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Three different organizer cases from PDA Skins

Tue May 9, 2006 - 3:07 PM EDT - By Jay Gross


Like Grandma said, a place for everything, everything in its place. She was quite the obsessive compulsive, insisting on reorganizing Grandpa's screwdriver drawer after every project. With a nod to her excruciatingly organized life, here's hope for the terminally messy.

PDA Skins' "PDA Pro" organizer stands 5-1/2" inches tall, 3-1/2" wide and an inch deep. Let out the Velcro strips on the front panel, and the company says you can run your PDA on the resulting "platform." I found that situation far too precarious to even test, but the extra roominess allowed my big' ol' clumsy fingers to retrieve things easily.

You can stash your headset (or whatever you use) in the outside pocket and run its cord through the metal grommeted opening to hook it to the Treo inside. Thoughtfully, a pair of Velcro tabs holds the cord in place. The Treo itself can snuggle into place if you're willing to apply the included, self-adhesive Velcro strip to it. Or use a replacement battery cover and stick the Velcro on that.

Like its bigger brother, this organizer clips to a belt or other surface, or threads onto a belt, or dangles from a snap-on neckstrap, which is included. Its internal pockets store credit cards, SD storage cards, folding money, coins, business cards, headset or earpiece, a couple of ferrets and your Pomeranian. Okay, not the wildlife, but there's room for a bunch of stuff.

Next up, the company's "PDA Plus" organizer starts with all this and piggybacks a somewhat larger pocket onto the rear. It handily holds a folding keyboard, plus a gaggle of other Treo go-essentials. Considerately, everything has an assigned, fitted, place. Grandma would be so proud. For example, an extra stylus and an extra Treo battery can be secured with elastic straps in spaces designed specifically to fit them. Credit cards, money, and other items tuck neatly into nested pockets. Mesh-pockets corral items that defy elastic - coins, lock washers, keys, you name it.

The vertical organizers' horizontal counterpart, affectionately named "Horizontal Organizer," offers a little less capacity, a sleeker, stylish look, a removable holder for cards, and a variety of options for toting it around - thread onto belt, or Velcro over belt or strap of some kind, or dangle it off your shoulder with the included neck strap. I used this one attached to my suspenders, and felt dumb. Snapped over the top of my pants for quick retrieval, it was fine. My Treo and a half-ton of other things stayed handy. Normally I have my Treo in a case in my shirt pocket, which leaves my reading glasses case to fend for itself in my hand or distend a pants pocket to a state of disrepair.

The micro fiber case's outside pocket is designed to hold your Treo, but it's just the right size and shape for reading glasses (sunglasses for the more hip among us). The pouch's built-in opening allows the Treo's antenna to poke through. Zipped inside the case, the phone works fine in areas with good signal strength, so don't worry too much about not using the antenna slot if you need the space to store your glasses.

The organizer's removable mirror and credit card holder Velcros in. You can whip it out easily when needed. The Horizontal's inside compartment also holds a passport and, with a very tight squeeze, a smallish checkbook. The squeeze is so tight I wouldn't count on this "feature," however. Never mind the checkbook and pack plastic. Just put the checks in the mail.

The organizer in your palm (i.e., your Treo) paperlessly takes care of almost all of what you can deal with electronically: address books, memos, calendar, even MP3's - musical entertainment for those long waits at the dry cleaners. However, the high-tech world we call home still requires low-tech transactions, so we have to carry around actual pieces of paper. "Driver's license and registration please?" Besides, you need plastic to shop with, and if not that, low-tech paper, as in money.

So, nothing seems more logical than to combine your electronic organizer with your paper one. Add your wallet to your Treo and trod gingerly the streets where you live. Nothing seems more risky, either. Our high-tech world harbors low-tech thieves who'll grab your purse, or your organizer, and run. So, if your Treo's in there with your money, your checkbook, and your credit cards -- well, you don’t even want to think about that.

Lose only your wallet and you're in for major hassle to cancel all the cards, regain the licenses, and revisit the relatives for their mug shots. Organization makes Grandma happy, but for me, it'll take time getting used to the extra risk of ID theft. With my Treo encased in leather and stashed in my shirt pocket, I'm not tempted to put it down anywhere, so I'm not likely to leave it behind, and it's not a readily visible target for a snatcher.

Maybe it's just me. I've seen people in sidewalk coffee shops walk off from their laptop computers to visit the restrooms, pay parking meters, and so forth. What are they thinking? I don't watch enough reality TV to be that dumb.

Thoughtfully, PDA Skins expects their organizers to travel to strange, unfriendly lands, and all three of the cases reviewed here provide a hostile-territory carry option. The products provide a grab-resistant, extra-sturdy, sewed-on plate in addition to clip or Velcro wrapper closures. Simply thread the case onto your belt, and you'll likely suffer internal injuries before any organizer snatcher can yank it away from you. That's much warm-fuzzier than you can claim for any purse or wallet. Ahhh, security.


Vertical or horizontal, which to pick. The question has an easy answer: style. The manlier, vertical cases hold more stuff but don't raise delicately plucked eyebrows of any fashion mavens. However, the svelte horizontal model might make a good addition to m'lady's shopping attire.

Those industrial strength nylon neck straps, though. Not very stylish. The organizers are, and besides, the cases are look quite snappy for athletic situations such as jogging, or any other form of heinous torture. For the most part they're not dressy enough to be used as actual purses. The plastic clips on the neck straps don't inspire confidence, either, although they are a snap - pun intended - to put on. Ladies will want to "clutch" the horizontal model, or clip it onto their handbags, instead of carrying it as a purse. Basic black, the organizers will coordinate with nearly anything.

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Product Info
> Name PDA Skins Organizer
> Company PDA Skins
> Weight 4-5 oz. / 110-150 g.
> Fact Sheet & User Opinions
> Available
> $39.95

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