Saturday, July 1, 2000

GoStyle wood overlays add a touch of class

PRODUCT REVIEW

By Craig M. Bobchin

Try this at your next staff meeting. Have everyone put their handheld computers on the desk with the covers closed. Now mix them up. Which handheld belongs to whom? With some minor exceptions for Visors and older Palm units, I bet it'll be tough to tell.

With the rapidly increasing number of people using Palm devices, it sometimes becomes tough to distinguish your unit from everyone else's. Now, though, there's an easy way to differentiate your handheld from the pack. TechStyle has released a series of GoStyle wood overlays you can stick on your Palm unit or Visor to add some class as well as a distinctive look.

Stick to it

I received the cherry overlays for my Visor Deluxe. I wanted to take a picture of it, but the only camera I have is the new eyemodule that turns my Visor into a digital camera. As a result, I couldn't take a picture of the Visor itself. However, in Figure A, you'll see my Visor's cradle and cover showing off their cherry overlays.

FIGURE A

Here you can see my Visor's cradle and cover with their new cherry wood finish. (click for larger image)

Also in the package were a simple ten-step instruction sheet and an alcohol-saturated pad for cleaning your handheld device of grease and dirt prior to applying the overlays. The instructions were simple to follow and could easily be reduced to five. In short, I had to do the following:

  1. Test fit the overlays;
  2. Clean the handheld;
  3. Peel off the backing covering the adhesive;
  4. Apply the overlay;
  5. Press the overlay to the handheld to ensure complete attachment.

That's all it takes. I recommend that you take step 1 seriously, though. On my Visor, I didn't have too much trouble, since the cover has small protrusions that fit perfectly into holes in the overlay. The body's overlay wasn't too tough to put in place either because the Visor's scroll buttons are separated instead of being one single rocker switch. This enabled me to center the overlay between the scroll buttons. On Palm units, it may take a bit more work and adjustment to get it all centered.

In the thick of it

Once the overlays are in place, they add about a millimeter of thickness to the body of the handheld. This caused my Visor's snap-on cover to have a snugger fit. If you have a Palm III series, you'll find that the flip cover doesn't close as tightly as it used to.

This added thickness affects the buttons on the Visor as well as on the Palm units. In my case, it made the scroll buttons almost flush with the overlay. My power button is slightly harder to reach than it was before, as well. Since the application buttons are already indented, I noticed virtually no difference in using them. It took me about a week to get used to the difference in button feel. Those who have Palm devices with the single rocker-style scroll button will probably not notice any difference save the fact that the power button will now be a little bit lower.