Technology

Posh PDAs for Big Spenders


By Yardena Arar Any personal digital assistant can store your address book and calendar. But new high-end models from Sony and Compaq target well-heeled buyers searching for more than the basics.

SVELTE CLI/font>?At just about 0.4 inches thick and 4.3 ounces, Sony's Palm-based Clié PEG-T415 is today's leanest PDA, undercutting even Handspring's skinny Visor Edge. Yet Sony managed to squeeze in a Memory Stick slot on top, so you can add storage (above the included 8MB of RAM) or even a camera module, without adding bulk. The detachable cloth cover shields a sleek silver (or black) case and a monochrome screen--but, as with the color Cliés, the LCD's resolution is twice that of other Palms, making the display more readable. Other older-Clié holdovers: a USB HotSync cradle and a Jog Dial for navigating sans stylus. Unlike previous Cliés, the $300 T415 can be synced on a Windows XP PC.

The T415 ships with several Sony apps, including one that lets you use the device as a universal remote. You can't program it, however, so you can use it only with a limited number of consumer electronics devices. I got my shipping unit to control my Panasonic VCR, but not, surprisingly, my Sony CD changer. With a Paint application similar to the one in Windows, you can create and manipulate images (not much fun on the mono screen); with another bundled utility you can set up Memory Stick-based apps to run automatically when the stick is inserted into its slot. You also get DataViz's software for working with Microsoft Word and Excel documents.

IPAQ-ING MORE

Compaq, meanwhile, sets its sights squarely on the corporate market with its new PDA. The $599 IPaq H3850 retains the general look and feel of its popular predecessors while delivering Microsoft's new Pocket PC 2002 OS; it also has a built-in Secure Digital disk slot on top. The unit's gorgeous 65,536-color screen gets protection from a slide-on plastic cover that can be flipped to either side--and removed completely if you want to substitute other expansion modules, such as a wireless modem. These modules fatten the 5.7-ounce base unit, but I had to attach one while syncing--otherwise my shipping unit wouldn't fit properly in its cradle.

Compaq augments Microsoft's software bundle (which includes Office, a media player, and an e-book reader) with an array of primarily corporate applications, such as a program for accessing data from a server. You also get a Pocket PC version of IBM ViaVoice that allows you to issue voice commands to the device, but I found it more trouble than it was worth.

Neither unit comes cheap. But for corporate high-flyers, Compaq delivers the most connectivity options in a handsome package, while the Clié PEG-T415 offers those willing to splurge on a monochrome PDA a lot of Sony's much-touted style.

From the March 2002 issue of PC World magazine

From the March 2002 issue of PC World magazine


The Good Business Issue
LIMITED-TIME OFFER SUBSCRIBE NOW

Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!

 
blog comments powered by Disqus