RhinoSleeve iPAQ Holster

Reviewed October 24, 2003
(Updated March 21, 2004)
(Updated June 11, 2007)

Rhinoskin has produced an aluminum holster for the iPAQ 3000 and 5000 models. How does it stack up to the iHolster for the iPAQ? Read on!

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At first glance, the RhinoSleeve seems very similar to the iHolster V, except made from cool aluminum instead of plastic. However, there are several other differences, and whether you choose a RhinoSleeve or an iHolster will depend on your needs and tastes.

The RhinoSleeve


Ever since I got my iPAQ 3650, I have used an iHolster to carry my iPAQ with me. Recently however, the iHolster finally gave out on me, so I was shopping for a new holster. I had seen the RhinoSleeve online, and it looked very similar to the iHolster, except the RhinoSleeve was made from anodized aluminum, not plastic. As the prices were similar, I thought I'd try the RhinoSleeve instead of buying a new iHolster. This review will compare the two based on 2-3 weeks of using the RhinoSleeve. I'll start by covering the various parts of the RhinoSleeve.

The Holster

The RhinoSleeve holster is similar to the iHolster, but made from anodized aluminum, which looks very cool.

The Fronts Of The RhinoSleeve Holster (Left) And The iHolster

One positive thing is that the button that the clip attaches to is metal, which should be more sturdy than the plastic button on the iHolster. In fact, the reason I bought the RhinoSleeve was because the button on my iHolster broke off. As it was riveted onto the iHolster, I really couldn't replace it, so I thought I'd try the RhinoSleeve.

The Backs Of The RhinoSleeve Holster (Left) And The iHolster

The Secondary Sleeve

The secondary sleeve is what allows you to use an otherwise naked iPAQ in the holster. With the comparable iHolster V, you have to use the iPAQ in a sleeve, so using a naked iPAQ would require you to have or buy a style pack. The fact that the secondary sleeve comes with the RhinoSleeve is a big advantage over the iHolster.

The Secondary Sleeve

The Clip

The clip is what allows you to attach the holster to your belt. It seems to be of decent quality.

UPDATE: While getting into my car, the clip broke after about 3 months of use. After writing both the manufacturer and retailer, they both replaced the clip at no charge.

Compared to the iHolster's UltraClip, it opens much easier and wider, but doesn't require you to rotate the holster 90 degrees to slide the holster from the clip. The UltraClip requires the rotation to make it more difficult to accidentally remove the holster from the clip.

The RhinoSleeve Clip (Left) And The iHolster UltraClip

Availability & Price

I bought the RhinoSleeve from Stylus Central for $34.99. Saunders/Rhinoskin, the manufacturer, also sells it for $34.95.

For comparison, the comparable iHolster V costs $31.00, but doesn't come with the secondary sleeve.

The RhinoSleeve also provided one nice extra — a free StuffBak label. If you put this on your iPAQ, and it gets lost, the label will provide a way for people to return your iPAQ to you (in case you don't have your personal information display when the iPAQ is turned on). Of course, you can also use the label on anything else you like (a laptop, for example).

UPDATE: Neither Stylus Central nor Saunders/Rhinoskin seem to sell this anymore. I guess that there's not much market after HP stopped making sleeve-compatible iPAQS over three years ago.


There were a few minor problems with the RhinoSleeve.

  1. The iPAQ felt much looser in the RhinoSleeve than in the iHolster. If I pull my iPAQ 3870 about halfway out of the sleeve, a small bit of pressure will pop it out of the side rails. This could obviously present a problem. My iPAQ hasn't fallen out, but it is definitely not as snug as it was in the iHolster. I did have my 3870 knocked out of the iHolster once, but that could have been because the fit was so tight that I hadn't pushed it down all the way.

  2. When the iPAQ is in the secondary sleeve, it won't fit in the cradle. The iPAQ in the original style packs or the cover packs would fit in the cradle.

  3. The RhinoSleeve's sides stick up more than the iHolster's do, leaving a bit of an edge than can get caught on things. The following photo helps to show this.

    The iPAQ In The RhinoSleeve
  4. The clip isn't as sophisticated as the UltraClip the iHolster uses. You don't have to turn the holster 90 degrees to be able to slide it off the clip.

The first two I'd classify as major points, affecting my rating. The final two points are minor, and don't affect my rating much.


The RhinoSleeve is a decent product. I loved my iHolster, and this is similar enough to keep me using it. Whether you prefer it to the iHolster will depend on whether the cool aluminum, the secondary sleeve for using naked iPAQs and the easier-to-use clip outweigh the better fit and more sophisticated clip of the iHolster.

Rating the RhinoSleeve on the typical five-star scale, I give it 3 out of 5 stars. It's cool, but has some flaws compared to the iHolster.

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