Styrite Palm PDA Accessories for PalmZire 71: Combo Pack, USB Multi Travel Kit, P-Arno Model 641 4-in-1 Stylus/Pen

Reviewed by: Jack Reikel, send e-mail December 2003
Made by: Styrite Inc., go to the web site
Requires: Palm Zire 71 PDA; cleaning cloth & stylus work with all other PDAs; retractable USB HotSync cable & chargers work with some other Palm PDAs
MSRP: Check the web site

My PDA contains everything I need on a day to day basis: telephone directory, confidential data, daily schedules, some games to while away a few minutes here and there (before meetings, in waiting rooms, etc.), a calculator and a variety of utilities specific to the various kinds of work I do. The problem is that the PDA screen gets filthy, the stylus gets lost, the battery runs low when I'm miles away from the HotSync cradle and the last time I looked closely, the Graffiti area was starting to get all scratched. My Palm Zire 71 needs help. That's where Styrite's Palm Zire 71 Combo Pack, USB Multi Travel Kit and P-Arno Stylus/Pen come in.

Combo Pack

The package consists of a Styfilm clear screen protector, a P-Arno model 661 3-in-1 Stylus/Pen, a retractable USB HotSync connector (also used to connect the PDA to optional chargers), and a Styrite Magic Cloth specifically designed for PDA screens.

The most interesting part of the package is the Styfilm clear screen protector. That's right - I said clear. Untextured. Not like the textured WriteRight product from Fellowes which is the only product on the market that can turn the superb Zire 71 display into just another average screen. Begone WriteRight! The Styfilm screen protector is crystal clear and visually undistorted. We used Palm Reader with the protector in place for hours with no eye strain or visual fatigue. The only problem we encountered was that the protector scratched somewhat easier in the Graffiti area than competing products.

The P-Arno 661 Stylus/Pen also proved to be a worthy contender; among the best in its class actually. It's short, has an integrated pocket clip, is available is several colors, has a grippy matte finish, and is tipped at each end (ballpoint pen and stylus tip at opposite ends of the tube). Pull off the top to get at the built in reset pin. This stylus looks good, grips well, writes well and is easy to control when printing Graffiti. That's the most important feature of the design: ease of control. Although it's not designed to fit into the stylus storage slot, it's clearly superior to the one really bad thing about the Zire - the truly awful standard stylus (a skinny, gloss finish, hard-to-grip piece of plastic junk). This P-Arno model is among the better stylus/pen combos we've tested.

The retractable USB HotSync cable is simple and works properly. Best of all, unlike some other Zire 71 accessories on the market right now, the business end of the cable locks securely into place on the Zire. There are a number of accessory devices on the market right now which do not lock properly on the Zire, a serious problem which is generating a huge amount of discussion on the Palm message boards. Buy this cable with confidence. The soft rubber insulation coating on the wire itself withstood all of the carelessness usually associated with cables stuffed into briefcases, automobile cup holders and so on.

The Styrite Magic Cloth seems to work effectively when cleaning typical dust and other detritus from the PDA screen. It's not particularly absorbent however, so you may be better off using recommended cleaning solution and a cloth designed for coated eyeglasses when it comes to removing spatter, oils and other stuff from the screen. But for general clean up of loose particles without building up static charge (which attracts more dust) the Magic Cloth works just fine.

USB Multi Travel Kit

The kit is designed for PDA users who spend a lot of time away from home or office. The kit includes three items: a retractable USB HotSync charging cable, a USB AC wall charger and a USB car charger. Both chargers connect to the Zire via the retractable USB HotSync cable. We were pleased to see that both chargers are solidly built. We dropped both items repeatedly onto hard floors (vinyl tile, hardwood and cement sidewalk) with no ill effects.

P-Arno model 641 4-in-1 Stylus Pen

This device is more novel than practical. On the other hand, every time someone notices the thing when we're using it, we get asked to explain it. The barrel of the stylus/pen contains four retractables: red ballpoint, black ballpoint, PDA stylus and a mechanical pencil. Spare pencil leads are stored in the pusher cap. The device works by gravity - hold it horizontally, rotate the pen until one of the tip selections is on top, then activate your choice with the pusher. Press the retraction button located on top of the pocket clip to withdraw the tip. We've seen these devices before and although Styrite's version offer a slightly slimmer profile it's still a bit bulky for everyday use. However, it's yet another stylus/pen offering from Styrite that's made from decent materials (turned aluminum in this case), provides a pleasant grip for effective control when writing or when printing Graffiti, and seems to be very durable. It is not cheap plastic and we think you'll tire of it long before you wear it out. That's a compliment.

Cons: We really like the clear screen protector but for one thing: while its clear transparency provides an excellent, undistorted screen view, the surface is too soft. Significant use of the Graffiti area will rapidly result in a protector surface that is so badly scratched that Graffiti input becomes problematic. That means you've got to change the screen protector quite often - once a week in my case.

Pros: Oh that Styfilm clear screen protector - a little more surface durability and you can kiss the ridiculously expensive Fellowes WriteRight protectors goodbye forever. The P-Arno 661 Stylus/Pen is very good, small enough to store easily, but large enough to grip and use effectively, an excellent balance between size and effectiveness. The chargers and retractable HotSync/charger connector cable are extremely well made and survived repeated drops and other mishaps. If you're looking for some truly usable accessories for your Palm Zire 71, look no farther. Recommended.

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