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What can I say, I was wowed by the specs. 16Mb RAM, high colour screen, mp3 playback. How disappointing. The display is not great. It is a passive matrix display and suffers badly from banding. The unit is bulky and ugly. Ugly I can live with, but it is physically too big and heavy to comfortably carry around in a pocket. The build quality is poor. I dropped the unit from a relatively small height and the screen stopped working and had to go back for replacement. Windows CE is awful. 16Mb is not nearly as much as it sounds because WinCE is so inefficient. Half is used as storage and half is used as system memory, so everything is copied twice when it launches. WinCE is slow and unresponsive, many simple tasks take an inordinatly long time as WinCE tries to garbage collect memory. It can many seconds just to switch tasks. The Jornada has a record button which if pressed quickly (by accident) will happily use all available memory until the unit is unusable. It crawls to a halt and you can watch it take MINUTES to repaint the screen. It crashes frequently and hangs for no reason, particularly when low on memory. WinCE will not let you connect a modem unless it is a compact flash modem or a serial modem. I have an infared modem on my phone which I cannot use. There may be an update somewhere for this, but I haven't found it yet. (I haven't been trying too hard). There is no software for WinCE. Most of it is commercial, or limited shareware. There are no free development tools for it so only companies can afford to write software for it. There's more things I hate about it, but I haven't got time to list them all. For the good points, the mp3 playback is actually quite good, but you can only get about 4 tracks in the 16Mb, so unless you get a compact flash card, it is useless. The slideshow program is quite good, it allows you to add v oice, text and pen annotations to pictures. The only decent app I use that isn't available on a Palm is the notepad. It is the only thing I will miss when I go back to a Palm. It gives you free format text, scribbles and pictures which can be rescaled. But, in summary, DON'T BUY ANYTHING WITH THIS VERSION OF WINCE!!! If you want a PDA, get a Palm V, lovely bit of kit, really useful and really usable. I wish I had used the Jornada before buying it, spare yourself the misery and don't. (Note this opinion was based on the 430SE not the 420, but they are basically the same.)
When I first saw the display on the HP Jornada I was sold. OK, so I was given it free at a Microsoft conference, co-sponsored by HP. They also gave me a scale model of Damon Hill's HP sponsored Jordan F1 car. The fact that Damon's car is still on my desk but the Jornada has been replaced by a Palm V speaks volumes! The quality of the display really is outstanding but it has it's drawbacks, the main one being the size needed to accomodate it. It just doesn't fit easily into pocket. As a result, I always used to carry it around in my bag - my computer bag. The one I use to carry around my notebook PC. And what was on my notebook? All the information that I had on the Jornada! The only benefit was that the Jornada was quicker to turn on. Otherwise it had all the disadvantages of a Microsoft operating system, slow, unreliable and needed resetting regularly. One of the other features that had appealed to me was the headphone socket. I downloaded some MP3 software and thought I had a ready made player but the quality was very poor with a lot of distortion and crackle. Perhaps mine was just faulty, I don't know. The Windows CE operating system was very slow and tended to crash once I had loaded a few third party applications on it, although Microsoft have now launched an updated version and I can't say if this is an improvement or not. Personally, I would go for Palm OS devices every time. They are quicker, more reliable and have a much greater selection of software applications available.
HP's new Jornada 420 Palm-size PC is a compact PC companion that provides a convenient way to bring your business information with you everywhere. With its dazzling 256-color screen, you can quickly and easily identify your important information and view appointments in rich vibrant color. Yet it is no larger than your palm and with its integrated CompactFlash card slot, you can easily add a modem so you can surf the Web and send/receive e-mail.
To ensure smooth integration with rest of the office and your desktop PC, the Jornada 420 runs on a familiar Windows CE environment, and with its integrated infrared port, one can share easily share information with other PCs or even send SMS messages and manage a GSM cellular phonebook. The HP Jornada 420 Palm-size PC. Never before has your information been so accessible and so up-to-date!