Recently i found myself thinking of buying a laptop for basically the portability of such a device, i have owned one before and when i found myself in a situation where i no longer thought i needed it it was sold, now i want that portability again, so i started thinking about getting one for around £200 to £300. I didnt give a PDA a thought because my experience of them was that they were short on memory, not generally colour, and in the case of palm devices use a different operating system which would have to be learned, generally i felt that they were a bit too limited. WHY I BOUGHT ONE> However, one day a friend bought down his compaq ipaq, and i had a quick play with it, and within 10 mins i felt sure that using this device and all its functions would be a doddle due to its similarity to windows, its a bit like win 3.11 in some ways. It uses pocket PC as an operating system and is basically windows CE version 3.0, it comes pre loaded with useful programs that i feel most people will want to use, such as pocket internet explorer, picture viewer, pocket media player 7 (which incidentally only supports music files), inbox which is a basic mail program similar to outlook, an address book, notes, whick is similar to notepad on a desktop pc, calculator, microsoft money, pocket word, microsoft reader (similar sort of thing to adobe acrobat reader), pocket excel, and a "today" page that has all the abilities of a top organizer such as tasks and appointments, owner info, and so on, this "today" page is used as a sort of home page so that when not in use you can see what you have planned. THE PACKAGE> It comes with the charger, to charge its internal li-polymer battery which does not suffer the 'memory effect' of ni-cads and ni-mh batts, so you can top up the charge if you want with no ill affects to the battery life, also supplied is the cradle to link up to the pc whick can also charge the unit too. Two CD's
are provided, one for info on how to use, and the other for all the software that is needed such as Acvite sync which is the program used to sync up with the pc, it also comes with a protective sleeve to drop it into and a hard plastic cradle that it slots into to provide more protection. IN USE> As previously mentioned if you are familiar with windows then you will have no problem navigating your way around this pocket PC, All programs and function are accessed by means of a pop up menu system, which then generally pops up a window in which all the icons are present and selection is made from there. Input method is via one of two means a) a pop up keyboard which is used via the touch sensitive screen, or b) via the character recognition software both of which appear at the bottom of the display. Manufacturers claim a processor speed of 206 Mhz which shows as applications start up instantaniously, it is about 5" high by about 3" wide and only about 1/2" thick so is easy to hold and not heavy either. Internet access is posible either via a hayes compatible modem via the optional expantion pack, or via the infra-red port on top of the unit directly to a compatible mobile phone or IR port on another pc.Its worth mentioning that it is even possible to download files from the net, it is not apparent though, you get notification after the file is downloaded and it will be stored in the temporary internet files folder so it will need to be fetched from there after download. Memory space is not used up as fast as you would think, all progs are designed to use very little space, i have downloaded and instaled 9 extra programs for this device and still have over 20Meg left! SPECS> op sys - windows CE 3.0 processor - Intel StrongARM 206 Mhz Memory - 16Meg ROM, 32Meg RAM - expandable screen res - 240 x 320 x 4000 colours LIKES> As useful as a cheap laptop. Very much more portable than a cheap laptop. Sim
ilar price to a cheap laptop. Plenty of free upgrades and progs from internet. User friendliness. Usefullness of organiser functions. DISLIKES> Active Sync is unreliable. Position of voice recorder switch (you keep pressing it when removing from jacket). Inability to display connection speed. Batt life poor when using backlight.