeeds admirably. The phone is easy to use while the Treo is encased. Using the always exposed five way navigator and the main buttons, it is possible to use all of the PDA functions and phone without ever opening the lid. The trick is to set up proper speed dials so you don’t need access to the keyboard. Although you could scroll through your contacts, this would be extremely cumbersome. Since most applications are five-way navigator savvy, the access to the touch screen is no longer a necessity as it was in older Palm units. I was always concerned that a plastic screen would degrade usability. When I am tempted to use the touch screen, I often find myself reaching for the stylus and trying to tap through the plastic screen. Kept clean, it does not impair the screen at all and may make an argument for not needing a screen protector. The annoying keyguard function is also not necessary.

The camera is uncovered, but the neoprene inner layer creates a few millimeters of space between the outer aluminum shell and the Treo, so ports and the camera are protected. You can safely lay the device on a desk and not worry about the camera lens. I have mapped the camera to the side button so I have easy use of that feature.

The lid is hinged on the right-hand side. A quick snap and the lid flips open for access to the touch-screen and keyboard. To look up someone in the contacts, flip the lid open, type in their first initial, a few letters of their last name, close the lid and you’re in business.

The case also offers a beltclip option. A small screw goes into the back of the case. A simple plastic clip attaches to the belt and voila – a clipped case. One other thing of note – although I assumed a hard case would add more bulk that a soft leather case, it is not noticeably bulkier than other flip cases with thick reinforced leather flip lids. And because it is so sleek, it comfortably slides into pockets, even front pants pockets. It is as lightweight as the leather cases as well.

Minor quibbles and bits
  • This thing is cold. As metal conducts heat and cold, on a frosty day, this thing is downright chilly against the ear. I haven’t tested in the heat of summer, but it may get a bit toasty.
  • While open, the hinge wiggles. It doesn’t feel as solid as it could be and I fear if subjected to too much stress it could break. While closed though, the cover clasps solidly shut without a whit of play.
  • The back screw for clipped use can come unscrewed if you don’t crank the thing tightly in there in the first place. Don’t trust to hand pressure. Use a screwdriver.
  • The function keys are not as accessible as they could be. The stylish ‘swoosh’ between plastic screen covering and function button opening takes up more room than a thin cross bar. Practically we would have gained more thumb room if it had been less elegant. At times, I have to switch from thumb operation to index fingers to press the main buttons and operate the navigator.
  • I’m not sure how long it will maintain its beautiful matt finish. Scrapes and nicks may mar the finish sooner rather than later.
  • There is no SD card holder. I don’t know where it would have gone though.

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